Amateurs try their hand at film animation

EducationFilmsThe Craft

The following is a guest post by Tanya Koivusalo.

On Tuesday evening, a group of film buffs and aspiring filmmakers took film into their own hands, literally, at the NFB Mediatheque. They were participants in the free adult animation workshop that was offered in partnership with the Images Festival, and they faced the challenge of learning about and demonstrating the scratching-on-film animation technique.

The technique was made popular through the work of NFB animator Norman McLaren, and the effect of the technique – which involves scratching directly onto a celluloid strip – is abstract and produces original works that reflect the imagination of their creators. The participants in the workshop were treated to a brief screening of McLaren’s Begone Dull Care (1949) and a discussion of the technique, before they set to work on their own short films.

Most participants felt immediately at ease with the practice, and Mediatheque workshop facilitators were on hand to guide them in their animation process. The workshop did not require any prior knowledge of filmmaking or animation, and so the atmosphere was relaxed and fun with participants’ MP3 players providing a soundtrack to the session. People could work at their own pace – the creative process cannot be rushed!

At the end of the evening, after hours engulfed in animation, participants experienced the thrill of having their films projected on the big screen in the NFB Cinema. They left satisfied and wanting more – future adult workshops, in animation and other cinematic topics, were requested.

A comment from one of the participants offers a sense of why the Mediatheque strives to engage the community with such workshops:  “The first time I came to the Mediatheque, I knew I wanted to be an animator.”

It doesn’t get any better than that.