National Film Board of Canada Celebrates 70 Years, International Animation Day

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The National Film Board of Canada has a busy agenda for the month of October. The agency is responsible for the release of thousands of films since its inception and it’s garnered a reputation for world-class animation production. As a Canadian whose taxes help fund the NFB, I’m happy to see its success, particularly in the field of animation.

So why is October so crazy at the NFB? Three reasons:

1) The NFB is celebrating its 70th year.
2) At the Ottawa International Film Festival (October 14-18), the NFB is presenting nine new shorts.
3) October 28 is International Animation Day

It all rolls up into a hectic month. For those wondering what the fuss is about, it’s worth mentioning that the NFB has become something more than a government agency charged with creating and distributing public films. In its seventy years, The NFB has netted seventy Oscar nominations (the highest number for any production company outside of Hollywood), twelve Oscar wins and in excess of five thousand awards. It’s become a hotbed of animation, as well as film and documentaries, and frequently pushes technological boundaries. In celebration of seventy years and to mark International Animation Day, the NFB is also sponsoring Get Animated! 2009, which includes a series of NFB animated films displayed at no charge in thirteen Canadian Communities during the final week of October. Animation workshops for children and adults are also being offered in some cities (see here for details), and the NFB’s new two-disc set Animation Express, which will also be offered on Blu-Ray, is being sold at venues.

Cordell Baker, one of the best known of the NFB animators will speak at locations including Winnipeg, Montreal, Calgary and Halifax. While his latest film, Runaway, took the Petit rail d’or for Best Short Film at Cannes, some of you might know him for his classic short, The Cat Came Back:

If you enjoyed this short, be sure to check out NFB’s web site where there are literally hundreds of films available for online viewing- and they should work in the US as well. NFB also offers NFB kids, aimed at the younger set. The site includes free kid-friendly films, games and online learning using various “pedagogical activities.” They do not believe in dumbing the language down for kids…

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