© National Film Board of Canada, 2000 All Rights Reserved.

When the Day Breaks

When the Day Breaks
© National Film Board of Canada, 2000 All Rights Reserved.

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 crumpled hat.

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).
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