Among the recently announced list of feature films that will compete for the Best Feature Cristal at Annecy 2016 will be Window Horses from director Ann Marie Fleming, the first (since Pierre Hébert’s La Plante Humaine in 1997) National Film Board of Canada (NFB) animated feature to screen at Annecy in nearly twenty years. The film tells the story of Canadian poet Rosie Ming participating in a poetry festival in Iran where her perspectives on her cultural identity and past are broadened by those she meets. In a manner seemingly not dissimilar to the structure of last year’s Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet (Dir. Roger Allers), Window Horses includes over a dozen contributing animators – including Janet Perlman and Kevin Langdale – to visualize story and poetry segments across a variety of styles.
For over 25 years, Ann Marie Fleming has been elaborating this unclassifiable work that represents fictional film, formal transdisciplinary explorations and animated shorts all at once. Window Horses has a unique approach that takes individual and collective multiculturalism into account and puts it in a context of artistic creation.
-Marcel Jean, Annecy Festival Artistic Director
It’s an incredible honour to have been selected to be in the competition at Annecy, in such talented company. I feel like it is a gift for the film and for the many incredible artists with whom I had the pleasure of working on Window Horses. This is a film that has been in gestation since the last time I was in Annecy, as an observer, in 1997. How does it feel? It feels really good. It feels like acceptance from the animation community. The NFB has been incredibly supportive of me and of Window Horses, and I couldn’t ask for a better partner in bringing this film out into the world.
-Ann Marie Fleming, Director (Window Horses)
The NFB Animation brand has been significantly enhanced with our co-production of Window Horses—not only in working with co-producer and filmmaker Ann Marie Fleming, but in the seamless collaboration between the NFB’s Animation Studio and BC & Yukon Studio. For the NFB’s first animated feature in 20 years, there could not be a more gratifying convergence of producers, creators, and talent to now premiere at the world’s pre-eminent animation festival.
-Shirley Vercruysse and Michael Fukushima, Producers (Window Horses)
With over 25 years of filmmaking experience, Ann Marie Fleming’s prior work includes the award-winning films New Shoes, Blue Skies, I Was a Child of Holocaust Survivors, and the animated feature documentary The Magical Life of Long Tack Sam, which she later adapted into a graphic novel that would garner two Eisner Award nominations and win Best Book at the Doug Wright Awards.
The inclusion of Window Horses further strengthens the NFB’s presence at this year’s edition, which also includes the festival’s official 2016 branding designed by NFB artist Michèle Lemieux (Michèle will also be present at the festival) as well as three short films in competition – The Head Vanishes (Papy 3D/NFB/ARTE France) by Franck Dion, Blind Vaysha (NFB) by Theodore Ushev, and Mamie (Folimage/NFB) by Janice Nadeau. Also playing at this year’s festival is Nicolas Brault’s Squame, an independent film supported by the NFB’s ACIC program (Aide au cinéma indépendant – Canada) is in competition at this year’s festival.
For more on this year’s edition of the Annecy Festival visit annecy.org