Monday October 12, 2015

McLaren in 4D - Artist, Activist, Dreamer and Friend

At the close of filmmaker Norman McLaren's centenary, Crystal Chan tells us the story of the movie magician about whose films Picasso once said: 'At last! Something new in the world of drawing!' Winner of hundreds of awards, including an Oscar, McLaren founded the National Film Board's animation studio. At the time, his inventions seemed quirky. Now, they seem prescient. McLaren's short films are little riddles for the eye: political, personal, and above all else – playful. **This episode originally aired May 13, 2015.

Norman McLaren

Norman McLaren, 1949. (Copyright of National Film Board of Canada)

"Every film he made was another leap and bound forward with ideas, methodology, techniques that he just happened to be absorbed in at the time. As I often say, if he got to live to 100 he'd be far ahead of Steve Jobs in terms of using the iPad and the iPhone and the next iWatch and all the rest of it. Because he just took technology and thought: well, it's been designed to do this – but I'm going to do something else with it."

– Iain Gardner


Participants in the program:

Co Hoedeman, Grant Munro, Ishu Patel, Kaj Pindal, Gerald Potterton, Peter Raymont, Normand Roger - Former National Film Board filmmakers

Luigi Allemano, Composer, Film animator, Head of Film Animation Undergraduate Program, Concordia University

Tricia Anderson, Dancer, Choreographer, Film Animator

Terence Dobson, Author, Lecturer in Theatre and Film Studies, University of Canterbury

Gary Evans, Adjunct Professor of Communication, University of Ottawa

Iain Gardner, Film animator, Programmer for the Edinburgh International Film Festival, Artistic Director of McLaren 2014

Kid Koala, Musician, Author

Donald McWilliams, Filmmaker, National Film Board

Vincent Warren, Dancer

The documentary also features archival tape of Norman McLaren and his colleagues.

Related websites:

McLaren Centenary website with videos, info, and link to McLaren iPad app

Frame X Frame, an exhibit on Norman McLaren's animation studio is at the Quebec Museum of Civilization until August 23, 2015

Reading & Watching List:

Watch a selection of Norman McLaren's films on this National Film Board website

Find most of his films and tests on Norman McLaren: The Master's Edition, National Film Board, DVD boxset (2006)

Creative Process: Norman McLaren, Donald McWilliams, National Film Board documentary, (1990)

The Film Work of Norman McLaren, Terence Dobson, John Libbey Publishing, (2006)