October 5, 2020 – Montreal – National Film Board of Canada (NFB)

The hometown premiere of 4 North A, the first collaboration between St. John’s director Jordan Canning and Saskatoon-born filmmaker Howie Shia, headlines a rich selection of three short works, produced or co-produced by the National Film Board of Canada (NFB), at the 2020 St. John’s International Women’s Film Festival (October 14–18).

Also coming to St. John’s is Toronto-based director Robin McKenna’s first animated documentary, Thanadoula (Gaudete Films/NFB), featuring the art direction of Elise Simard, as well as The Great Malaise, by Quebec animator and illustrator Catherine Lepage.

Film synopses:

4 North A by Jordan Canning and Howie Shia (11 min) 

A woman sits in a hospital room, alone with her dying father. As the constant din of antiseptic hospital noises pushes her to confront her inevitable loss, she escapes into a series of lush childhood memories.

4 North A is produced by veteran Newfoundland filmmaker Annette Clarke and executive produced by Annette Clarke (NFB Quebec and Atlantic Studio) and Michael Fukushima (NFB English Animation Studio), and was developed in association with The Newfoundland & Labrador Film Development Corporation.

·        Synopsis, biographies, images: mediaspace.nfb.ca/4-north-a

Thanadoula by Robin McKenna, with art direction by Elise Simard (6 min 38 s) 

“I could have been there with her…” Two sisters entwined by love. When Annie disappears, her younger sister, Natalie, seeks her out in an unconventional way: as a thanadoula, accompanying the dying in their final stages. Between their slow and final breaths, Natalie finds a bridge between life and death and, ultimately, a pathway to her sister.

Produced by Robin McKenna (Gaudete Films) and Jelena Popović (NFB), and executive produced by Michael Fukushima for the NFB’s English Animation Studio in Montreal. Produced with a grant awarded by bravoFACT (Foundation to Assist Canadian Talent) and completed with the support of RiverStyx Foundation and Women Make Movies Production Assistance Program.

·        Synopsis, biographies, images: mediaspace.nfb.ca/thanadoula

The Great Malaise by Catherine Lepage (5 min 19 s)

A young woman describes herself and her life in glowing terms, but the visual narrative tells a different story: with heart-rending power it illustrates the heavy burden of anxiety carried by this worried overachiever. Winner of the People’s Choice Award and Jury’s Special Mention/Canadian Competition at the Sommets du cinéma d’animation in Montreal.

Produced by Marc Bertrand and executive produced by Julie Roy for the NFB’s French Animation Studio.

·        Synopsis, biographies, images: mediaspace.nfb.ca/malaise

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