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Animation Open House at the NFB studio in Montreal on October 25

My Grandmother Ironed the King's Shirts, Torill Kove, provided by the National Film Board of Canada

On Monday, October 25, the NFB will be hosting an Animation Open House. From 1 pm to 5 pm, the studio will open its doors to the public at our Montreal headquarters (3155 Cote de Liesse Road).

The animation studios were founded in 1941, 2 years after the NFB itself. In the early decades, a number of NFB alumni struck out on their own across the country and around the world. Artists like Gerald Potterton, Kaj Pindal, Ishu Patel, Caroline Leaf, David Fine, Torrill Kove, Chris Landreth… and that’s just to name a few. During their stay here, some of our animators refined a variety of techniques such as under-camera techniques with paint, beads, sand and paper cut-outs or clay.

I work here, so I know how cool the animation studio is, but for all of you who’ve never passed through these doors, I took a few minutes to grill producer Michael Fukushima and bring you the full scoop:

Julie Matlin: What’s this all about, an open house in the animation studio?

Michael Fukushima: For the past few years, the 2 animation studios (English and French) have opened their doors the day after the Ottawa International Animation Festival ends. Because we’re just down the highway, it’s a chance for International and faraway Canadian visitors to extend their Canadian stay by a day or two and come to Montreal to visit the studio, which in many ways remains a nirvana of independent-minded auteur animation filmmaking globally.

JM: Why do you do it?

MF: We’re the NFB and it’s part of our cultural mission to inspire creativity in animation cinema. We like to show our “third way” of making animation, wholly different from arts council-funded indie filmmakers struggling alone in their attic studios and the toilers in industrial animation, working commercially.

We’re proud of what we do and how we do it here, with our somewhat informal but highly informed, modest nest of creativity. We’re proud of our community.

JM: What will people get to see?

MF: Visitors will see a number of our recent shorts they didn’t get to see at festivals in our beautiful little cinema. They’ll visit a half-dozen animation filmmakers in their studio spaces. They’ll get a tour of the StereoLab, and they’ll get to poke around and see what goes on every day in the studio.

JM: What can people hope to get out it?

MF: A look behind the veil of how animation gets made, if they’re not already deeply versed in animation. If you’re a practicing or aspiring auteur animation filmmaker, it’ll be like a peek inside the Emerald City. People will also have the opportunity to meet the filmmakers currently working on productions.

If that’s not enough, there are also 3 car dealerships next door to us…

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