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Internet VideoShorts

NFB Launches ‘Naked Island,’ A Dark Series of Micro-Shorts by Top Animators

The National Film Board of Canada, known for its classy and artistic animated films, revealed a different side of itself today with the launch of Naked Island, a series of 14 micro-shorts that it describes as “public service alerts for a new era.”

The shorts, all of which can be seen on Vimeo, use animation and an ironic commercial format to make pithy comments on various aspects of contemporary society, from protesting to global warming to virtual reality.

Produced by NFB English Animation Studio producers Jelena Popović and Maral Mohammadian, the series includes work from leading NFB filmmakers like Chris Landreth and Theodore Ushev as well as emerging Canadian talents. Each filmmaker was given the freedom to address topics using their own style and voice, and the eclectic results brim with energy and vitality. The films are designed to provoke discussion, and some of them, like Protest, may offend more delicate viewers.

Here is the complete list of films and filmmakers:

  • Albertosaurus written, directed and animated by Munro Ferguson
  • All We Need Is War directed by Luka Sanader; animated by Frances McKenzie
  • Be Cool directed and animated by Chris Landreth
  • Blood written, directed and animated by Theodore Ushev
  • Detention directed by David Seitz and Elle Maija Tailfeathers; animated by David Seitz
  • Hipster Headdress directed and animated by Amanda Strong
  • The Law of Expansion and Simulated Life written and directed by Malcolm Sutherland
  • Protest written and directed by The Sanchez Brothers
  • Sext Ape directed by Laurence Vallières
  • Sober written, directed and animated by Élise Simard
  • Survival of the Fittest written, directed and animated by Eva Cvijanović
  • We Drink Too Much and We Eat Shit written, directed and animated by Chris Lavis and Maciek Szczerbowski (Clyde Henry Productions)

It’s exciting to see the NFB step outside of its comfort zone. There has always been a strong undercurrent of social issues addressed through satire in the government-run studio’s work, but now the NFB has combined it with an internet-friendly ultra-short format that allows its work to be discovered by a younger generation of viewers. I hope they continue down this path, and keep experimenting with animation in varying formats and lengths.

  • Jeffrey Thrash

    I don’t know if I should watch these for research or not. I legitimately struggle to calm myself down after reading gloomy climate change news, and I had to leave my classroom for “breaks” multiple times this morning because my classmates and professor decided to torture me by showing the riots after Trump’s inauguration (on MSNBC, no less), so I definitely count as a “delicate audience.” On the other hand, I really think I need to add more social commentary to my work (especially since I live in the U.S. and am apparently the only American who has never figured out how to avoid the most distressing news stories), and studying braver artists will probably help inspire me. At this point, educating my younger fans about the problems the world faces will probably have a bigger impact than donating to some militant environmentalist group and hoping they don’t divide the country even more.

    I hate how the world has collectively gone mad right when in my final year of college, when I can barely take care of myself…