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September 12, 2002 Animation student, professor win festival awards



Neil Neville

From Brigitte Archambault’s Monsieur George, with Monsieur George.

by Sylvain Comeau

Seven months x 50 hours per week = eight minutes of film. This is an example of animation math. Concordia film student Brigitte Archambault spent that much blood, sweat and tears on her animated short Monsieur George et Monsieur George, and she says it was all worth it.

“Eight minutes is actually long if you consider that one second of screen time is 12 frames,” she said. “It took about 1,000 drawings,” painstakingly drawn by hand. “But I love to work one drawing at a time and watch movement appear. It’s like magic.”

As a bonus, in late August, her film won the prize for Best Animation Production at the 33rd Canadian Student Film & Video Festival, part of the Montreal World Film Festival. That was not really a surprise; Concordia student filmmakers usually scoop up the awards in that category. More unusual was the fact that Archambault was the only winner from Concordia, which has often trounced the rest of the student competition in years past.

“It’s very flattering [being the only winner]. I know that close to half of the all the films chosen for the festival were from Concordia, so I think that is an achievement. It’s something to be proud of, no matter what the jury chose.”

She does offer a few theories as to why the jury liked her film, which tells the story of identical twins who are inseparable — until a woman comes between them.

“My film was in 2-D, traditional animation, while most of the others were in 3-D, digital animation.” Archambault was also nominated last year in the same category, but lost out to another Concordia student. “I wanted to recapture the spirit of animation from the ’40s and ’50s, which was light and cute, but also with a lot of emotion. So I think the retro look of it might have appealed to them.

“Also, I focused heavily on the story, and maybe they found that refreshing. There are always a lot of very experimental, less story-oriented films at the festival.”

Archambault gives a lot of credit to Concordia’s animation program “which is very artistic, not just emphasizing technical skills,” and her professors, “who push us to pursue our artistic vision to the limit. That’s what distinguishes Concordia animation from the rest of the pack.”

When asked about her career aspirations, those film school values come through loud and clear.
“My dream is to continue to do animation, first of all for myself, for my own pleasure,” she said simply. “I also hope people will see my work. I want to continue telling stories through animation.”








Chris Hinton

Chris Hinton

Chris Hinton’s Flux wins acclaim

Another award-winner this summer was Christopher Hinton, one of Brigitte Archambault’s former teachers. Hinton’s animated short, Flux, has appeared at 15 film festivals and scooped up a number of awards, but Hinton is particularly proud of the recognition from festivals specializing in animation.

“What’s important for the life of the film is the fact that it has been shown in the four major animation festivals in the world: Annacy in France, Zagreb in Croatia, Hiroshima in Japan, and Ottawa. It’s very rare for a film to make all four festivals.”

Flux, which is the story of one generation of a family told through the perspective of a child, won two awards in Annacy, three in Zagreb, and a special jury prize in Hiroshima. That recognition, and Hinton’s reputation as a long-time NFB animator and former Oscar nominee (for the animated short Black Fly), has helped Hinton sell his film to distributors in Europe. It will be shown there on television, either as a stand-alone segment between shows, or packaged in a collection of animated shorts.

“There is not much of a market for short animation in North America; in Europe, I think audiences are more aware that animation has the potential to address adult concerns and interests.”

Hinton is currently on a one year leave of absence from his teaching duties to work on films. Flux was screened at the Montreal World Film Festival in the Short Films Category, and, this month, in the Toronto International Film Festival.