The NFB is committed to respecting your privacy

We use cookies to ensure that our site works efficiently, as well as for advertising purposes.

If you do not wish to have your information used in this way, you can modify your browser settings before continuing your visit.

Learn more
Hothouse: A Tradition of Excellence | Curator’s Perspective

Hothouse: A Tradition of Excellence | Curator’s Perspective

Hothouse: A Tradition of Excellence | Curator’s Perspective

All six films made during the 14th edition of our Hothouse animation mentorship program are now streaming for free on our platform. Crafted by emerging filmmakers during a 12-week internship, under the guidance of producer Maral Mohammadian, associate producer Anne Koizumi and filmmaker Andrea Dorfman, the mentoring director, these one- to two-minute shorts drew inspiration from this year’s theme, “Small Things Considered.” So get set to discover the work of Akash Jones, Bianca Shonee Arroyo-Kreimes, Cameron Kletke, Jenny Yujia Shi, Michelle Ku and Mochi Lin! Watch the six films here.

Previous editions of Hothouse have brought some great talents to light, with many participants having gone on to brilliant careers in their field. In this blog post, we take a look back at six of these luminaries and some of the acclaimed films they later directed.

Howie Shia (Hothouse 2)

Illustrator/animator/author Howie Shia has made four films with the NFB since his Hothouse stint in 2004. Flutter (2006), an urban tale featuring a pair of ambitious young students, was screened at a number of international festivals and picked up its fair share of awards, including the Open Entries Grand Prize at the 2007 Tokyo International Anime Fair. After directing the short film Peggy Baker: Four Phrases (2009), in tribute to the titular dancer, choreographer and Governor General’s Performing Arts Award winner, Shia made two other films: BAM (2015), a modern-day twist on the Hercules myth, about a young boxer struggling to reconcile his shy, bookish nature with a violent temper; and 4 North A (2021), co-directed with Jordan Canning, a touching portrait of a woman at her dying father’s bedside. Both films received Canadian Screen Award nominations.

4 North A, Jordan Canning & Howie Shia, provided by the National Film Board of Canada

Patrick Doyon (Hothouse 3)

After completing the Hothouse program in 2006, during which he made Square Roots (2006), Patrick Doyon tackled a new project inspired by memories of growing up in Desbiens, in the Saguenay region. The result was Sunday (2011), a short about a young boy who deals with his boredom one weekend by placing coins on the railroad tracks as a train approaches. The film was a huge success, going on to win awards such as Quebec’s Jutra Award (now known as the Iris) for Best Animated Short, and it picked up a 2012 Academy Award nomination to boot. Doyon now has a career as an animator and illustrator in the private sector.

Sunday, Patrick Doyon, provided by the National Film Board of Canada

Sylvie Trouvé (Hothouse 5)

During her time at Hothouse, Sylvie Trouvé directed a gem of a short film, using a clever blend of 2D animation and time-lapse, featuring iconic places, buildings and objects in Montreal. Orange (2009) was a big hit when it was launched on, and to this day is still one of the most-viewed films on our streaming platform. Trouvé went on to make the magnificent short Reflection (2012), another unique view of Montreal cityscapes, and in 2018 she co-directed (with Dale Hayward) Bone Mother, based on the short story of the same name by Maura McHugh.

Bone Mother, Dale Hayward & Sylvie Trouvé, provided by the National Film Board of Canada

Eva Cvijanović (Hothouse 7)

Bosnia-Herzegovina-born animator and illustrator Eva Cvijanović, who now lives and works in Montreal, was a member of the 2011 Hothouse troupe. There, she made The Kiss, an exploration of that oldest form of affection. With her next film, Hedgehog’s Home (2017), she became an internationally known filmmaker. Inspired by a classic story by Serbian writer and poet Branko Ćopić, she tells the charming tale of Hervé, a hedgehog who won’t trade his modest house for anything in the world, to the amazement of the other denizens of the forest. This stop-motion masterpiece used innovative needle-felt puppets to bring its animal characters to life, and has scooped up more than 35 international awards.

Hedgehog's Home, Eva Cvijanovic, provided by the National Film Board of Canada

Alex Boya (Hothouse 10)

Alex Boya, an animation filmmaker with a fertile and fierce imagination, did a Hothouse internship in 2014. His one-minute short Focus is a wild shopping-cart ride through the mental mall of someone who has attention deficit disorder. The idea for his next film, Turbine (2018), was just as unhinged: a pilot returning from the war crash-lands through his apartment window, and his wife comes home from work to find he now has a turbine instead of a face. This short had an impressive international festival run, winning awards at the prestigious Ottawa International Animation Festival and another at the New York City Short Film Festival.

Turbine, Alex Boya, provided by the National Film Board of Canada

Alexandra Lemay (Hothouse 10)

Like Alex Boya, animator Alexandra Lemay was part of the 2014 Hothouse cohort, and her film that year was All the Rage, a comedic condemnation of the fur trade. Her second film, the equally humorous Freaks of Nature (2018), looks at mother-daughter bonds—with the director’s relationship with her own mom providing inspiration. It picked up an award at the Cinémental festival in Winnipeg, another at the New York City Short Film Festival and a third at the Cinequest Film & Creativity Festival in San Jose, California. Lemay has since made two more animated shorts, Quick Fix (2020) and The Dog Ate My Homework (2023), for private-sector producers.

Freaks of Nurture, Alexandra Lemay, provided by the National Film Board of Canada

Eager to see other films from participants in our Hothouse  mentorship program over the years? Visit the Collection page here, which features all the shorts from all 14 editions.

Add a new comment

Write your comment here