It was so powerful to see our stories on screen for the first time. I\u2019ve great respect for the work that they put into the world and normalized it for us.\n>> \u2014 Terril Calder, influential M\u00e9tis artist and stop motion animator based in Toronto.\n\n\n\u201c_Wapos Bay_ certainly did have a large influence on our early work and our company's evolution,\u201d says Neil Christopher, one of the co-founders of the Inuit owned, Nunavut-based studio, [Taqqut Productions](https:\/\/\/). \u201cWe started developing a stop motion series called _Beyond the Inuksuk_ that never got picked up. This was our first big project and it was definitely inspired by _Wapos Bay_.\u201d\n\nIn 2009, again in collaboration with APTN, the NFB produced the series, _Vistas_, a collection of 13 films created by Indigenous artists\u2014including Diane Obomsawin, of Abenaki descent, who has since become a well-known and award-winning animator on the animation festival circuit\u2014from across Canada.\n\nIn 2019, the NFB\u2019s unique apprenticeship program, [Hothouse](https:\/\/\/playlist\/hothouse\/)\u2014that gives emerging animators a chance to make a short film in 12 weeks\u2014offered Indigenous creators from across the country an opportunity to create their own films. Chris Grant, a young Mi\u2019kmaq artist from the Pabineau First Nation whose mother, Phyllis, made two NFB animated shorts (_Maq and the Spirit of the Woods_, 2006; _Wasteg_, 2008) [was one of those participants](https:\/\/\/film\/xo-rad-magical\/). \n\n\u201cIt was an experience of growth for me,\u201d says Grant. \u201cI was going through personal issues because I never lived in a cool city, had money and fun work. It was extremely important for me as an artist because it boosted my credentials I guess for more work. It made me realize I am an animator and filmmaker at heart, and always have been. It was a beautiful fractal of growth for me.\u201d\n\n![Top: Amanda Strong, Glenn Gear. Bottom: Christopher Auchter, Terril Calder.](assets\/National\/blog\/indigenous-animation\/20200406-153321_M3WJ2j.jpeg){.overflow}\n\nSince about 2009 or 2010, Indigenous animation in Canada has also emerged outside the doors of the NFB, led by artists such as Terril Calder, Glenn Gear, Amanda Strong, Christopher Auchter and Taqqut Productions.\n\nTaqqut Productions was founded in 2011 by Louise Flaherty and Neil Christopher. Their animation work, sometimes co-produced with the Montreal animation studio, [e\u2192d films](https:\/\/\/), includes a mix of TV (_Ananna\u2019s Tent_) and short films (e.g. [_Amaqqut Nunaat: The Country of Wolves_](https:\/\/\/129589325), 2011; _Little Folk of the Arctic_, 2015; _Giant Bear_, 2018, _What\u2019s My Superpower_, 2019) made primarily for younger audiences. \n\n\u201cThe aim,\u201d says Flaherty, \u201cwas to tell our stories using the language of the population of Nunavut. Taqqut\u2019s part is to foremost tell stories coming from Inuit with authentic Inuit content, using the Inuit language. Inuktitut is being lost at 1% a year, and if we have animated films targeting children to retain the language, there must be more made.\u201d\n\nIn recent years, the studio has branched out beyond traditional Inuit stories. \u201cOur younger authors,\u201d adds Flaherty, \u201care now leading Taqqut with their vision to create film catering to all audiences. We have created other animations not just from oral stories, but also stories from our books. Not just with animation, but also with puppets.\u201d\n\n![Still from \"Snip\", 2016.](assets\/National\/blog\/indigenous-animation\/snip-by-terril-calder_ge0NM3.jpeg){.overflow}\n\nIn the realm of independent animation, Terril Calder has been an influential force since making her first stop motion films. Most of the work mentioned above has dealt with assorted myths\/folk tales. Calder\u2019s work is raw, unstable and haunting, tackling a number of personal and difficult issues like identity ([_Choke_](https:\/\/\/watch?v=C0LE61KLdmg), 2010, co-created with Michelle Latimer; _Canned Meat_, 2009; _Vessel_, 2013), memory, isolation, and the unspeakable horrors of residential schools (_Snip_, 2016; _Keewaydah_, 2017).\n\nA Drawing major graduate of the Fine Arts program at the University of Manitoba, Calder came to animation through Winnipeg\u2019s [Video Pool Media Arts Centre](http:\/\/\/). \u201cAnimation,\u201d says Calder, \u201cheld and holds so many possibilities to tell my stories and bring a different perspective to screen to make change. It really is the sum of all of my parts. Activism, Storytelling, Art, Painting, Sewing, Photography, Compositing\u2026it completely challenges me in every way.\u201d\n\nAfter completing his MFA in sculpture\/installation at Concordia, the Newfoundland born, Glenn Gear worked at a software development company in Montreal. \u201cI became increasingly curious and inspired by traditional animation techniques. I fell in love with cardboard cutout and silhouette animation, but also looked at many other stop-motion animation processes with physical puppets. I began reading, researching, talking with other animators, and most importantly experimenting with as many techniques as I could with a small camera and basic setup. Although I didn\u2019t have a formal education in animation, my background in photography and sculpture greatly helped me. The ability to create a whole world, brought to life frame-by-frame, was addictive and pure magic. I was hooked.\u201d\n\nDrawing on his Inuit and Newfoundland ancestry, Gear\u2019s films touch upon personal and collective histories (e.g. _Resettlement_, _Kablun\u00e2t_, [_Ikuma Siku_](https:\/\/\/68052651)), mixed with more poetic and playful stories (_Rosewood Casket_, _Ginkgo_, _Cry of the Loup-garou_) all with nature often in a central role. \n\n![Still from \"Kablun\u00e2t\", 2016.](assets\/National\/blog\/indigenous-animation\/kablunat-2_c8Gow0.jpeg){.overflow}\n\nChristopher Auchter grew up on the islands of Haida Gwaii, an archipelago off the Northern Pacific coast of Canada. He studied media at Vancouver\u2019s Emily Carr University of Art and Design and later graduated from Sheridan College\u2019s computer animation program. Auchter has worked in book illustration, animated for various TV series and video games, and has directed live action (_Now is the Time_, 2020) and animation shorts (notably the beautiful and award winning [_The Mountain of SGaana_](https:\/\/\/film\/mountain_of_sgaana\/), 2017, which told an old Haida fable).\n\nMichif artist Amanda Strong, whose animated shorts include the imaginative, haunting explorations of personal and collective ancestry, [_Four Faces of the Moon_](https:\/\/\/watch?v=rWe--sysNkk), 2016 and _Biidaaban_, 2017) came to stop motion animation through Photo and Illustration studies at Sheridan College. \u201cIt gave me a basis to explore moving-image while using these tools to create worlds and make stories move. Stop motion really is a series of photos that sequenced together create a magical experience of movement that can\u2019t be replicated by software. It is beautiful to see that first shot move after years of making all the pieces and it sure is beautiful when the sonic and visual pieces unite. It\u2019s a powerful tool to tell stories.\u201d\n\n![Still from \"The Mountain of SGaana\", 2017.](assets\/National\/blog\/indigenous-animation\/the-mountain-of-sgaana-001_BYca3y.jpeg){.overflow}\n\nThere are a variety of reasons for this recent rise in Indigenous-created animation films, some of which overlap with the general rise in animation production. Advancements in technology have made animation a more accessible and affordable process for many. There was a time when animators were taking anywhere from 2 to 5 to 10 years to complete a short film. Today, there are a number of animators making films annually (sometimes more than one). \n\n\u201cThe tools and processes to create animation are more accessible and cost less,\u201d agrees Glenn Gear. \u201cThere have been great strides made in the past 10 years in terms of software, especially on alternative platforms such as smartphones. Apps like Stop Motion Studio, Animation Desk, and RoughAnimator are low cost and offer a streamlined workflow for animation. You don't necessarily need a large studio with specialized equipment.\u201d\n\nSince the late 1990s, there has been a tsunami of animation programs and departments opening up across the world. To give the reader some context: I have been the Artistic Director of the [Ottawa International Animation Festival](http:\/\/\/) (OIAF) since the early 1990s. When I first started with the OIAF in 1991, there were 750 films submitted to the then biannual festival. Today, the OIAF receives in the range of 2,400 films (including features, VR, TV, student etc.) annually. \n\n![Still from \"Four Faces of the Moon\", 2016.](assets\/National\/blog\/indigenous-animation\/fourfaceofmoon_PjS2Mo.jpeg){.overflow}\n\nThe Simpsons (inspired by MTV and Sesame Street indirectly) showed producers and advertisers that animation could be profitable. This triggered an explosion in all avenues of animation and created a demand for talent. With the technological tools becoming more affordable, many educational institutions jumped on board to capitalize on the explosion\u2014and to train and educate a new generation of animators.\n\nIndigenous artists and youth have also benefited\u2014alongside increasing public awareness of the unjust and sometimes horrific manner that Indigenous people have been treated in Canada\u2014from these advancements. \u201cThere is more investment into teaching Indigenous youth and providing them with the digital tools alongside traditional knowledge and ways of working,\u201d says Gear. \n\n> As more and more Indigenous folks migrate towards city centers, there are more informal and formal networks of knowledge, resource, and skill sharing. There is still much to be done in this regard, but the institutions such as universities, colleges and government institutions are slowly changing to hopefully be more accountable and transparent to Indigenous folks.\n\n\"We now have access to new tools and platforms,\u201d adds Strong, whose Vancouver-based studio, [Spotted Fawn Productions](https:\/\/\/), creates space for Indigenous artists in animation. It excites me to see more and more Indigenous people of all ages engaging with tools and technology to animate their stories. It\u2019s important that we lift each other up, celebrate our successes and always encourage other Indigenous storytellers to create.\"\n\n\"Our voices, cultures, and diverse stories are finally being heard by a larger public,\u201d adds Gear. \u201cWhen I asked filmmaker Alanis Obomsawin about the changes she has seen in the reception of Indigenous work in the past 10 years, she said, \u2018People are finally listening.\u2019\"\n\n\n\n**This article is part of a special blog series\u2014running March-September\u2014featuring writers and creatives from across Canada with stories that both highlight and celebrate Culture Days\u2019 2020 theme of _Unexpected Intersections_. Explore more intersections below:**\n\n- Theatre x Sport: [_Until the Lights Go Out_ by Taylor Basso](\/\/\/en\/blog\/until-the-lights-go-out)\n- Academia x Creativity: [_Building 21: Make zines, not research papers_ by Greta Rainbow](\/\/\/en\/blog\/building-21)\n- Poetry x (Natural) Environment: [_Listen to the River: An Ode to the Columbia River_ by Saba Dar](\/\/\/en\/blog\/listen-to-the-river)\n- Teahouse x Activism: [_Chinatown\u2019s Living Room: The gathering place for a budding activist community_ by Anto Chan]( \/\/\/en\/blog\/tea-base)\n- Traditional Craftsmanship x Youth Outreach: [_At the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, They Build More Than Boats_ by Aleen Leigh Stanton](\/\/\/en\/blog\/building-boats-changing-lives)\n- Visual Arts x Science: [_What happens when you mix an artist, a scientist and a very bright light?_ by Vivian Orr](\/\/\/en\/blog\/artist-scientist-light)\n- Book Clubs x Digital Landscapes: [_Strangers and Fiction_ by Anne Logan](\/\/\/en\/blog\/strangers-and-fiction)","content_fr":null,"should_publish_at":null,"published_at":"2020-04-14 10:41:05","first_published_at":"2020-04-06 15:01:12","deleted_at":null,"created_at":"2020-04-06 13:07:52","updated_at":"2020-09-29 15:25:00","thumbnail_file_id":null,"featured_at":null,"is_featured":false,"is_published":true,"should_publish":false,"status":"published"}" style="scroll-snap-align: start;">


文化日Chris Robinson