Brad Caslor & Christopher Hinton (1978)

An animated parable that deals with a familiar subject in an amusing way. We join in the business ventures of J.B. Edwards, an easterner who went west to create a fuel company called Consolidated Dragons. The company’s profits were sorely affected when the supply of dragons started to dry up. A solution had to be found–and was.

Directed by Brad Caslor & Christopher Hinton – 1978

Blowhard is a Canadian animated short film, directed by Brad Caslor and Christopher Hinton for the National Film Board of Canada in 1978. A satire of capitalism, the film centers on a businessman who moves to Blowhard, a town populated by dragons but without electrical power, and formulates a plan to profit and become rich by exploiting the dragons as a power source.

The film was made for the NFB’s Renewable Society series. It also served as a subtle comment on Western Canadian alienation, as businessman J. B. Edwards was “from the East” and the town of Blowhard was “in the West”. It was narrated by Maara Haas, and also featured Wayne Finucan as the voice of J. B. Edwards.

The film received a Canadian Film Award nomination for Best Animated Short Film at the 29th Canadian Film Awards in 1978 and it won a Golden Sheaf Award for Best Animation at the Yorkton Film Festival.

It was later broadcast in the United States on Cartoon Network’s O Canada anthology series of NFB animated shorts.

International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (2018)

I am very proud to be a theatrical stage employee for IATSE Local 15 in Seattle, Washington. This is a movie commemorating the 125th anniversary of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees throughout the United States and Canada.

The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees is a North American labor union representing over 150,000 technicians, artisans, and craftspersons in the entertainment industry, including live theatre, motion picture and television production, and trade shows in the United States and Canada. It was awarded the Tony Honors for Excellence in Theatre in 1993.

IATSE was founded in 1893 when representatives of stagehands working in eleven cities met in New York and pledged to support each other’s efforts to establish fair wages and working conditions for their members. IATSE has since evolved to embrace the development of new entertainment media, craft expansion, technological innovation and geographic growth.

Today, IATSE members work in all forms of live theater, motion picture and television production, trade shows and exhibitions, television broadcasting, and concerts as well as the equipment and construction shops that support all these areas of the entertainment industry. IATSE represents virtually all the behind the scenes workers in crafts ranging from motion picture animator to theater usher.

During a period when private sector union membership has been in sharp decline, IATSE has continued to grow. Since 1993, IATSE’s membership has increased from 74,344 to 150,000 which it attributes to its willingness to adapt its structure to protect traditional jurisdiction and accommodate new crafts.

Claude Cloutier (2020)

Bad Seeds takes us to a bizarre world populated by carnivorous plants that can change shapes the way a chameleon changes colours. The film deftly connects growth with rivalry and evolution with competition, crafting an increasingly shocking duel that’s peppered with allusions to the Western, the Cold War, board games, and much more.

Written, animated, and directed by Claude Cloutier

Canadian filmmaker Claude Cloutier has crafted another gem with his latest animated short, Bad Seeds. This modern-day fable explores our fatal obsession with progress, as played out in a battle between two carnivorous plants. Deftly connecting growth with rivalry, and evolution with competition, Cloutier has constructed a stunning work that’s peppered with nods to iconic historical figures and a wide variety of pop culture references.

Named as an official selection at over 27 film festivals, Bad Seeds has already garnered the Best of the Fest and the Comedy Short awards at the Los Angeles Animation Festival, the Audience Award at the Sommets du cinĂ©ma d’animation in Montreal, Canada, and Best Animated Short at the New York City Short Film Festival, along with awards at other prestigious venues.

John Leach (1978)

Happy Halloween!

Hobo Moon Cartoons aims to preserve the beloved Halloween classics of yesteryear for future generations to enjoy!

Witch’s Night Out is a Canadian Halloween cartoon that premiered on October 27, 1978, which is, coincidentally, also my birthday. It was produced in a Toronto studio and featured the voices of Fiona Reid as Nicely and Catherine O’Hara as Malicious, with Gilda Radner as the titular witch.

Witch’s Night Out was produced on 35mm film by Jonathan Rogers (formerly known as John Leach) and Jean Rankin.

A depressed witch is summoned by a pair of children, named Small and Tender, who are upset at not being able to scare anyone on Halloween. The witch turns them into a werewolf and ghost (previously their Halloween costumes), and their babysitter Bazooey into Frankenstein’s monster. The witch then takes them to the Halloween party-in-progress at her isolated mansion on the edge of town. However, the citizens of the town get offended at the thought of real monsters in their town, and form a mob, under the leadership of the strait-laced Goodly. The witch loses her magic wand, which gets attached to a woman named Malicious, and is unable to turn Bazooey and the kids back to humans. The group of supernatural beings is chased through the town and forest by the mob, eventually losing them. Malicious and her partner, Rotten, misuse the wand’s powers, which causes a lot of damage to the town, but also summons the witch and the kids to their location. Regaining her wand, the witch uses its power to turn Malicious and Rotten into monsters (though she turns them back soon after), while turning the Frankenstein monster, ghost and werewolf back into Bazooey, Tender and Small. Eventually, the witch uses her powers to restore everything to normal, showing the town that she is not evil. The town quickly accepts the witch, and she starts turning people into what they want to be for Halloween.

A disco song entitled Witch Magic was sung in this film.

Norman McLaren (1950)

This 1949 animation by Canadian filmmaker Norman McLaren is a moving vision of jazz activity. Featuring a soundtrack by the Oscar Peterson Trio the film ebbs and flows in unison with the energy of the performers. This is the explosion of color you’ve been waiting to hear.

Norman McLaren was a Scottish Canadian animator, director and producer known for his work for the National Film Board of Canada (NFB). He was a pioneer in a number of areas of animation and filmmaking, including hand-drawn animation, drawn-on-film animation, visual music, abstract film, pixilation and graphical sound.

His awards included an Academy Award for Best Documentary Short Subject in 1952 for Neighbours, a Silver Bear for best short documentary at the 1956 Berlin International Film Festival for Rythmetic and a 1969 BAFTA Award for Best Animated Film for Pas de deux.

Michael Snow (1956)

Snow made his first film, A to Z, while working at the animation firm Graphic Associates in Toronto. He received a job there after meeting the head of the firm, George Dunning—who later directed the Beatles’ 1968 film Yellow Submarine—at one of Snow’s exhibitions. A to Z is a cutout animation of tables and chairs attempting to mate with each other. The theme of tables and chairs recurs in several other works by Snow from this period. The crosshatch drawings of these objects in A to Z were influenced by the Expressionist style of Swiss-German artist Paul Klee. Snow did not return to experimental film until 1964, when he made New York Eye and Ear Control.

Read more at aci-iac.ca

Norman McLaren (1952)

In this Oscar-winning short film, Norman McLaren employs the principles of animation to animate live actors through the process of pixilation. The story is a parable about two people who come to blows over the possession of a flower.

Neighbours is a 1952 anti-war film by Scottish Canadian filmmaker Norman McLaren. Produced at the National Film Board of Canada in Montreal, the film uses pixilation, an animation technique using live actors as stop motion objects. McLaren created the soundtrack of the film by scratching the edge of the film, creating various blobs, lines, and triangles which the projector read as sound.

Neighbours has been described as “one of the most controversial films the NFB ever made”. The eight-minute film was politically motivated:

“I was inspired to make Neighbours by a stay of almost a year in the People’s Republic of China. Although I only saw the beginnings of Mao’s revolution, my faith in human nature was reinvigorated by it. Then I came back to Quebec and the Korean War began. (…) I decided to make a really strong film about anti-militarism and against war.”

— Norman McLaren

The version of Neighbours that ultimately won an Oscar was not the version McLaren had originally created. In order to make the film palatable for American and European audiences, McLaren was required to remove a scene in which the two men, fighting over the flower, murdered the other’s wife and children.

During the Vietnam War, public opinion changed, and McLaren was asked to reinstate the sequence. The original negative of that scene had been destroyed, so the scene was salvaged from a positive print of lower quality.

The term pixilation was created by Grant Munro to describe stop-motion animation of humans in his work with McLaren on Two Bagatelles, a pair of short pixilation films made prior to Neighbours. During one brief sequence, the two actors appear to levitate, an effect achieved by having the actors repeatedly jump upward and photographing them at the top of their trajectories.

Pixilation is a stop motion technique in which live actors are used as a frame-by-frame subject in an animated film, by repeatedly posing while one or more frame is taken and changing pose slightly before the next frame or frames. The actor becomes a kind of living stop-motion puppet.

Friz Freleng (1942)

In the Canadian North Woods, Bugs is wanted dead or alive and Elmer is out to bring him in with the help of the Canadian Mounties.

Fresh Hare is a Warner Bros. Merrie Melodies cartoon directed by Friz Freleng, written by Michael Maltese, animated by Manuel Perez, and produced by Leon Schlesinger. It was released to theatres on August 22, 1942.

The title is a typical Warner Bros. pun on “fresh air” that has little or nothing to do with the plot, other than being set in the crisp, frigid air of a Canadian winter. Caricatures of Adolf Hitler and Veronica Lake make appearances during the animated short.

Lou Reed (1983)

In honor of Lou Reed on his birthday, born on this day in 1942, I present to you My Name is Mok, sung by Lou Reed in the Canadian animated film Rock & Rule.

My Name is Mok is a song performed for Mok by Lou Reed. The song is abridged in the film and has never had a wide official release, but copies of the complete song are circulating in fandom.

Lou Reed was an American musician, singer, songwriter, and poet. He was the guitarist, singer, and principal songwriter for the rock band the Velvet Underground and had a solo career that spanned five decades. The Velvet Underground was not a commercial success during its existence, but became regarded as one of the most influential bands in the history of underground and alternative rock music. Reed’s distinctive deadpan voice, poetic and transgressive lyrics, and experimental guitar playing were trademarks throughout his long career. After leaving the band in 1970, Reed released twenty solo studio albums.

Rock & Rule is a 1983 Canadian animated musical science fantasy film featuring the voices of Don Francks, Greg Salata and Susan Roman. It was produced and directed by Michael Hirsh, Patrick Loubert, and Clive A. Smith with John Halfpenny, Patrick Loubert, and Peter Sauder at the helm of its screenplay.

Richard Williams (2015)

Richard Williams was a Canadian–British animator, voice actor, director, and writer, best known for serving as animation director on Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, for which he won two Academy Awards, and for his unfinished feature film The Thief and the Cobbler.

In 2015 his short film Prologue received both an Oscar nomination and a BAFTA nomination in the category of best animated short. Prologue is actually the first 6 minutes of his hand-drawn feature film Lysistrata, based on the ancient Greek comedy by Aristophanes, which Williams joked should be sub-titled “Will I Live to Finish It?” Williams described Prologue as “the only thing so far in my career that I’ve ever really been pleased with.” In 2013 Williams told The Guardian, “All I need is some time and five or six assistants who can draw like hell.” The film was intended to be “grim but funny and salacious and sexy”. Like The Thief and the Cobbler, Prologue would never be completed. But, as Williams put it: “it’s the doing of it that matters. Do it for the love of it. That’s all there is”.

To see more work by Richard Williams follow the links below…

Troy Little & Nick Cross (2009)

Based on the graphic novel series by Troy Little, this pilot special features the misadventures of the Canadian cuddle-core punk rock girl band, Angora Napkin, comprised of bubbly Beatrice, bookish Molly, and mute Mallory.

Three young women meet the world head-on in a bubblegum pop explosion of harsh reality. Spinning off from the Eisner nominated graphic novel, this animated pilot was created for Teletoon as part of their Pilot Project initiative.

Created and directed by Troy Little & Nick Cross.

For more information on this and other films by Nick Cross, visit: http://nickcrossanimation.com

Frédéric Back (1981)

Crac! traces the rapid transformation of Quebec society through the story of a rocking chair. In this charming tale tinged with nostalgia, Frédéric Back takes us back to rich traditions swept aside by the relentless forces of progress and urbanization.

“Beaucoup de gens parlent bien, Ă©crivent bien, chantent bien, moi j’ai la chance d’avoir pu dessiner et exprimer mes prĂ©occupations autrement qu’en parole. Les films que j’ai faits continuent, encore maintenant, Ă  ma grande surprise, d’ĂȘtre trĂšs populaires, utilisĂ©s, un peu partout et mĂȘme de plus en plus puisqu’ils sont maintenant rendus en Chine. ”

Frédéric Back

“Many people speak well, write well, sing well, I am lucky to have been able to draw and express my concerns other than in words. The films I made continue, even now, to my surprise, to be very popular, used, everywhere and even more and more since they are now made in China. “

Frédéric Back

Richard Gilbert (1964)

On Canada’s Pacific coast this film finds a young Haida artist, Robert Davidson, shaping miniature totems from argillite, a jet-like stone. The film follows the artist to the island where he finds the stone, and then shows how he carves it in the manner of his grandfather, who taught him the craft.

Haida are an Indigenous group who have traditionally occupied Haida Gwaii, an archipelago just off the coast of British Columbia, Canada for at least 12,500 years. The Haida are known for their craftsmanship, trading skills, and seamanship. They are thought to have been warlike and to practice slavery. Anthropologist Diamond Jenness has compared the Haida to Vikings while Haida have replied saying that Vikings are like Haida.

Brad Caslor (1985)

Get a Job is a 1985 comedic musical animated short by Brad Caslor, featuring a rendition of the song of the same name, made famous by The Silhouettes. Produced by the National Film Board of Canada, the project took Caslor seven years to complete, from conception to release. Caslor began the film as a social guidance film for the Canadian government, however, during production it evolved into a more comedic work, incorporating a wide range of classic animation characters and techniques, including the styles of Tex Avery and Bob Clampett. Al Simmons and Jay Brazeau performed the music in the film, which received the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television Award for Best Animated Short.
Fellow Winnipeg animator Cordell Barker did animation work on the film.

Bretislav Pojar (1972)

Bretislav Pojar’s animated short explores the human phenomenon of resorting to violence over reason. The cubes live happily amongst themselves until one of them encounters a ball. War erupts and they fight until they all become the same again – this time in the form of hexagons. All is right in the world until one of them stumbles upon a triangle
 Winner of the 1973 Grand Prix du Festival for Short Film at the International Film Festival in Cannes.

The National Film Board of Canada produces and distributes documentary films, animation, web documentaries and fiction. Their stories explore the world we live in from a Canadian point of view. Watch more free films on NFB.ca → http://bit.ly/YThpNFB

Les Drew (1996)

As someone who has struggled with shyness, awkwardness, and social anxiety throughout my life, I thought this was a fun and interesting look into the world of a shy person and how to overcome the anxiety associated with it.

This animated short is a parody of the Frankenstein story. Dr. Frankenstein creates a monster only to find out that his creation is too shy to go out and frighten anyone. The good doctor and his malevolent assistant Trevor try to find ways of helping their creation overcome his condition. A film for anyone who’s ever been shy.

Nelvana (1983)

Documentary on the making of the cult classic Nelvana animated film, Rock & Rule. Featuring interviews with Lou Reed, Debbie Harry, Chris Stein, Iggy Pop, Maurice White, and Director Clive Smith.

Progressive and daring for its time, Nelvana’s Rock & Rule was the first English-speaking animated feature film ever made entirely in Canada. It features adult themes, and a stellar rock ‘n’ roll soundtrack including Lou Reed, Debbie Harry, Iggy Pop, Cheap Trick, and Earth Wind & Fire. Unfortunately, the production faced an enormous amount of hurdles and due in part to a lack of marketing and distribution, it was a box-office flop. Now, over 30 years later, Rock & Rule enjoys a cult status on par with Heavy Metal.