But my absolute all-time #1 favourite NFB animation is The Big Snit by Richard Condie.  This video reduces me to tears every time I watch it.  TEARS OF HILARIOUS LAUGHTER 

The Log Driver's Waltz

The Log Driver’s Waltz is a 1979 National Film Board animated short based on the song The Log Driver’s Waltz by Wade Hemsworth. It was released as part of the NFB’s Canada Vignettes series, and celebrates the tradition of log driving, how birling (moving logs by down a river by rotating them) resembles dancing, and how the song’s narrator would rather marry a log driver than a rich man. The chorus goes:

For he goes birling down a-down the white water

That’s where the log driver learns to step lightly
It’s birling down, a-down white water

A log driver’s waltz pleases girls completely.


After 3 years in the making, I am super excited and very proud to present to you a collaboration between the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) and myself, featuring the story behind and the photos I made of my grandfather’s last hunt. Initially a simple documentary-style project titled Hunters and heirs, it has been given a whole new life by NFB, and is now known as The Last Hunt. The resulting interactive website and app takes storytelling into new territory and I highly suggest you download the app for your phone or iPad (Google Play as well) as they are incredibly well done, inspiring and are already giving me ideas as to how a narrative-based projects can be presented and distributed.

Here is the official press release. It’s kind of really humbling.



This innovative multi-platform work explores and shares
one Quebec family’s deep roots and traditions

Montreal, September 26, 2013 – One of the world’s leading digital content hubs, renowned for its mobile and online experiences, the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) is launching its new interactive photo essay The Last Huntonline and as an app available at the iTunes Store and Google PlayThe Last Hunt will also be one of the 25 groundbreaking interactive projects featured on October 3 at the Story Arcade as part of the Future of StoryTelling summit, which annually brings together top executives and creative talent to change the way stories are told.

Equal parts tenderness, brutality, love and death, The Last Hunt delves into the motivations that led Montreal photographer Alexi Hobbs to photograph his grandfather’s last hunting expedition, exposing both the strength of family bonds and the spirituality implicit in the pragmatic act of hunting.

Created and produced by the NFB’s Digital Studio in Vancouver, The Last Hunt pushes the envelope of multi-platform development, making innovative use of the Adobe AIR/Flash platform. Using one codebase across the web, iOS and Android, and combining traditional Flash DisplayList and the Starling framework, it takes advantage of GPU acceleration to achieve smooth scrolling and incredible game-like 60 fps responsiveness.

The device’s gyroscope also drives a parallax layer to create a subtle element of depth, enhancing the user’s experience as their tablet becomes a window into the world of The Last Hunt.

With story and photography by Alexi Hobbs, The Last Hunt creative team includes Jeremy Mendes as co-creator/art director, Vincent McCurley as creative technologist/developer, and Jennifer Moss as writer. NFB Digital Studio head Loc Dao is executive producer and creative technologist. Rob McLaughlin is also executive producer.

Norman McLaren, the great 20th century pioneer of animation technique, once said, “What happens between each frame is more important than what exists on each frame.”

From the TED-Ed Lesson Animation basics: The art of timing and spacing - TED-Ed

Watch the original film, “Pas de deux” by Norman McLaren.

“The obvious comparison is with 19th century tenements,” says Glendinning. “In the 1970s, they suddenly went from being the most reviled thing everyone wanted demolished to something that was generally seen as a kind of heritage. There was a transitional period in the ‘70s when a lot of people were still saying how ghastly they were, while others were advocating for their preservation. I think that [when it comes to modernist high rises], we’re in that transitional period now.”

Still, if you gave the average person today a choice between living in a late Victorian row house and a 1960s high-rise apartment, most would choose the former. If anything, Glendinning believes it’s the continuing ubiquity of high-rise blocks in the U.K. that is holding back their rehabilitation.

“What has to happen for this to kick in a bit more is the rarity factor has to be given time to apply its own pressure—so that they are no longer seen as something everyday and ubiquitous, present-day and alienating, but something that has passed and is gradually disappearing. If people were to look through the archive fully, it would immediately change perceptions, because the already iconic towers are not more represented than the less famous ones. It would be the basis for someone saying, ‘this is a kind of new vernacular.’”

-Why the U.K.’s Tower Blocks Deserve a Vast, Visual Archive

[Photos: Miles Glendinning]


Steve posted one of his favourite NFB animations so I thought I’d post one of mine!  This is “Every Child” from 1979. 


Pure Canadian Nostalgic GOLD!!


Synopsis: The main protagonist of this short, surreal film is a man obsessed with control. In an automated world drained of all emotion, he is tortured by vague longings. Will he be able to transcend his obsessions and fears?

Personal Backgrounder: 

Downtown Toronto, there used to be a magical place called the National Film Board. At the NFB, there were several big-screen TVs connected with comfy chairs. Built into these chairs were surround sound-systems. 

The National Film Board had and still has (on its website and on YouTube) thousands upon thousands of amazing short films. Some are sad, some are happy, some are quirky, some are brutal and bizarre.

Best part about the NFB: you could sit there for hours watching films and it was free.

I used to go there after high school, and as with anything, I developed favourites. 

This short film, “How Wings Are Attached to the Backs of Angels”, is one of my top three. It’s dark and brooding. It’s mixed media (live action, animation, stop-animation, and rotoscoped material) and absolutely stunning.

I hope you enjoy it.