Here's a selection of NFB stop-motion films. Stop-motion is an animation technique that creates the illusion of movement in an object by incremental "move and stop" frame-by-frame shooting. The recorded changes to the puppet's poses "give life" to what was previously static art. This technique often uses clay or Plasticine characters or puppets.
Pixillation (or pixilation) is a variation of stop-motion animation and is achieved by photographing the movement of humans one frame at a time. Norman McLaren used this technique in his Oscar®-winning NFB film Neighbours. He also used stop-motion animation with live actors in A Chairy Tale, made with his friend Claude Jutra, and Pas de deux.
The NFB continues to innovate in the field of animation and has several programs to encourage young talent. Hothouse and Vista are two examples. You’ll find some of these films on the right.
In this Oscar®-winning short film, Norman McLaren employs the principles normally used to put drawings or puppets into motion to animate live actors. The story is a parable about two people who come to blows over the possession of a flower. For more background info on this film, visit the NFB.ca blog.
In this Oscar®-nominated short film, a chair, animated by Evelyn Lambart, refuses to be sat upon, forcing a young man to perform a sort of dance with the chair. The musical accompaniment is by Ravi Shankar and Chatur Lal. This virtuoso film is the result of a collaboration between Norman McLaren and Claude Jutra.
This stop-motion animated film takes viewers on an exhilarating existential journey into the fully imagined, tactile world of Madame Tutli-Putli. As she travels alone on the night train, weighed down with all her earthly possessions and the ghosts of her past, she faces both the kindness and menace of strangers. Finding herself caught up in a desperate metaphysical adventure, adrift between real and imagined worlds, Madame Tutli-Putli confronts her demons.
A mixture of puppet and hand-drawn animation, The Necktie is the story of Valentin and his quest to find meaning in his life. Stuck in a dead-end job, he has forgotten all about the things that used to bring him joy. Years pass, and boredom replaces all his aspirations and hope for the future. It is only on his 40th birthday, when he rediscovers an old accordion hidden in the depths of his closet, that he regains his lust for life.
This stop-motion animation is about a spider who professes its love for a squirrel. An interspecies courtship unfolds between the two doe-eyed neighbours. This short film is a testament to the fact that there is truly someone for everyone and that love is species blind. This film was made as part of the fourth edition of the NFB's Hothouse apprenticeship.
The macabre tale of a child trying to overcome her fear of the swing. This film was made as part of the 7th edition of the NFB's Hothouse apprenticeship.
This animated short poses some interesting questions: what if buildings pulsed, trees tapped out beats, or shadows could whistle a tune? Through the creative interpretation and animation of the city's natural rhythms, Orange orchestrates a contagious urban dance. This film was made as part of the 5th edition of the NFB's Hothouse apprenticeship.
A stunning display of a stop-motion animation, Dancers of the Grass vividly depicts the majesty of the hoop dance, a tradition symbolizing the unity of all nations.
This animated short from Malcolm Sutherland is an engaging dance of shapes and sounds. The "game" is played by opening the box, unfolding the board and placing shapes on it that you manipulate with your hands. There are no winners or losers in this game; the fun is in the creative way the forms unfold. Features a score by Luigi Alleman and music by Ravi Shankar.
This animated film uses the Arctic landscape and the traditional Inuit characters of the Bear, the Seal and the Owl to raise young people's awareness about the harmful effects of substance abuse. A polar bear experiences hallucinations after inhaling fumes from an abandoned gas can. A nearby owl and seal help to show the bear the error of his ways, thus preventing him from falling further into addiction. This film was an initiative of the Natives of the Institution La Macaza to warn children of the dangers of inhaling toxic chemicals.
In this animated short, Oscar® winner John Weldon (Special Delivery) spins a tall tale about young Dorothy and her myriad troubles: absentee parents, bad hair and a menagerie that devours her homework. But when her pet squid rampages through town and people finally realize that the homework-eating creatures aren't a figment of her imagination, Dorothy realizes that it's time to get the situation under control.
This short animated film features the sandman and the creatures he sculpts out of sand. These lively creatures build a castle and celebrate the completion of their new home, only to be interrupted by an uninvited guest. Cleverly constructed with nuance, the film leaves interpretation open to the viewer. The film took home an Oscar® for Best Animated Short Film.
Under the African sun, a child walks in the desert with his kin. Death is prowling, but a mother's soul resurrected by music will return strength and life to the child when he becomes a man. Inspired by the grace and raw beauty of African rock paintings, Nicolas Brault paints a story without borders, with the humanity and elegance of a universal narrator.