The National Film Board of Canada is returning to the Annecy International Animation Film Festival with a diverse slate of films, including works by or about festival mainstays Janice Nadeau, Chris Lavis and Maciek Szczerbowski, Theodore Ushev and Diane Obomsawin.
Taking place this year from 11 to 17 June, the Annecy festival is the world’s largest event dedicated to animated films.
The NFB lineup at a glance
- HARVEY by Janice Nadeau – Young Audiences Short Films in Competition
- La jeune fille qui pleurait des perles by Chris Lavis and Maciek Szczerbowski– Work in Progress (this marks the first time the NFB has had a film selected for this program)
- Theodore Ushev: Unseen Connections by Borislav Kolev – A documentary about this world-renowned animator, featured in the Annecy Classics program
- J’aime les filles (I Like Girls, 2016) by Diane Obomsawin – Hidden Queer Desires (Animation, Pride and Diversity)
Young Audiences Short Films in Competition
HARVEY by Janice Nadeau (9 min)
It is co-produced by Marc Bertrand (NFB’s French Program Animation Studio) and Reginald de Guillebon (Folimage), with the support of the Centre national du cinéma et de l’image animée. The head of development is Corinne Destombes (Folimage).
- A luminous look at loss and bereavement, seen through the eyes of a child with an overflowing imagination. Adapted from the graphic novel of the same name by Hervé Bouchard, illustrated by Montreal filmmaker Janice Nadeau (La Pastèque).
- Selected to screen at many prestigious festivals in Canada and Europe, including Clermont-Ferrand, REGARD, Stuttgart, Animafest Zagreb, the Sommets du cinéma d’animation and now Annecy, the film had a standout creative team that included Claude Cloutier and Marc Robinet (lead animators), Olivier Calvert (sound design) and Martin Léon (original music). With the voice of Ryan S. Hill.
- This is Janice Nadeau’s third film at the Annecy festival, following Mamie (NFB/Folimage, 2016) and No Fish Where to Go (NFB, 2014, co-directed with Nicola Lemay). The filmmaker will be attending the festival to present her new film.
Work in progress short
La jeune fille qui pleurait des perles by Chris Lavis and Maciek Szczerbowski
It is produced by Marc Bertrand for the NFB’s French Program Animation Studio
- A fairy tale for all about a girl overwhelmed by grief, a boy who loves her, and how greed leads the purest of hearts to commit the vilest of actions. The film uses a hybrid technique of frame-by-frame animation, live-action and CGI.
- It is directed by the Oscar-winning animation duo of Chris Lavis and Maciek Szczerbowski, a.k.a. Clyde Henry Productions, whose films include Madame Tutli-Putli, shown at Annecy in 2007. Montreal musician Patrick Watson, who composed the film’s soundtrack, will also be in attendance and will perform live at the event.
- This marks the first time that the NFB has been invited to show a film as part of the Work in Progress (WIP) sessions at Annecy, which provide opportunities to explore the various stages of development of films in various formats, while they’re still in production. La jeune fille qui pleurait des perles is the only short film among the 17 works included in the 2023 WIP selection.
A Theodore Ushev two-for-one: Annecy Classics and an exhibition
Filmmaker Theodore Ushev, an Annecy regular and winner of the festival’s top award, the Cristal, for his masterful short The Physics of Sorrow in 2020, is being honoured this year with a documentary about him in the Annecy Classics section, along with an exhibition at the Musée-Château d’Annecy.
Theodore Ushev: Unseen Connections by Borislav Kolev (78 min)
It is co-produced by Borislav Kolev, Maria Landova and Eli Kovalev for Projector (Bulgaria), and Marc Bertrand for the NFB’s French Program Animation Studio in Montreal.
- Theodore Ushev is the auteur behind renowned animated shorts such as Tower Bawher, Gloria Victoria andOscar-nominated Blind Vaysha. In this documentary by Borislav Kolev, Ushev reminisces about the “unseen connections” in his life—biographical and historical, cultural and subcultural, in Bulgaria from the time of his youth to today and in Canada. Connections that shaped him as a person and an artist. Theodore Ushev will attend the festival to present the film.
- The feature was selected to screen at many festivals and won the Best Bulgarian Documentary Award at the Master of Art Film Festival.
- Exhibition: Theodore Ushev, Mind and Matter
- This international exhibition presents “Theodore Ushev’s polymorphous works, where visual arts and literature collide,” in the words of the Annecy festival program. It is a co-production of the Musée-Château d’Annecy, the Cinémathèque québécoise and the artist, in collaboration with the Annecy International Animation Film Festival, the NFB and the Bulgarian Cultural Institute in France. From 2 June to 2 October at the Musée-Château d’Annecy.
Animation, Pride and Diversity – Hidden Queer Desires
The theme “Animation, Pride and Diversity” is in the spotlight at Annecy in 2023, with four programs of short films for festival-goers to choose from, including Hidden Queer Desires. Included in that program is J’aime les filles (I Like Girls), by Quebec graphic artist and animator of Abenaki descent Diane Obomsawin, which was in competition at Annecy in 2017.
- J’aime les filles (I Like Girls) by Diane Obomsawin (2016, 8 min 12 s)
It is produced by Marc Bertrand for the NFB’s French Program Animation Studio. In this animated short, four singular women openly and candidly tell the stories of their first loves.