It's morning in the city and Ruby sings as she
blithely fixes her breakfast. All is right with the world until she goes to buy milk and
collides, head-on, with the aftermath of an accident: a stray lemon, a can of soup, a
And more. Ruby sees both the physical and the intangible facets of a lifetime strewn out
like the groceries scattered on the pavement. Thoughts and memories mingle with cells
and bones and broken biscuits. Amid the sobering chaos of this stranger's death, Ruby
is witness to all the pieces that composed his life.
Back in the safety of home, Ruby feels acutely alone. Drawn by the sounds of her electric
kettle, her thoughts turn to the walls and wires she shares with her neighbors. She
imagines the intertwining tangle of pipes and circuitry which connect her, ultimately, to
the stranger's empty house. Along with running water and electricity she senses, and is
reassured by a common current of human experience which courses through the city.
When the Day Breaksilluminates life's most ordinary aspects a toaster, a lemon, a trip
to the store and endows them with a visceral power. Co-directors Wendy Tilby and Amanda
Forbis use pencil and paint on photocopies to achieve a textured look suggestive of a
lithograph or a flickering newsreel. With deft humor and finely rendered detail, When the
Day Breaksevokes the promise and fragility of a new day, hinting that these moments are
what will some day form our memories; that the everyday is what defines us and connects us.
Direction, Animation and Lyrics,
Wendy Tilby and Amanda Forbis
Wendy Tilby's life, thus far,
is a series of small events too
numerous to list here. Highlights include her birth in 1960 in Edmonton,
Alberta; schooling at the University of Victoria and the Emily Carr Institute
of Art and Design; and completion of When the Day Breaks(1999) which she
co-directed with fellow Albertan Amanda Forbis. Previous work includes
Tables of Content(1986) and Strings(1991).
Amanda Forbis was born in 1963 and raised upon the banks of the Bow River in
Calgary, Alberta. She went to school (University of Lethbridge) and then she
went to school some more (Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design) and then she
went to work. She was Animation Director on the NFB production, The Reluctant
Deckhand(1995) before co-directing When the Day Breakswith fellow Emily Carr
graduate Wendy Tilby.
Running Time: 9 minutes 33 seconds
Production: National Film Board of Canada
Direction, Animation, Lyrics: Wendy Tilby,
Amanda Forbis; Music: Judith Gruber-Stitzer; Producer: David Verrall
Awards: Palme d'Or for Best Short Film 52nd International Film Festival - Cannes, 1999;
Grand Prix for Best Animated Short Film 23rd International Animated Film Festival -
Annecy 1999; Gold Hugo Award Animated Short Film Category 35th International Film
Festival - Chicago, 1999
Clips and images provided by the National Film Board of Canada (NFB).
Visit the official NFB Web Site.