News Release Article from  National Film Board

THREE NFB ANIMATED SHORTS TO SCREEN IN ANNECY FESTIVAL OFFICIAL COMPETITION Filmmakers Franck Dion and Theodore Ushev make highly anticipated return to Annecy

March 17, 2016 – Montreal – National Film Board of Canada (NFB)

The National Film Board of Canada (NFB) is taking part in the Annecy International Animation Film Festival with three short films in the official competition. This year’s NFB lineup includes the return to Annecy of renowned animators Franck Dion, with the world premiere of The Head Vanishes (Papy 3D/NFB/ARTE France), and Theodore Ushev, with Blind Vaysha (NFB), while Janice Nadeau will be making her solo directorial debut with Mamie (Folimage/NFB). All three films feature unusual female characters with unique destinies. The world’s largest event devoted to animation, the Annecy Festival, taking place June 13 to 18, 2016, hosts the industry’s leading creators and professionals. This year, 1,167 short films were submitted to Annecy, of which 54 were selected for the official competition.

Making its world premiere, The Head Vanishes is Franck Dion’s fourth animated short and the second to be co-produced by Papy 3D, the NFB and ARTE France. The first was Edmond Was a Donkey in 2012, which received 30 awards and honours, including the 2012 Annecy Special Jury Prize, the Best Canadian Short Award at the Toronto Worldwide Short Film Festival, and the Gémeaux for Best Animated Show or Series.

Theodore Ushev’s Blind Vaysha had its world premiere at the 2016 Berlin International Film Festival, in competition in the Generation – Short Film section. In 2015, Ushev created Blood Manifesto (NFB), a visceral, poetic work that asks viewers to contemplate whether ideals are worth spilling one’s blood for. The film garnered the Prix créativité, awarded to the most original short at the Festival du nouveau cinéma (FNC) in Montreal. That same year, Ushev also made The Sleepwalker, a surreal journey through shapes and colours produced by the filmmaker and Unité centrale. The film won several awards, including one at Zagreb, and was selected to screen at numerous other festivals. Ushev’s Lipsett Diaries (NFB) tied for Special Mention in the Short Films category at the 2010 Annecy Festival.

Mamie marks Janice Nadeau’s solo directorial debut. In 2014, she co-directed the NFB-produced No Fish Where to Go with Nicola Lemay. The film was widely shown at festivals and won several awards, including the FIPRESCI Award at Annecy. Mamie was selected in the 2013 MIFA (Marché international du film d’animation) call for animated short-film projects in conjunction with the Annecy Festival, and was co-produced by the French production company Folimage and the NFB.

Quick Facts

The Head Vanishes, directed by Franck Dion (9 min 30 s) – world premiere

  • Jacqueline isn’t quite in her right mind anymore, but she decides to take a train ride to the seashore all by herself—just like a big girl!
  • A Papy 3D (Franck Dion, Richard Van Den Boom), NFB (Julie Roy) and ARTE France (Hélène Vayssières) co-production.
  • Franck Dion was born in 1970. He trained as an actor and taught himself sculpture and drawing before becoming a game illustrator. In 2004, he directed L’inventaire fantôme, produced by Les Armateurs. Two years later, he and a collective of animators that included Sarah Van Den Boom founded Papy 3D, the company that co-produced his subsequent films. In 2008, he wrote and directed Monsieur Cok, selected for the Sundance Film Festival, and in 2012, he made Edmond Was a Donkey (Papy 3D/ONF/ARTE France), which received 30 international awards and honours.
  • Franck Dion is also an illustrator of children’s novels. He created the poster for the 2014 Annecy Festival and, with Chloé Delaume, co-created the app-enhanced novel Alienare in 2015.

Blind Vaysha, directed by Theodore Ushev (8 min 15 s)

  • Vaysha is not like other little girls. Her left eye sees only the past; her right, only the future. “Blind Vaysha,” they call her.
  • The film was produced at the NFB by Marc Bertrand and executive producer Julie Roy, with the participation of ARTE France. Narrated by Actress Caroline Dhavernas.
  • For his 13th film, the renowned filmmaker and animator adapted a philosophical short story by acclaimed young multidisciplinary Bulgarian author Georgi Gospodinov. With Blind Vaysha, Ushev reaffirms his virtuosity in visual experimentation using an expressive, powerful aesthetic poised between religious paintings and linocuts.
  • In 2006, Ushev began work on an acclaimed trilogy about the relationship between art and power with Tower Bawher, which was soon followed by Drux Flux (2008) and Gloria Victoria (2013). In parallel, he made several short films that focused on artists and filmmakers and their relationship to the world, including Lipsett Diaries (2010), winner of 16 awards.

Mamie, directed by Janice Nadeau (6 min 15 s)

  • Mamie lives as a recluse in Gaspésie, in a house that faces away from the sea. Her granddaughter often wonders: “Why isn’t Mamie interested in anything I do?”
  • The film was co-produced by Corinne Destombes for the French production company Folimage and Marc Bertrand for the NFB. Quebec actress Isabelle Blais narrates the film.
  • Mamie is Nadeau’s solo directorial debut and follows her first animated film, No Fish Where to Go, co-directed with Nicola Lemay and produced by the NFB. The short film was widely shown at festivals and won several awards, including the International Educational Program Contest Japan Prize in Tokyo and the FIPRESCI Award at the Annecy International Animation Film Festival.
  • Janice Nadeau studied graphic design at the Université du Québec à Montréal and illustration at the École supérieure des arts décoratifs de Strasbourg (France). She has illustrated a number of books and is a three-time recipient of the prestigious Governor General’s Award for Illustration, including for No Fish Where to Go, written by Marie-Francine Hébert.

Also in competition – film supported by the NFB’s ACIC program

Squame by Nicolas Brault (Foreign Bodies, 2014), an independent film supported by the NFB’s ACIC program (Aide au cinéma indépendant – Canada).

  • Squame explores the sensitive envelope that encases our bodies: our skin. The film’s ephemeral animated desquamations, created with the help of sugar casts, evoke fragile landscapes in a world at the edge of abstraction. Somewhere between archeological artifacts and macroscopic observations, the crumbling frontiers of these human bodies elude our gaze.

About the ACIC program:

  • The NFB French Program provides supplementary assistance for the production of French-language films from across Canada that are particularly innovative in form and content and that otherwise would not be produced.


Associated Links

Annecy International Animation Film Festival
Papy 3D
ARTE France
French Program

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The National Film Board of Canada (NFB) produces groundbreaking animation at its studios in Montreal and at NFB centres across Canada, as well as via international co-productions with many of the world’s leading auteur animators. The NFB is a leader in developing new approaches to stereoscopic 3D animation and animated content for new platforms. The NFB has created over 13,000 productions and won over 5,000 awards, including 14 Canadian Screen Awards, 11 Webbys, 12 Oscars and more than 90 Genies. To access acclaimed NFB content, visit or download its apps for smartphones, tablets and connected TV.

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