Animator Carrie Mombourquette on Filmmaking as Child Rearing (and Polar Bears)


This is a guest post by Carrie Mombourquette, one of 6 animators participating in this year’s Hothouse program, the NFB’s 12-week paid apprenticeship for emerging filmmakers.

Making a film is kind of like raising a kid. It demands all of your time, you stop going out, and you have to change it a lot.

Soon all your talking about is your film. You forget that other things are happening in the world. You keep an updated reel on your smartphone so you can show your half-interested roommates (or that nice old lady at the metro stop) the latest cut or fade or expression you’ve been working on.

It’s frustrating, it’s rewarding, it’s life affirming. It keeps you up till 3 am.

And I love every single second of it. Being able to take 2 dozen bricks of children’s plasticine and turn it into a cast of living, breathing polar bears is why I get out of bed in the morning.

The biggest adjustment I’ve had to make at the NFB is the incredibly intimate relationship that everyone else in the department seems to have with my film. Or should I say, our film. Our little film that we have to preen and scold and correct and make sure that when we send it out the door it has it’s lunch packed and hair combed and face wiped so that the other films will like it and play with it. And when we’ve sent it off with all of our love and grand expectations all we can really do is hope that we brought it up right and it will be able to stand on it’s own 2 big awkward polar bear feet.

And once it’s finally out there in the big world, this incredibly proud parent will finally be able to catch up on all the Game of Thrones she’s missed.

Dream life.