When Only the Best Will Do


Every year, thousands of films are made the world over, produced in different genres, artistic styles, and addressing a variety of subjects. Few, however, are recognized by the film industry as award-winning.

In celebration of the exceptional work of Canadian filmmakers, here are 5 fantastic NFB films that also come with The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ seal of approval.

(Viewer advisory: Some films contain strong language and content that is not necessarily suitable for children.)

The Danish Poet – Oscar for Best Animated Short Film

Have you ever wondered how life as you know it came to be? While everyone has a rough idea of their own story, the narrator of The Danish Poet recounts the chain of coincidences leading to her very existence. In this touching animated film we follow a young poet named Kasper on his journey of love, loss, and personal discovery, and witness the pull of those invisible strings that bring people together.

The Danish Poet, Torill Kove, provided by the National Film Board of Canada

The Sand Castle – Oscar for Best Animated Short Film

For the The Sand Castle, the message is in the medium as NFB filmmaker Co Hoedeman takes on the themes of creation and destruction through the materiality of sand. From an empty, remote landscape, an array of sand creatures comes to life and together they build a happy home. But change, as they say, is the only constant, and all good things must come to an end.

The Sand Castle, Co Hoedeman, provided by the National Film Board of Canada

Flamenco at 5:15 – Oscar for Documentary (Short Subject)

Flamenco at 5:15 records a group of National Ballet School of Canada dancers as they learn the flamenco from experts Susana and Antonio Robledo. Through the instructors’ and students’ passion for dance, we experience the flowing movements, powerful emotions, and thunderous, syncopated rhythms created by the body when performing the flamenco.

Flamenco at 5:15, Cynthia Scott, provided by the National Film Board of Canada

Neighbours – Oscar for Documentary (Short Subject)

All is well in the neighborhood, until it isn’t. In this unscripted short, Norman McLaren unconventionally combines single frame animation with live actors to tell a sobering story of the tragedies of war, recast through two suburban neighbors fighting over a flower.

Neighbours, Norman McLaren, provided by the National Film Board of Canada

Ryan – Oscar for Best Animated Short Film

In Ryan, Chris Landreth uses computer animation to capture the incredible life and heartbreaking decline of his friend, and fellow Canadian animator, Ryan Larkin. Larkin’s psychological deterioration and struggle with substance abuse, and Landreth’s own depression and anxiety, are outwardly manifested in their gnarled, moth-eaten, and hollow representations.

Ryan , Chris Landreth, provided by the National Film Board of Canada