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Chris Landreth's The Spine to Debut at Annecy

Press Release from The National Film Board of Canada

Toronto, May 26, 2009 -- The National Film Board of Canada is proud to present the world premiere of Chris Landreth's THE SPINE, a bold new film whose dazzling artistic style pushes the limits of animation. Landreth's latest is the eagerly awaited follow-up film to RYAN, his 2004 Oscar winner for best animated short. From the same creative team that produced RYAN, THE SPINE is entirely computer animated and features the voices of Gordon Pinsent and Alberta Watson. THE SPINE uses bizarre but strangely believable imagery to tell the story of an ordinary married couple whose lives are in turn tragic, absurd and beautiful. It premieres at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival (June 8-13) in Annecy, France and will have its North American premiere at the World Wide Short Film Festival (June 16-21) in Toronto, Canada.

For THE SPINE, Landreth joins forces again with producers Steve Hoban (Copperheart Animation), Mark Smith (Copperheart Animation) and Marcy Page (National Film Board of Canada), who had collaborated with him to make RYAN. THE SPINE is a poignant story of redemption that takes us into the relationship between a man and a woman trapped in a spiral of mutual destruction. Dan and Mary Rutherford, married 26 years, sit unhappily in a couples' group counselling session. Angela, another troubled participant in this group, wonders why their marriage has become so lopsided, so twisted. But when Mary leaves Dan, he undergoes a beautiful transformation. What will happen when she returns? Director and scriptwriter Landreth has created an insightful and daring look at the ways individuals evolve, adapt and break.

Viewers can go to www.NFB.ca/thespine for Landreth's blog. Also on the site are clips from the making of the new film as well as Landreth's previous short film, RYAN.

During the World Wide Short Film Festival, Landreth will take part in the session "Inside a Composer's Mind" on June 17 from 3 to 4:40 pm, providing a unique glimpse into a film composer's world: the tools of the trade, the time and resources needed, and making do with music budgets.

THE SPINE was produced by the National Film Board of Canada in association with Copperheart Animation and C.O.R.E. Digital Pictures, with the creative participation of Autodesk Canada CO. and Seneca College School of Communication Arts.

Annecy International Animated Film Festival is wholly dedicated to animation and is the biggest and most recognized event of its kind in the world, often being referred to as the Cannes of animation.

The CFC Worldwide Short Film Festival is the leading venue for the exhibition and promotion of short film in North America and is one of the premier short film festivals in the world.

About the filmmakerChris Landreth was born in the United States and earned his MS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Illinois in 1986. He gained international recognition with his first short films, THE END (released in 1995 and nominated for an Oscar) and BINGO (Best Animated short at the 1998 Genie Awards). His reputation only grew with the release of his next film, RYAN (2004), which won more than 50 awards, including an Oscar. With THE SPINE (2009), Landreth continues his explorations in the use of unique imagery to represent human psychological turmoil. He is currently working with producer Steve Hoban on his first animated feature film, LOVECRAFT.

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