Wiebo’s War is one of the best documentaries I have seen this year at 2011 CIFF, I highly recommend it as it tells a great story. The film is especially relevant to Albertans as we thought we know a lot about Wiebo Ludwig from TV news but David York’s Wiebo’s War, with intimate access to Wiebo and his family over two years, will show you a lot more.
“This feature documentary focuses on Wiebo Ludwig, a suspect in a recent string of pipeline bombings. The bombings echo a campaign of sabotage he waged against the oil and gas industry in the 90s – barricading roads and blowing up wells. And when a 16-year-old girl was fatally shot on the family farm in 1999, Wiebo’s fight with the industry was thrust further into the media spotlight.
The Ludwig family are part of a Christian community that lives in close adherence to their religious values. The community is comprised of 5 married couples, 7 unmarried adult children and 38 grandchildren. They are self-sufficient in food and energy, but live in isolation and believe that those that don’t share their religious beliefs, like filmmaker David York, are living in terrible darkness.”
I’ve long been a fan of NFB since the late 80s. (note 1) Earlier this week, I had the pleasure to conduct a video interview with Tom Perlmutter – NFB Chairperson & Government Film Commissioner @ Banff World Media Festival 2011.
In the interview Tom talked about whats new at NFB, for example the cutting-edge new interactive programming coming out from NFB.
* I was amazed by the beautiful and creative “Bla Bla” [Kempton’s note: Just give it a try as it is quite fun.]
* 1:05 The world’s first high-definition 3D shot using infrared cameras. [Kempton: I look forward to be transported and to be engaged in new ways.]
* 2:14 Funding situation improved with the current government?
* 3:13 The massive collection of films online and on iPad, etc available for all to watch. Does NFB have enough funds to make new films available? How is NFB trying to make money? NFB has launched apps on iPhone, iPad, and Android. And is partnering with RIM and will be packaged with Playbook. NFB is also looking at connected TV and making sure they can be migrated to that platform.
* 5:29 All that stuff NFB is doing is free by streaming. Tom talks about have a system for people to buy the content they want to own and keep.
* 7:40 No geographic restrictions of content. As per legislated mandate of NFB, “To reflect Canada to Canadians and the world.”
* 8:18 Over 22 millions viewing of NFB films in the last two years! And the viewership is still growing. Read the rest of this entry »
I am very much looking forward to my day 2 (Tuesday) of Banff and getting ready for some more interviews. There are so many sessions to attend and people to meet. Some of these sessions are already clashing badly for me. Yikes!
* Continental Breakfast Alhambra Room 07:45-08:45
* Keynote: Jana Bennett, President, Worldwide Van Horne A/B 09:00-09:45 Networks and Global iPlayer, BBC Worldwide [Kempton’s note: There are so much I can learn from BBC, so I always try to attend their sessions.]
* nextMEDIA Keynote: Grant McCracken, Van Horne C 09:45-10:30 Research Affiliate, C3, MIT [Kempton: I am so much looking forward to Grant‘s keynote. I even signed out his “Chief Cultural Officer” from the library but unfortunately I couldn’t find time to read more before Banff.]
* Foreign Ownership: The Impact on the Theatre10:00-11:00 Communications Business [Kempton: As I tweeted, “Exciting @banffmedia session to see @WINDMobile @Globalive @Telus @hennessy4408 @pkedrosky #CRTC in one room http://bit.ly/WinTel #banff2011” P.S. I wonder if the CRTC Chairman will attend this session? :) ]
* Networking Break President’s Hall 11:00-11:30 and Van Horne
* View from the Top: Digital Van Horne C 11:30-12:30
* An NFB Special Luncheon – Connecting with Van Horne A/B 12:30-14:00 Canadians [Kempton: I love NFB. Look forward to new and wonderful things from Tom and his team at NFB.]
* The nextMEDIA Digital Launch Pad: Pitching Van Horne C 13:45-14:45 Agencies and Brands
* Funny or Die: Creating Hit Online Comedy Van Horne C 14:45-15:45 [Kempton: Very much looking to learn more about online comedy from the experts. Hope I can land an interview with some of them, that will be really cool. Will see.]
* Wine Break President’s Hall 15:45-16:15 and Van Horne
* In Conversation with: Award of Distinction Van Horne C 16:15-17:00 Winner, HOWIE MANDEL
re: Banff World Media Festival’s free wi-fi network coverage
This is my 6th year attending Banff. When I first attended banff, it was Banff World TV Festival and Next Media as separate events, and now the two events have merged in an equal-ish manner as Banff World Media Festival. I came as a CTV Fellow on the first year and have been coming to Banff as a blogger for the other five years.
So I don’t want to sound ungrateful because I am very grateful for the opportunities. But in this day and age where wireless network coverages are so easy to setup correctly to prove continuous, full and reliable coverage, Banff World Media Festival’s free public wi-fi are left much much to be desired. I don’t want to say the wi-fi coverage at banff sucks, but a diplomatic version of the same sentiment may convey my slight disappointment. I write this in hope that Banff’s wi-fi coverage will be much much better next year.
It will take me some time to write the article and process & upload the video after Banff. Stay tune.
June 17 update: Done! Please check out this link for the full video interview and article.
Have a watch of the short film, William Shatner Sings O Canada. Enjoy.
“When William Shatner gets a Lifetime Achievement Award from Canada’s Governor General, he shows appreciation as only Shatner can. In this short film, the most famous space cadet in showbiz takes helm of our heritage and treats us to a memorable rendition of Canada’s national anthem.
Produced by the National Film Board of Canada in co-operation with the National Arts Centre and the Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards Foundation on the occasion of the 2011 Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards.”
Here is the press release from NFB. Check out some of these FREE screenings if you are in Toronto.
The NFB celebrates 40 years of China-Canada relations at the Toronto Mediatheque
Toronto, October 1st, 2010 – This October, Canada and the People’s Republic of China are celebrating 40 years of diplomatic relations. The two countries have maintained productive relations for several decades now, enriched by exchanges in such varied sectors as science, agriculture, trade, the environment, medicine and culture. To mark this memorable anniversary, the National Film Board (NFB) is presenting seven recent films produced by China’s movie industry at the Toronto NFB Mediatheque from October 8 to 13. Several of the films are making their Canadian premiere alongside a selection of films produced by the NFB. The screenings are FREE and are being organized jointly by China’s Film Office of the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television, the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Canada, the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada and the NFB.
About the Program
Friday, October 8 at 6:30 pm
Forever Enthralled by Chen Kaige, 2008
An epic film on the life of the famed Chinese opera singer Mei Lanfang, starring Zhang Ziyi and Masanobu Ando, rising star Shaoqun Yu, who gives a remarkable performance, and Xueqi Wang in a supporting role. Named Best Film at the Asia Pacific Screen Awards in 2009, Forever Enthralled has been presented in several competitions, including the Berlin International Film Festival in 2009.
Saturday, October 9 at 1 pm – program for the whole family
The Dream of Jinsha, animated film, 2010 (Canadian premiere)
Xiao Long, a schoolboy around ten years old, accidentally goes back in time to an ancient Chinese empire that existed 3,500 years ago. That’s when the problems start…
The film will be preceded by a screening of the NFB animated film The Friends of Kwan Ming.
Saturday, October 9 at 3 pm
Walking to School by Peng Jiahuang and Peng Cheng, 2009 (Canadian premiere)
Children of the Lisu tribe in the Yunnan mountains have a strange way of getting to school: they have to dangle from a hook above the gorges of the Nujiang River and slide along a steel cable. Read the rest of this entry »
Here is my first 2010 CIFF Picks.
– Force of Nature: The David Suzuki Movie (CIFF screen time) is one cool movie at the 2010 CIFF and kicking off the 2010/2011 season of Doc Soup. Check out the 6 “Force of Nature” clips at NFB. As a sushi lover, watching clip 6 “Bluefin Tuna Auction” really made me think. (On a personal note, it was great seeing Suzuki in person for the second time at the 2010 Banff World TV Festival talking about another great documentary “The Cove”.)
Sept 24 update:
Here is an article and interview from Calgary Herald “Warning from an elder”.
Matthew Talbot-Kelly (imdb), director & producer of the animated short film “The Trembling Veil of Bones” and creator of the “The Pedlar Lady of Gushing Cross” iPad app, is an animator that was trained in architecture. In the following Skype video interview, I chatted with Matthew about how his knowledge of architecture influences his animations, why he decided to find an actor to play Bones, the story’s protagonist, the meanings of some of the images in the film, and more. Enjoy.
The following are clips produced by the National Film Board of Canada.
THE TREMBLING VEIL OF BONES (MAKING OF)
THE TREMBLING VElL OF BONES: INTERVIEW WITH DIRECTOR MATTHEW TALBOT-KELLY
P.S. I found this video clip from NFB.
P.P.S. I met Cam by chance at a Banff breakfast. It was nice to see him again by chance the following day, this time, part way through his breakfast, he got a chance to pitch his animation projects to a broadcaster. :)
Finally got around to watch the very enjoyable Oscar-winning NFB documentary “Flamenco at 5:15” (full documentary online). Nice to feel the energy of the dancers.
“This Oscar®-winning short film is an impressionistic record of a flamenco dance class given to senior students of the National Ballet School of Canada by two great teachers from Spain, Susana and Antonio Robledo. The film shows the beautiful young North American dancers–inspired by the flamenco rhythms and mesmerized by Susana’s extraordinary energy–joyously merging with an ancient gypsy culture.”
This reporter is excited to see the NFB online anti-racism film project featured in Huffington Post,
2. Racism is so last century/NFB
March 21 is International Day for the Elimination of Racism. To shake things up a little, check out Jaded, a sharp and funny mockumentary that uses role reversal to highlight racial discrimination. It’s from Work for All, a joint venture between the National Film Board of Canada and Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (New Radical Innovators!!). NFB films are now available on Air Canada flights (how radical is that?). I’ve written about the NFB before — about filmmaker Katerina Cizek and how technology can be used as a tool for social change. Coming soon from Katerina and the NFB: a multi-media, multi-year collaborative project about the human experience in highrise apartment buildings around the world.
You can watch the full short mockumentary Jaded here at NFB (very funny).
Not growing up in Canada, I have an advantage compare to my fellow Canadians in judging the 1981 NFB documentary “Ten Million Books: An Introduction to Farley Mowat“. My advantage is that I can honestly say this is a great documentary on itself without worrying if my judgement has been clouded by my positive (or negative) view of Farley Mowat as a person.
I found Farley so interesting as an author and person that I have looked up a book of his and put it hold in the library. And I am also looking forward to reading his new auto-biography.
Film Synopsis (emphasis added),
Farley Mowat has sold more books than any other Canadian writer – 10 million copies in 22 languages in 50 countries. In this short film, Mowat recalls some of his experiences that have found their way into his work.
Watch “Ten Million Books: An Introduction to Farley Mowat” online and I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did. Have fun.
I know Farley is working on his new auto-biography because I’ve finished watching “Finding Farley” (2010) and in the film Farley said he is working on his auto-biography (see official trailer and info). See pix and info here and here.
I had a great time watching the NFB documentary “Being Caribou” when it was screened at the Calgary International Film Festival a few years ago. I am happy to share with you that the full documentary video “Being Caribou” is now onlineo!
Here is the film synopsis (emphasis added),
In this feature-length documentary, husband and wife team Karsten Heuer (wildlife biologist) and Leanne Allison (environmentalist) follow a herd of 120,000 caribou on foot across 1500 km of Arctic tundra. In following the herd’s migration, the couple hopes to raise awareness of the threats to the caribou’s survival. Along the way they brave Arctic weather, icy rivers, hordes of mosquitoes and a very hungry grizzly bear. Dramatic footage and video diaries combine to provide an intimate perspective of an epic expedition.
I remember I had tears in my eyes when I watched the beauty in the landscape and the wildlife Karsten and Leanne showed in the film. And as I watch the film online, I am touched again when I see the beauty and the filmmakers respect for the caribous and the wildlife.
It is easy to think that only humans matter and we don’t need to respect other life forms on this earth. I think that view is short sighted as we (humans) are just one of the living beings on earth and, at some point, we have to learn to live while respecting other living beings on this Pale Blue Dot.
P.S. I feel I have to add this note. I am not your typical environmentalist or animal lover. For example, I love steaks, and if I can trust the meat quality, I will probably even try Caribou steaks too!
BUT, I refuse to be so arrogant to think that human beings rule supreme and can trample other living beings on earth without careful thoughts and reasons. It is no laughing matter to seriously disturb the habitat of Caribous or other animals and putting their survival in danger.
The 2008 (or 2009?) Oscar nominated Madame Tutli-Putli is finally available to watch online at NFB! I highly recommend readers check out the film.
After you watch Madame Tutli-Putli, you can have a read and listen to my “Chat with Laurie Maher – Soul of Madame Tutli-Putli“. Laurie’s eyes and mannerism were used by filmmakers Chris Lavis & Maciek Szczerbowski to make Madame Tutli-Putli so beautiful and soulful.
By the way, I’ve finished watching Chris & Maciek’s new short animation “Higglety Pigglety Pop! or There must be more to life” (featuring the voices of Meryl Streep & Forest Whitaker) and I will be reviewing the film soon.
Rains is an award-winning NFB animation by David Coquard-Dassault. Rains is most recently screened at the 2010 Sundance film festival. In the eyes of this reporter, it is a stunningly and beautifully drawn (pencil-drawn) piece of animation.
Since I speak no French, the following is my email interview with David (links, additional notes and emphasis added).
Kempton: The rains and water look absolutely realistic. May I ask how did you do it? Did you film artificial/real rain and then composite on top of your beautiful pencil drawings?
David: The rain was generated using After Effects. I drew a few pencil lines: the impact of the rain on the cars – the ripples in the puddles were animated by hand – then, with the software, we multiplied and randomly dispersed them at the rhythm we wanted.
Because of the different contrast values and textures of the various shots, the rain was very hard to handle. It disappeared against some backgrounds; against others, it was too obvious and washed out the pencil. We had to create different kinds of rain for each shot and co-ordinate them all to create the downpour.
Kempton: The story is beautiful told. How did you come up with the story and script?
David: Before sitting down to write, I drew scenes and graphic compositions to link them together: that was a preliminary storyboard.
With Rains, I was trying to create an atmosphere rather than tell a story, which meant a quite different approach to the script. The difficulty in writing a contemplative film resides – at least in part – in finding a hook for the script.
I didn’t really start writing until after doing the storyboard. The challenge of writing a script, using words rather than drawings, was to work backwards from the idea, in a way, trying to find a thread that would move the film forward, that would give it meaning.
Kempton: Your first film looks spectacular. How long did it take you to make it? What are some of the hard challenges you faced in making the film?
David: Rains was 10 months in the making while I was an artist-in-residence at Folimage, in France. But it took three years, from idea to distribution, before the film could finally be seen. There are always problems making a film, no matter how small. Aside from the rain mentioned above, the true challenge seemed to be bringing immobility to life.
Kempton: Can you talk about the music and the sound effect? They are both beautiful.
David: When writing this type of contemplative film, you need to have a very precise idea of the music you want. I worked on the computer animation with the piece “Fratres,” by Arvo Pärt. Félix Dufour-Laperrière, who was in residency at the same time as I was, making Rosa Rosa, had introduced me to Pärt’s minimalist music (films are made of chance encounters). Christophe Heral, my composer, then wrote the main lines of the piece in order to offer his own point of view. He was able to work with all the sound in the film – the music and effects – to create a soundscape in harmony with the film: The pictures and sound are closely linked.
Kempton: And the group of birds at the end of the film is so lively. So minimalistic and yet realistic and beautiful at the same time. How did you make them so real?
David: I believe that I rendered them well, but they are not, strictly speaking, realistic. The film, through drawings, provides an interpretation of birds in flight – that is animation’s main advantage.
[Kempton note: I incorrectly used “realistic”. What David managed was to magically bring out the essence of a bird and a flock of birds in flight with a pencil line or a few pencil lines.]
Kempton: Any other things you want to say about the film or the filmmaking process?
David: Making a film is exhausting. It’s really time I made another.
Here is a trailer of David Coquard-Dassault’s Rains.
P.S. I hope this film will come to the Calgary International Film Festival so Calgarians can watch it on big screen.
This entry is cross-posted at examiner.com
The Sundance screened NFB animation Runaway is a runaway success in this reporter’s eyes. Runaway has already won Best Short Film International Critics’ Week at Cannes 2009 and Special Jury Award at 2009 Annecy International Film Festival. The enjoyment in watching this funny and disastrous train ride is remarkable. Here is some info from NFB,
Cordell Barker, who directed The Cat Came Back and Strange Invaders, is once again at his best with Runaway. Set to the music of Ben Charest (composer of The Triplets of Belleville), Runaway takes you on a journey that is both funny and disastrous.
Happy passengers are having a great time on a crowded train, oblivious to the unknown fate that awaits them around the bend. The ensuing crisis leads to a class struggle that is as amusing as it is merciless. Naturally there are victims, but in the end everyone is equal.
You can have a watch of the trailer of Runaway. This reporter is in the process of arranging a potential interview with filmmaker Cordell Barker. Stay tune.
And to write this entry, this reporter has also watched The Cat Came Back (again) and Strange Invaders (for the first time). Both films are deadly funny and stand the test of time. As you may remember, I’ve previously highlighted The Cat as a great film to watch.