From experimental stop-motion to cutting-edge 3D graphics, Canadian animators have pushed envelopes and captured imaginations for decades. And why not? When it’s -30º below outside, you may as well cozy up with your sketchbook and get scribblin’!
The National Film Board of Canada, for instance, has been a fundamental organization in supporting Canadian animation—even winning three Oscars in the Best Animated Short Film category! But while the NFB may be our golden goose of the mode, there’s a whole canvas of great Canadian animated films to check out.
Heavy Metal (1981)
Gerald Potterton’s Heavy Metal takes a rock-n’-roll science fiction anthology script from Canadian screen legends Daniel Goldberg and Len Blum and turns it up to laser-blasting 11. Warning: this film is intended for mature audiences only. Thumb-suckers beware!
When it comes to having a snowball fight, there’s no time like Snowtime! This remake of the absolute classic 1984 Canadian animation La guerre des tuques catapults the story of the most epic snowball fight ever into the realm of 3D animation. The result? A family-friendly classic that has chilly thrills and snow-fort hills! (Featuring bonus bilingual French components, for all those readers who parle out there!)
Les Triplets de Belleville (2003)
Le sigh! Nominated for an Oscar in 2004, this charming romp follows an elderly grandmother’s adventure to rescue her professional cyclist son from the mob. Though it doesn’t have much in the way of dialogue, it’s a whimsical movie made possible by a co-production between France, Belgium, the UK, and of course: Canada! With the fictional town of Belleville mixing in some distinctly Quebec City vibes, it’s clear there’s lots of maple syrup running through its veins.
Asphalt Watches (2013)
This crazy film is totally far-out—and about as uncommon as they come. It’s also pretty rare that an animation goes on to win the Best Canadian Feature Film award at the Toronto International Film Festival, but this crazy road movie by Shayne Ehman and Seth Scriver—two totally rad animators themselves—is uniquely out-there enough to do so. You won’t believe your (crudely-drawn) peepers!
Window Horses (2016)
Following its amazing success on crowdfunding platform Kickstarter, Window Horses is a new contemporary classic by Ann Marie Fleming. Showcasing the diversity and power of Canadian animation, the film follows a young poet who is invited to an Iranian poetry festival. There, in Shiraz, Iran, she learns the history of her past in a way to reorient her future, all through the magic of poetry. Starring Sandra Oh and debuting at the Toronto International Film Festival this year, we’re excited to see how this beautiful film inspires audiences as it travels far and wide!
What are some of your favourite Canadian animations? Draw up a pencil and let us know on Twitter @CanFilmDay!