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National Film Board Cultivates New Animators

The National Film Boards Animation Studio is reaching out to emerging animators across Canada with its new "Animation Hothouse" program. Six young filmmakers have been selected to participate in the intensive program, directing an animated work ranging from ten seconds to thirty seconds. The selected students will spend 12 weeks with the NFBs community of filmmakers in Montreal, where theyll be provided with tools, resources, support and mentoring. The mentoring director for the program will be acclaimed animator Chris Hinton, an Oscar-nominee for his 1991 film BLACKFLY. Hinton is nominated for a Genie this year for his award-winning NFB short, FLUX. The Hothouse producer is Michael Fukushima, whose recent productions include the Golden Sheaf Award-winner FROM FAR AWAY, part of the NFBs "Talespinners" animation collection. Nurturing emerging filmmakers is a key part of the NFBs new strategic plan and the Animation Hothouse program is the latest in a series of National Film Board initiatives for young directors. This fall, the NFBs Ontario Production Centre became a partner in the OMDCs Al Waxman Calling Card program, contributing $20,000 to support the work of an emerging filmmaker. This year will also see the 30th anniversaries of FAP (Filmmaker Assistance Program) and ACIC (Aide au cinéma indépendant Canada), longstanding NFB programs for developing independent filmmakers. The Animation Hothouse filmmakers were hand-picked by the NFB from animation programs around Canada. They are: Heather Harkins, Halifax; Anouk Préfontaine, Montreal; Jo Meuris, Montreal; Jacob Bauming, Toronto; Malcolm Sutherland, Calgary; and Cindy Mochizuki, Vancouver. The short films created by the students will be released the last week of March 2003.