Press Release from NFB
Montreal, April 8, 2010 – The Forum des images, in Paris, in partnership with the National Film Board of Canada (NFB), will celebrate the work and artistic contribution of animation filmmaker Jacques Drouin on April 13 and 14. Not only will there be screenings of his films and a documentary about him, Drouin will present films that have influenced him and will give an exceptional master class on the pinscreen technique, of which he is the world’s foremost practitioner. The event has been organized to coincide with the French launch of the DVD box set Jacques Drouin: Complete Pinscreen Works, in the NFB’s prestigious Mémoire collection.
Jacques Drouin’s unique and poetic body of work is inextricably linked to a legendary animation device, the Alexeïeff-Parker pinscreen. Animators and the general public alike will have a unique opportunity to attend a demonstration of this uncommon technique by Jacques Drouin in the French capital on April 14. The number of pinscreens in the world can be counted on one hand, and two of them will be brought out for the occasion: the last pinscreen built by Alexeïeff and Parker in 1976, preserved by the Cinedoc & Paris Films Coop, and a small toothpick screen, preserved by the Archives francaises du film in Paris.
Since Alexeieff’s death in 1982, the only pinscreen in use anywhere in the world is the one acquired by the NFB in 1973. It consists of 250,000 pins, each inserted in its own hole through a vinyl screen held in a rigid frame. “Jacques Drouin is a major figure in NFB history,” said Julie Roy, producer of the box set. “For three decades, he was the only filmmaker in the world who was working with the pinscreen, the incredible „dream machine? invented around 1930 by the Russian-born French filmmaker Alexander Alexeïeff. The NFB is proud to be associated with this one-of-a-kind master class, because we feel it is our duty to ensure the future of the technique by teaching it to interested artists in other countries.
Drouin’s high-quality oeuvre, constant experimentation and eminently personal vision proved that the pinscreen could express the imaginative ideas of animators other than its inventor. It was with this ingenious device that Jacques Drouin made all of his films, from Three Exercises on Alexeieff’s Pinscreen, in 1974, to Imprints, in 2004. Today, animator Michèle Lemieux (Stormy Night) is using it to make her animated short Le grand ailleurs et le petit ici, produced by Julie Roy and slated for release in 2011.
Jacques Drouin – Complete Pinscreen Works
This box set in the prestigious Mémoire collection brings together the six animated shorts Drouin made at the NFB, including his now classic Mindscape (1976), all digitally restored for this collection created to preserve significant film works. Bonus features include four student films, two trailers and several animated sequences with the director’s commentary, as well as Jacques Drouin in Relief. Made specially for the box set, this documentary portrait offers new insights into the work of an outstanding artist. Complementing the films is a bilingual booklet containing essays by animation experts, Drouin’s notes and other invaluable archival documents. Les films du paradoxe is the distributor for French-speaking Europe.
The Jacques Drouin: Complete Pinscreen Works box set is an NFB production. It can be purchased by phoning 1-800-287-7710 or visiting <NFB.ca/boutique>.
About the NFB
Canada’s public film producer and distributor, the National Film Board of Canada creates social-issue documentaries, auteur animation, alternative drama and digital content that provide the world with a unique Canadian perspective. The NFB is expanding the vocabulary of 21st-century cinema and breaking new ground in form and content through community filmmaking projects, cross-platform media, programs for emerging filmmakers, stereoscopic animation – and more. It works in collaboration with creative filmmakers and co-producers in every region of Canada, with Aboriginal and culturally diverse communities, as well as partners around the world. Since the NFB’s founding in 1939, it has created over 13,000 productions and won over 5,000 awards, including 12 Oscars and more than 90 Genies. In 2009, Neighbours/Voisins by NFB animation founder Norman McLaren was added to UNESCO’s Memory of the World Register. The NFB’s new website features over 1,400 productions online, and its iPhone app has become one of the most popular and talked about downloads. Visit <NFB.ca> today and start watching.