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WEB PREMIERE: “Wild Life” by Amanda Forbis & Wendy Tilby

One of the true highlights of the festival circuit this past year was Wild Life by Amanda Forbis and Wendy Tilby, who were nominated for an Academy Award in 1999 for their short When the Day Breaks. We are pleased to present–courtesy of our sponsor The National Film Board of Canada–the exclusive on-line debut of this Annie-nominated short.

Told in a robust, rustic style that captures the spirit of the new frontier, Wild Life won the 2011 Canadian Film Institute (CFI) Award for Best Canadian Animation at the recent Ottawa International Animation Festival. Set in 1909, the film is from the POV of a dapper young man sent from England to Alberta to attempt ranching. It soon becomes clear that nothing in his refined upbringing prepared him for the harsh conditions of the New World. Wild Life is also part of the new NFB dvd compilation Animation Express 2.

Credits after the jump.

Amanda Forbis
Wendy Tilby

Adam Blackwood
Luba Goy
Anthony Bekenn
Keith Dinicol
Colin Fox
Nonnie Griffin
Ben Carlson
Amy Rutherford

Judith Gruber-Stitzer

Russell deCarle

Patrick Butler

Andy Malcolm

Geoffrey Mitchell
Mathieu Leroux
Don Murnaghan

Jean-Paul Vialard

Marcy Page
Bonnie Thompson

David Verrall
David Christensen

  • Jay Sabicer

    An excellent piece of painterly animation. Wendy Tilby has yet to disappoint me.

    Monty Python fans will recognize the final photo after the credits.

    Very sad account of romanticized visions of a new country leading to such utter failure.

  • This was my favorite from Ottawa. Everything about it is A+

  • There must be something in the water in Canada. Their films are rarely less than brilliant. This is another excellent film by Wendy Tilby and Amanda Forbis. Quite beautiful and haunting.

  • Loved it. I hope the film also garners an Oscar nomination (you mentioned “Annie nominated”).

    Making of film here:


  • Genius! A great story beautifully told and masterfully directed. And soo Canadian. Congratulations Wendy and Amanda. Stephen Harper are you watching?

  • Catharine Findlay

    Love Wild Life and hope it wins an Academy Award!

  • When I read the title and saw “Canada”, I thought this was going to be about the cancelled Disney film from years ago.

  • Giannalberto Bendazzi

    Since 1999 I was waiting for a new masterpiece from Wendy and Amanda. Now I’m happy I was patient. These two great ladies of animation never disappoint us.

  • pizzaforeveryone

    holy cow that’s a beautiful short there.

  • Robin Cox

    Quite simply lovely. Amanda Forbis and Wendy Tilby blend beautiful painterly animation, evocative haunting tunes, and a wry sense of humour in this sweet and lovingly rendered telling of a truly Canadian story. You make a great team and I am so glad that the NFB continues to help you produce some of the best animation in the world.

  • beamish13

    I loved the first ANIMATION EXPRESS blu-ray so naturally I’m ecstatic that there’s a second volume!

  • Toonio

    I had the honor of meeting Wendy and Amanda and all about them is class and excellence as you see in their films.

    In a world plagued of overblown egos and false talents is great to see these couple of true artists and their legacy.

    So Oscar or no Oscar they will continue to shine for the rest of of us to be dazzled by their light.

  • Beautiful. Everyone involved in making this should be very proud.

  • Poco

    Excellent film made by two excellent artists..Very proud to call them my neighbors..

  • Virginia Chambers

    I loved watching WILD LIFE. The animation is magnificent——-simply amazing.

  • Virginia Bowden

    Just loved it, Wendy and Amanda. Rather odd that after all these years I would decide to Google your name on the very day of this web premiere. Must have heard the call of the “wild”.

  • That was amazing. Seriously. Stuff of this quality is so rare… Well it’s now at the top of my 2011 list.

    That being said, are we going to see a “best of the year” post on Cartoon Brew ?

  • Mark Ferguson

    Very very nice. Beautiful, whimsical and poignant work. Good luck with future projects.

  • Rebecca O’Brien

    I saw Wild Life on a recent Air Canada Flight (good for AC for having NFB films available). My daughter and I watched it three times in a row. It’s a jewel, and it reminds me of the many ramshackle, abandoned barns I have seen on the windy prairies. I often think about the story behind what’s left of those structures, and Wild Life wraps itself around those thoughts.

  • Graphic Angel

    Absolutely stunning work! I’ve watched this a few times now and each time love it more THANK YOU!

  • Yukichi

    Very nice. Always admire their work.
    We need more hand made animation like this, which gives us warmth and inspiration.
    Thank you.

  • Love NFB stuff. Great film.

  • Luba Mifflin

    VERY Enjoyable! Directors Wendy and Amanda never cease to amaze.

  • Graeme Pitt


  • Rebecca Walsh

    I just had the pleasure of watching this beautiful film with my family. We were speechless by the end! The images are so simple but tremendously beautiful. Thanks Wendy and Amanda for sharing your rare talent!

  • Ignatz, Coconino County Menace

    Wow! Simply amazing. Another reason to buy the DVD. I hope the new NFB dvd compilation “Animation Express 2” is available to purchase on Amazon or at Amoeba Music store in L.A. I need this in my DVD collection of animated shorts & movies. Thanks for the heads-up.

  • Cate

    Are You really serious that this is a good film? It is just an ordinary animation film, common’, guys. If this film gets nominated, it will just show how conservative the Academy is. Yes, “When the Day Breaks” was good. But this one… Just an old fashioned cliche. Bad cinema. Bad music. Boring design. No feelings.

  • its beautiful!! Im just wondering what kind of technique they’ve used?

  • In my opinion it’s beautiful!…I’m wondering if this is digital or analogue…or maybe a bit of both…TVPaint maybe?

  • N. Mogensen

    It perfectly recaptures pioneer life, death and lonely stardom as I remember it in its original form.

  • isabelle crofton

    Wendy and Amanda, I love your film!!!
    and I love everything about it,
    j’aime le graphisme, la realisation, l’atmosphère,la musique, c’est merveilleux….Bravo

  • Of course we are extremely proud of Wendy and Amanda. The dedication to their work is tops. We loved the film . I truly represents the ” old west” for immigrants unfamiliar with the life then.