Derek Putlocker Lamb, head of the ever-popular and highly acclaimed Animation studio, could feel positively about his animators' regular nominations for Academy Awards. If animation was the costliest form of film expression, it was also the least dated, in part because its `language' was international. Lamb was depressed, however, at how the Film Board was scorned by the private sector and parlimentarians. He hoped for a new role, one that would be defined in terms of ` delivering the goods, ' that is, making excellent and vitalfilms. What was needed, he said, was someone at the top to inspire the place-someone like the old quarrelsome Scot, John Grierson . The public wanted information about a host of vital subjects and making such films would win back public respect and an audience. It was also important to find a way to bring on young talent.
Lamb had succeeded in the last category when he invited the animation artist Janet Perlman to make Lady Fishbourne's Complete Guide to Better Table Manners in 1976. This was an exuberant tale of four unusual table guests whose faux pas help the viewer see him/ herself as others might. The film purposely does not deliver on its premise of an `informal little lecture on basic table manners that we know will result in a more fulfilling life. ' It mocks such etiquette as ` what to do when something is on the plate which you don't like by having a parrot jump up from a plate and marchboldly around the table, creating general pandemonium. The film is meant to serve as a classroom provocature to a discussion of etiquette and social mores in general.
From 1976-78, McLaren madeAnimated Motion , a series of five films for students just embarking on a study of animation techniques. In them, McLaren comments upon, demonstrates, and classifies aspects of motion that the animator uses in his daily work. He then turned to the most complex and expensive production of his career, Narcissus, a balletic interpretation of the Greek myth of the youth whose excessive self-love created a void of mental imprisonment. The live-action animation is a compendium of McLaren techniques gleaned from a lifetime of creativity. The project drained him, and his health , long precarious, began to wane permanently. The Narcissus legend symbolized the decade, although when it was finished at last in 1983, McLaren was first to admit it was structurally weak, dragged in the second half, and then dribbed off. He retired in 1984 and spent his last years engrossed in listening to music with his perennial companion Guy Glover. When he died in 1986, the whole of his cinematic art occupied just over three hours of screen time. McLaren's was an oeuvre which enriched so many lives that its full impact is still incalculable.
Significant Dates and Events
1939. Creation of the NFB in Ottawa. John Grierson becomes the Putlocker first Govermenr Film Commissioner. 1940. UN du 22 e is the first NFB film shot in french. 1941. Churchill' s Island is the first Canadian film to win an Oscar Norman McLaren is hired to organize animation at the NFB. 1944. Columbia Pictures and Famous Players show NFB films in French in Quebec movie theaters for the first time. 1949. NFB film broadcast on American and English television stations for the first time. 1951. Production of Royal Journey, the NFB' s first 35 mm color film. 1955. The NFB moves its offices to the Montreal suburb of Saint-Laurent. 1960. Colin Low directs Universe, which a few years later will be included in NASA' s training program for astronauts. 1963. The NFB shoots its first feature-length film: Drylanders, a fictionaldrama by Donald Haldane, and Pour la suite du monde ( The Coontrap), a documentary by Pierre Perrault, Michel Brault and Marcel Carriere. 1964. Creation of the French Program Branch. 1966. Creation of the French Animation Studio. 1967. Creation of Challenge for Change/ Societe nouvelle, an experimental film program promoting social change. The NFB produces the experimental film shown at the Labyrinthpavilion; it is visited by more than 1.3 million people during Expo '67. First use of computer animation at the NFB. 1969. Adaption of the new NFB logo designed by Georges Beaupre' and symbolizing a vision of humanity. 1971. Mon Oncle Antoine by Claude Jutra wins the Gold Hugo Award at theChicago International Film Festival and Best Feature Film at theCanadian Film Awards. 1973. Balablok wins the Palm d' or for best short film at Cannes. 1974. The English program creates Studio D, the first production unit forfilms by, for and about women. The French Program opens regional production centers outside ofQuebec. 1975. The NFB starts transfering films onto 3/4-inch videocassette format and opens several video centers. The NFB opens a library of captioned and subtitled films for the hearing-impaired. The Heat Wave Lasted Four Days, by Douglas Jackson, becomes the first Canadian film sold to American network television. 1976. Work begins on the official film of the XXI Olympic Games. Under the supervision of Jean-Claude Labrecque, 32 crews comprising 168 persons shoot 100,000 meters of film. 1977. J.A. Martin, Photographe triumphs at Cannes. Monique Mercure wins the Palm d' or for best actress, while the film wins the Ecumenical Award. That same year, it is named Best Feature Film at the Canadian Film Awards. 1978. The NFB wins two Oscars: one for best documentary short for Beverly Shaffer's I'll find a Way, and one for best animation for Co Hoedeman's The Castle/Le chateau de sable. 1980. English Production creates the Program to Assist Films in the Private secctor (PAFPS), opening the way to coproduction with the private Sector. Creation of the Federal Women's Film Program(FWFP). 1983. The report of the Applebaum-Hebert Committee recommends that the NFB continue to produce and distribute films. 1984. Mon Oncle Antoine is declared the best Canadian film of all time at the Torento Festival of Festival. 1985. Creation of Aide au cinemea independant -Canada (ACIC) to assistindependent French-language flmmakers. 1986. A special jury prize is awarded to the NFB by the Nyon international Documentary Film Festival for its exemplary documentary production since 1939. Transtions, the NFB' s first 3D IMAX film, is seen by 1.7 million visitors at Expo '86 in Vancouver. The French Program creates the Regards de femmes program. The French Program Animation Studio establishes a computer animation center.Establishment of the Employment Equity program.
Oscar Won by the NFB
1. Churchill' s Island, documentary by Stuart Legg, in 1941. 2. Neighbours, animated short by Norman McLaren, in 1952. 3. I' ll Find a Way, documentary short by Beverly Shaffer, in 1978. 4. The Sand Castle, animated short by Co Hoedeman, in 1978. 5. Special Delivery, animated short by John Weldon and Eunice Macaulay,in 1979. 6. Every Child, animated short by Eugene Fedorenko, in 1980. 7. If You Love This Planet, documentary short by Terre Nash, in 1983. 8. Flamenco at 5:15, documentary short by Cynthia Scott, in1984.
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