November 3, 2006

Nunavut’s getting animated

IBC, NFB, draw training money for cartoon makers


Within a year, Nunavut could produce four short animated features, said Okalik Eegeesiak, Inuit Broadcasting Corp. president, and Derek Mazur from the National Film Board. (PHOTO BY JANE GEORGE)

Three years after producers from the National Film Board first scouted Iqaluit, Cape Dorset and Pangnirtung for Nunavummiut who want to learn animation skills, a series of animation workshops are finally scheduled to start in January.

Last week, the NFB and the Inuit Broadcasting Corp. announced the launch of the Nunavut Animation Lab.

“It’s the start of a new film industry in Nunavut,” said Okalik Eegeesiak, president of IBC.

The NFB’s plan is to offer three intensive workshops in Iqaluit, Cape Dorset and Pangnirtung on the art of animation, the painstaking drawing or creation of action in sequence, which, when shown at rapid speeds, makes a cartoon or animated action.

When the workshops are finished, IBC will own the state-of-the-art digital equipment, which can be used to produce more cartoons.

The cost for the entire project is about $600,000.

Fifteen participants will be selected in each of the three communities. For two weeks, two instructors will teach them about storytelling using animation and filmmaking techniques.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity,” said Derek Mazur, executive producer for the NFB’s prairie region.

After the end of each workshop, participants will be invited to submit a proposal for an animated short film. Four candidates will be then chosen to make a short film and will spend a week in Winnipeg, participating in story workshops coordinated by the National Screen Institute to fully develop the proposals into film treatments.

Then, the chosen filmmakers will go to the Banff New Media Institute in Alberta to direct and animate their films, which will be available in French. Inuktitut and English.

While at Banff, the four will work with experts to develop and produce their stories and learn how to market them. The completed films will receive worldwide exposure though the NFB web site at and be broadcast on the APTN network.