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Santa Barbara Int’l Film Fest Sets U.S. Premiere for NFB Animated Feature ‘Window Horses’

Vancouver filmmaker Ann Marie Fleming’s ‘Window Horses: The Poetic Persian Epiphany of Rosie Ming’ premieres February 2 & 4 at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival.

A warm and whimsical animated feature film that transcends cultural and generational divides, Vancouver filmmaker Ann Marie Fleming’s Window Horses: The Poetic Persian Epiphany of Rosie Ming (Stickgirl Productions/National Film Board of Canada) is having its U.S. premiere February 2 and 4 at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival.

The first feature-length animation from the NFB -- a legendary producer of auteur animation -- in two decades, Window Horses is an award-winning film about love -- love of family, poetry, history and culture.

Rosie Ming, a young Canadian poet, is invited to perform at a poetry festival in Shiraz, Iran, but she’d rather go to Paris. She lives at home with her over-protective Chinese grandparents and has never been anywhere by herself. Once in Iran, she finds herself in the company of poets and Persians who tell her stories that force her to confront her past. Rosie finally learns more about the Iranian father she had assumed abandoned her, and discovers the nature of poetry itself.

Window Horses will be screening in Santa Barbara at the Lobero Theatre on February 2 starting at 2 p.m., followed by an 8 a.m. screening at the Metro 1 Cinema on February 4, with lead voice actor and executive producer Sandra Oh in attendance.

Window Horses features a diverse international cast of voice actors, including Golden Globe winner Sandra Oh as Rosie; Oscar nominee Ellen Page as Kelly, Rosie’s best friend; acclaimed Canadian actor/director Don McKellar (Last Night); Iranian-born Oscar-nominated actress Shohreh Aghdashloo (House of Sand and Fog); as well as pioneering Hong Kong-born actress Nancy Kwan (The World of Suzie Wong). More than a dozen animators, including Kevin Langdale, Janet Perlman, Bahram Javaheri and Jody Kramer, worked on the film with Fleming.

Window Horses is about building bridges between cultural and generational divides. It’s about being curious. Staying open. And finding your own voice through the magic of poetry. The film is filled with poetry and stories about identity and the imagination. While the narrative is presented in one particular style, the poems and histories are created by different artists, to both accentuate and blend the myriad differences in cultures, philosophies, and timeframes. 

Since its world premiere in competition at the Annecy International Animation Film Festival, Window Horses has garnered top prizes at festivals around the world: the Jury Prize at South Korea’s Bucheon International Animation Festival, the Award for Best Animated Film at Spain’s Gijón International Film Festival and the Audience Prize at Greece’s Animasyros International Animation Festival. In Canada, it’s received the Best B.C. Film and Best Canadian Film awards at the Vancouver International Film Festival and the Centennial Best Canadian Film or Video Award at the Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival.

Window Horses is co-produced by Stickgirl Productions (Ann Marie Fleming) and the NFB (Shirley Vercruysse and Michael Fukushima). Sandra Oh is executive producer. Window Horses is distributed internationally by the NFB.

Fleming is an award-winning Canadian independent filmmaker, writer, and artist. Born in Japan to Chinese and Australian parents, she creates work that addresses themes of family, identity, history, and memory. She adapted her 2003 NFB animated documentary, The Magical Life of Long Tack Sam, into an Eisner Award-winning graphic novel in 2007, and has followed with a number of acclaimed short films, including the NFB productions I Was a Child of Holocaust Survivors (2010) and Big Trees (2013), as well as the animated web series My Place (2009) for Discovery USA’s Planetgreen.com.

Source: National Film Board of Canada

Jennifer Wolfe's picture

Formerly Editor-in-Chief of Animation World Network, Jennifer Wolfe has worked in the Media & Entertainment industry as a writer and PR professional since 2003.

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