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Launch of Nunavut Animation Lab to enhance the sharing of stories by Inuit Artists

NFB and Inuit Broadcasting Corporation partner with The Banff Centre, APTN, NSI,
Nunavut Film and the Government of Nunavut to create new opportunities for Inuit animators

Toronto (October 25, 2006) - At today’s press conference in Iqaluit, The National Film Board of Canada and Inuit Broadcasting Corporation announced a partnership with The Banff Centre, Aboriginal Peoples Television Network, the National Screen Institute – Canada (NSI), Nunavut Film and the Government of Nunavut to launch the Nunavut Animation Lab (NAL). The three intensive animation workshops in Cape Dorset, Iqaluit and Pangnirtung are expected to develop new skills among Inuit emerging and established artists to help them tell their stories using state-of-the-art animation equipment.

“The Nunavut Animation Lab opens doors. The creation of workshops, the sharing of skills and cutting-edge techniques as well as the opportunity to create four animation films adds volume to the voice of Inuit filmmakers. There are Inuit stories that should be shared by the world and this program will give Inuit artists an opportunity to share them globally through various electronic media,” said Derek Mazur, Executive Producer, NFB Prairie Region. “The NFB has a wide range of special programs for emerging filmmakers and we’re delighted to partner with other industry experts to help champion the telling of Inuit stories through artistry and new animation techniques.”

The workshops will be held this winter and fifteen chosen participants in each of the three communities will work with two established facilitators/animators (to be announced at a later date), to learn about storytelling using animation and the filmmaking process.

Drawing on the expertise and the tremendous inroads in development established by the Inuit Broadcasting Corporation, regular training programs and production will continue, using the state-of-the-art animation equipment that will remain in Cape Dorset, Iqaluit and Pangnirtung following completion of the program. For close to 25 years, IBC has led the television industry in the North, developing and producing the world’s first Aboriginal-language children’s show, producing live television shows, allowing Inuit to discuss important issues and primarily promoting Inuit language and culture. “The IBC has been a leader in the North for decades and we’re pleased to work with the NFB and all of our partners to enhance the film industry in Nunavut,” said Okalik Eegeesiak, President, Inuit Broadcasting Corporation.

After each workshop wraps, participants will be invited to submit a proposal for an animated short film. Four candidates will be chosen to make a short film and will spend a week in Winnipeg, participating in story workshops co-ordinated by National Screen Institute – Canada (NSI) to fully develop the proposals into finished film treatments. Following the story workshops, they’ll travel to the Banff New Media Institute to direct and animate their films. The films will be available in Inuktitut, English and French. While at Banff, the emerging animators will work with skilled filmmakers and mentors to develop and produce their stories and then learn how to market them. Completed films will receive worldwide exposure through the NFB website at www.nfb.ca, in festivals, and on a national broadcaster – APTN.

"We will work with the chosen artists to help realize their vision, develop their craft, and expand their networks,” said Susan Kennard, Director and Executive Producer of the Banff New Media Institute (BNMI). “This is a unique opportunity to bring together media artists from the North to work with mentors in the south in the creation of visual stories that have no boundaries."

The Nunavut Animation Lab is a joint initiative between the Inuit Broadcasting Corporation and the National Film Board of Canada in association with The Banff Centre, the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN), the National Screen Institute (NSI), Nunavut Film and the Government of Nunavut.

Across the country, the NFB has created programs for emerging filmmakers that both seek to develop Canadian talent and cultivate cross-cultural stories. Some of these programs include: Cinéaste recherché(e), for emerging francophone animation filmmakers; First Stories, for emerging Aboriginal directors in Central Canada; Hothouse, a 12-week animation mentorship in Montreal; Inspired, a documentary training program in Atlantic Canada; the NFB-TVO Documentary Calling Card Program in Ontario; Open I, a west-coast mentoring program for young people with disabilities; and Reel Diversity, an opportunity for filmmakers of diverse origins to create a documentary.

The Inuit Broadcasting Corporation produces five Inuktitut language television series from its production centres in Igloolik, Iqaluit, Taloyoak, Rankin Inlet and Baker Lake.


Media Contacts:
Jennifer Humphries,
NFB Publicist, (416) 952.8960,

Debbie Brisebois,
Executive Director, Inuit Broadcasting Corporation, (867) 979.6231, (613) 795.3662, debbie@inuitbroadcasting.ca

Debra Hornsby,
Director of Communications, The Banff Centre, (403) 762.6333, debra_hornsby@banffcentre.ca


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