Mar 12, 2024

Six NFB animated shorts at the AGO

Courtesy of the National Film Board of Canada, these shorts are screening this March Break

A still from the animated short film Hedgehog’s Home

Hedgehog’s Home. Image courtesy of the National Film Board of Canada. 

It’s March Break, and the AGO is buzzing with energy. As part of the Gallery’s family-focused programming for the week, animated shorts are screening daily in Walker Court from 11 am to 1 pm until March 17.  

Some memorable films from the boundless world of Canadian animation come to the Gallery courtesy of the National Film Board of Canada. Here are six must-sees of the 15 animated shorts screening at the AGO.  


What on Earth! (1966)  

Directed and animated by Les Drew and Kaj Pindal. 

What on Earth!, Les Drew and Kaj Pindal, provided by the National Film Board of Canada

What would it mean if cars ruled supreme? This mockumentary-style animated short imagines a world where the automobile has inherited the planet. And what of humans? Well, they’re merely parasites. What on Earth! was nominated for an Academy Award in 1968.  


The Cat Came Back (1988) 

Directed, scripted and animated by Cordell Barker.  

The Cat Came Back, Cordell Barker, provided by the National Film Board of Canada

A pesky yellow cat just can’t seem to take the hint. Watch as poor Old Mr. Johnson’s attempts to get rid of an unwanted visitor become more and more manic. This hilarious animated short is based on the century-old folk song of the same name. 


The Dingles (1988)  

Adapted, directed and animated by Les Drew  

The Dingles, Les Drew, provided by the National Film Board of Canada

Doris Dingle and her family of three cats live a simple life together until a violent wind makes an entrance. This animated short is based on the children’s book The Dingles, written by Helen Levchuk and illustrated by John Bianchi.  


The Girl Who Hated Books (2006) 

Directed and animated by Jo Meuris 

The Girl Who Hated Books, Jo Meuris, provided by the National Film Board of Canada

Meena is a young girl who hates books even though her parents love to read. Books are everywhere in Meena's house, in cupboards, drawers and even piled up on the stairs. But an adventure unfolds when her cat Max accidentally knocks down a huge stack of them.   

The Girl Who Hated Books is part of the Talespinners collection, which uses vibrant animation to bring popular children's stories from a wide range of cultural communities to the screen. 


Maq and the Spirit of the Woods (2006) 

Directed and animated by Phyllis Grant 

Maq and the Spirit of the Woods, Phyllis Grant, provided by the National Film Board of Canada

Maq is a Mi'kmaq boy who realizes his potential with the help of inconspicuous mentors. When an elder in the community offers him a small piece of pipestone, Maq carves a little person out of it. Proud of his work, the boy wants to impress his grandfather and journeys through the woods to find him. Along the path, Maq meets a curious traveller named Mi'gmwesu. Together, they share stories, medicine, laughter, and song. Maq begins to care less about making a good impression and more about sharing the knowledge and spirit he's found through his creation. 

Maq and the Spirit of the Woods is also part of the Talespinners collection.   


Hedgehog's Home (2017) 

Directed by Eva Cvijanovic. Animated by Ivana Bosnjak, Eva Cvijanovic and Thomas Johnson.  

Hedgehog's Home, Eva Cvijanovic, provided by the National Film Board of Canada

A hedgehog, fox, bear, wolf and even a boar take on starring roles in this stop-motion animated film. Made with needle-felted wool, Hedgehog’s Home tells the classic tale by Branko Ćopić, a writer from the former Yugoslavia. Since its release in 2017, it has won over 35 international awards.  

Charlotte Big Canoe, Program Curator, Family & Studio Learning and Bojana Stancic, Program Curator, Live & Performance curated the selection of animated shorts screening at the AGO. 

The AGO has much in store for families this March Break. For more information visit the AGO website.  

For more Canadian film content, visit the National Film Board of Canada’s website 

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