I know it seems far-fetched, but trust me on this one. The history of Canadian animation is kind of like that of the National Hockey League. From the 1940s to mid-1970s or so, the National Film Board of Canada was the original six, the whole kit and caboodle. From the mid-70s to 1990s, a few expansion teams entered the picture like Hinton, Nelvana, and Cinar, but, for the most part, they're iced weak teams, sort of the Kansas City Scouts or Washington Capitals of animation. Then from the early 1990s onward, animation exploded across the country. Not only were new teams and players joining every year, but the tools they used also changed.

For the most part, like the NHL, there is parity in Canadian animation today. Today, there is no dominant Montreal Canadiens-type powerhouse. Sure, there are a few consistently strong players (Nelvana, NFB, Cuppa Coffee), but the field is now wide and vast, dominated by a multitude of diverse animation studios (3D, Traditional, Gaming, Interactive), software companies and independent animators. What makes many of these new 'teams' unique is their merging of the old and new. The NFB was the first Canadian studio to use innovative artistic techniques and styles within a commercial setting. Today's studios have continued that tradition and taken it a step further by fusing together traditional animation techniques (collage, cut-out, puppet, clay, scratch, cel) with digital technology.

Like the once great Montreal Canadiens, the NFB took the occasional stumble in the 1980s and 1990s, but they've still managed to ice a pretty strong line-up every once in while. They've stayed strong by remaining aware of the past strengths, but in particular, by being humble enough to learn from the new kids on the block. As a result the NFB has been producing some creative short films, keeping an open mind towards new technologies (flash and Sandde), and, most importantly, showing their faith in younger Canadian animators through programmes like NFBwebworks and Hothouse.

The result is that the Canadian animation industry, by bridging past, present and future, has produced a highly original and successful body of work that bridges past and future.

- Chris Robinson

(excerpt from article published in Montage Magazine, Fall 2003)

Programme:
Sunday, September 26, 3:00 pm (Arts Court Theatre)
Running time: 66:24 mins.

Mr. Man in ‘Cub' [2001] Steve Whitehouse / 4:20
Mr. Man in ‘Fishing' [2003] Steve Whitehouse / 3:10

Head Gear Reel
IKEA ‘Heads' / 0:30
Dove Body Wash ‘Broken Hearts' / 0:30
ESPN ‘Home Sweet Home' / 0:30
Cartoon Network ‘Shocktober' / 0:30
NatureEGG ‘Encounter Group' / 0:30
M-Fest Channel ‘Hero Open' / 0:30
Wrigley's Excel ‘Gorilla' / 0:30
Images Film Festival ‘Images Film Festival Trailer' / 1:00
Sundance Channel ‘Short Stop' / 0:15
YTV ‘Interstitials 2002' / 0:30

Plickey + Muto: Pearl / Edgar Beals / 4:40
Plickey + Muto: Trip / Edgar Beals / 2:40

Trace Pictures Reel
Rheostatics ‘PIN' Music Video
The Food Network ‘Grillin and Chillin' Programming Stunt
A&E Biography Channel ‘Bio on Demand' Show Opening
McLuhan's Wake ‘Mariners Tale' Animation Sequence from Documentary
Ron Sexsmith ‘Whatever It Takes' Music Video

An Aqueous Solution [2003] Jo Meuris / National Film Board of Canada / 1:56

Global Mechanic Reel
Montage
Coca Cola Japa ‘Thirst for Fun' / Leo Burnett
Apple ipod ‘Randy'
Lip Serivce (excerpt)
Wrong Number Phone Message (excerpt)
Boston Beer Company ‘Simple' / Samuel Adams
Beijing Flipbook (excerpt)
Magical Life of Long Tack Sam (excerpt)
BMW Mini ‘Pavement'
Montage

Defect / Ed Beals / 4:35
Atomic Betty [2004] Ridd Sorensen, Jeffery Agala & Mauro Casalese / Breakthrough Films / 23:58

Guru Animation Reel
Montage
Kraft Mac & Cheese 'Beach Party' [2003] Frank Falcone / 0:30
Teletoon 'Chicken' [2003] Frank Falcone / 0:10
Oreo 'Giants' [2004] Frank Falcone / 0:30
Frosties 'Hyde Flake' [2002] Daryl Graham / 0:15
Teletoon 'Sheep' [2003] Frank Falcone / 0:10
Comdisco 'Chip' [1998] Frank Falcone / 0:30
Nabisco/Planet Snak 'Tale of Two Teddies' [2001] Frank Falcone / 0:30
Hersey's Kisses 'Bench' [2000] Frank Falcone / 0:15
Teletoon 'Old Geezer' [2003] Frank Falcone / 0:10

Vertical [2004] Theodore Ushev / National Film Board of Canada / 4:16