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Frame x Frame: Animated Film at the NFB, a new exhibit at Les Musées de la civilisation à Québec

Frame x Frame: Animated Film at the NFB, a new exhibit at Les Musées de la civilisation à Québec

Frame x Frame: Animated Film at the NFB, a new exhibit at Les Musées de la civilisation à Québec

We’re delighted to announce the launch of a brand new exhibit on the history of animation at the NFB, taking place at Les Musées de la civilisation à Québec. It’s called Frame x Frame: Animated Film at the NFB (French title: Image x Image: Le cinéma d’animation à l’ONF) and it’s a bilingual exhibit that’ll be a blast for both curious kids and seasoned animation buffs.


Now, I know what you’re thinking: “but I live in Regina!” Fear not, prairie friend. You and other Canadians living far away from Quebec City will learn all about the enticing and enchanting things on offer at the exhibit in this very blog post. And who knows… you may even find yourself planning a trip to Quebec City and this should definitely be on your vacation to-do list. The exhibit will run for quite a long time—from June 4, 2014 to August 23, 2015—so you’ve got lots of time to plan your visit.

The roots of animation on display


An installation at the exhibit by acclaimed animator Patrick Bouchard.


A demonstration of the technique Norman McLaren used in 1958's Le Merle.

As part of the NFB’s 75th anniversary, we’re looking back on what has made us who we are. In the world of animation, this means celebrating the artists and creators who have garnered an impressive array of awards, including seven Oscars, four Short Film Palmes d’Or at Cannes, two Golden Bears at the Berlin Festival, eight BAFTAs, and five Grand Prizes at Annecy.

The exhibition includes models, figurines, sketches, technical tools, and original drawings made and used by some of the world’s foremost animation masters, from yesterday to today, including Co Hoedeman, Janet Perlman, Torill Kove, Patrick Bouchard, and many, many others.



Want to see the hand-scratched tinted 70-mm film Caroline Leaf used to make Two Sisters? It’s there! Feel like checking out the real 3D clay moulds of the delightful polar bear in Meltdown? That’s there too! And the exhibit doesn’t limit itself to film-related artefacts. You can even gape at the very same leather slippers that Norman McLaren wore around the NFB offices for 42 years. Wondering what’s so special about an old pair of shoes? Check out McLaren’s work, and you’ll see why every aspect of this legendary artist is adored.

Activities and experiments

After soaking up the sheer genius of the artists’ works on display, you can head in to the studio and make your very own stop-motion animation film! There are plenty of props and mini-sets available for you, but if you’re feeling adventurous you can set yourself up in front of a camera and move in sync with the frames you capture on your own.


A curious youngster animates her characters at the museum.


This little guy is waiting for you to animate him in front of an iPad with stop-motion software.

Kids and adults alike will love playing with the latest technologies to create something older than cinema itself (you’ll learn in the exhibit how animation came before live-action cinema in history).

Attention: genius at work! Artist residencies scheduled throughout the year

Seven celebrated animators who are working in the craft today will be present at the museum for a couple of weeks at a time throughout the exhibit’s year-plus run. These talented creators will be “embedded” within the exhibit and will be working all day on their latest projects while visitors tour the exhibit. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see a genius at work!

Francis Desharnais will do his residency in late July 2014, and he’ll be followed by Claude Cloutier and Janet Perlman, who are scheduled to work at the museum at the end of the summer, in mid-to-late August. In the fall of 2014, the museum will host Theodor Ushev. In early 2015, animating partners Dale Hayward and Sylvie Trouvé will be completing their residency, and they’ll be followed in summer 2015 by Patrick Bouchard in late August.

Francis Desharnais performed a live animation demonstration at the exhibit’s opening on June 4. A ragtime band played and live dancers modelled poses on which Desharnais based his real-time animation.

Want to know more about the resident artists? We’ll be publishing insightful mini-bios of each guest animator right here on the blog, to coincide with that artist’s residency at the museum, so stay tuned. In the meantime, we’ll leave you with one of these acclaimed artist’s works: Claude Cloutier’s intricately drawn and quite funny fable, Sleeping Betty. It’s a fan favourite. Happy watching and we hope to see you at the museum!

Sleeping Betty, Claude Cloutier, provided by the National Film Board of Canada

All photos by Jessy Bernier, Perspective.

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  1. This was such an amazing exhibition. Everyone in our family enjoyed on multiple levels. I was very proud of my six yearold orchestrating her first stop animation film. I really hope that this exhibition can be toured. Maybe you have already talked to BellTiffLightbox exhibition folks or the ROM. Really, really amazing.

  2. Moi aussi j’ai eu l’immense joie de voir l’exposition avec mon fils lors de nos vacances la semaine dernière et j’ai aimé. J’étais surtout si fière de faire partie de cette merveilleuse institution! Longue vie à toutes formes d’animation…

    — micheline faubert,
  3. On a recent visit to Québec, we went to the museum without knowing this exhibit was there – as an American who grew up enjoying the rare glimpses we’d see of NFB animated films, this exhibit was a day-brightening treat! (I also have the McLaren box-set, as well as a couple discs of Munro’s works; wish there were a DVD of highlights/selections from “Frame x Frame.”)

    — Gregg Porter,

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