Friday, February 11, 2011

Call for submissions: Hothouse 7 - NFB animation program

The National Film Board of Canada has put out a call for submissions for Canadian animators for their latest edition of the Hothouse program. Hothouse is a 12-week paid apprenticeship program for emerging Canadian filmmakers that takes place in Montreal, Quebec. It provides emerging animators a mentorship with industry professionals while developing their projects.

The NFB states, "This program is for emerging creators from across Canada with the imagination, vision, experience and enthusiasm to relish the Hothouse challenge, to flourish in the Hothouse environment and to accomplish the making of a successful project within the program’s parameters."

The National Film Board of Canada is Canada's public film producer and distributor. They have created over 13,000 films which have won more than 5,000 awards. They have received 70 Academy Award nominations and 12 wins. They are particularly renowned for their animation and documentaries.

The deadline for submissions is February 25. The program runs from March 14 – June 3.

Hothouse 7: Call for Submissions

Deadline: Friday February 25, 2011
Program Dates: March 14 – June 03, 2011
Theme: “Here be Dragons”
The National Film Board of Canada seeks submissions from emerging filmmakers (young and not-so-young), and artists intrigued by animation art, for the 7th edition of Hothouse, a 12-week paid apprenticeship in full-on, all-inclusive, real-world animation filmmaking.

Introducing two new parameters this year:

1. You will be working to a fixed piece of music, to be selected from the 10 specially-commissioned choices below.
2. You will be working from the comforts of your own home or studio but plugged into the NFB live via cyberspace.
Hothouse is about re-imagining ways of making animation, ways that are faster, more flexible, and which embrace the many possibilities in the animation process while maintaining creative and technical excellence. We’re looking for six new talents who are willing and able to jump head-first into this intensive experience.


Submissions must be received by 5pm (Montreal time) on Friday February 25 and must be sent via email (no snail mail submissions will be accepted). The six successful candidates will be notified by Friday March 04.

Theme and Music:

This year the music will be pre-recorded and selected in pre-production and not in post-production, so the music is upfront and the animation will be constructed in relation to it. Five composers were recruited to create ten music demos based on this year’s theme “Here Be Dragons”, a metaphor for both the fear and allure of the unknown. We expect film proposals to reference the music as the primary source of inspiration and to explore beyond a simple literal connotation of the “Here be Dragons” theme. You must select one music recording from the 10 provided below as the basis of your film proposal and understand this sketch represents the final timing and duration of the music. The final music may allow for some modification in instrumentation but in all other ways will remain as-is.


All other sound elements such as sound effects and ambiances will be designed, recorded and edited in post-production (after the animation is finished) in collaboration with the Hothouse 7 Sound Designer. Recordings will take place at the NFB recording studio in Montreal under the direction of the Sound Designer.


You can apply with any animation technique that is feasible within the Hothouse framework and with which you have facility. It is important to reveal a thoughtful relationship between your concept and your chosen technique (whether hand-drawn, stop motion, 3D CGI, collage, stereoscopic 3D, mixed media, etc). Your proposal must demonstrate that you have the necessary production tools and know-how to execute the project as proposed including working in collaboration with the Hothouse 7 team here in Montreal.
Proposals for Stereoscopic techniques should be carefully considered due to the technical complexity of remote production. However, if you have sufficient experience with this technique, access to the necessary equipment, and a convincing conceptual motivation, we will consider your proposal.


successful participants will have high-speed internet and a basic equipment suite capable of executing the proposed technique. The NFB may provide additional equipment and expertise including to facilitate remote production and/or to adapt filmmakers’ work into a form compatible with the NFB post-production pipeline.

: (writing and images must be in PDF format)
1. A one-page statement identifying the music track you prefer (from the ten choices provided) and outlining your idea and intent, artistic approach, and motivation for participating in Hothouse. Explain the relationship between your music selection and your concept, and any connection to the theme (as you choose to interpret it).
Include one paragraph outlining your equipment needs (what you have and what you’ll need from us).
2. Two or three design samples (to demonstrate the look and feel)
3. One-page résumé
4. One example of a previous film (animation or otherwise) no more than 5 minutes, or an excerpt from a previous film, no more than 5 minutes. Please send only 1 film/excerpt. Media must be submitted as a URL. See instructions here. Do not send hard copies. If you don’t have a finished film don’t worry, but make sure you show off what you can do in your writing and design samples.


We look for: strength of idea; your ability with the chosen animation technique; your conviction of vision, creative maturity, originality; your willingness to embrace the Hothouse challenge.


Submissions are accepted from across Canada. You must:
• Be a Canadian citizen or landed immigrant (no exceptions)
• Have some experience in animation filmmaking or a related artistic field
• Have sufficient know-how and confidence in your chosen animation technique to begin working right away while remaining flexible and willing to adapt to remote pipeline tools and processes
• Be relatively new to auteur animation filmmaking
• Be prepared to commit full time for the entire twelve-week period


1. Propose the film you want to make, not the film you think the NFB might like. We don’t like that and will roll our eyes at you.
2. Pay attention to clarity of idea and intent in your proposal. If you’re unsure about something, admit it, and explain why and what you intend to do about it.
3. The theme is a test of your creativity, ingenuity and artistic maturity; don’t be afraid to play with it, subvert it, deconstruct it, both in content and in form. Remember, over a hundred people are thinking up ideas based on the exact same theme.
4. Ambiguity is not itself a virtue. Cinema is a two-way conversation so someone other than yourself must be able to understand/feel/appreciate/be provoked by what you are expressing.
5. Think carefully about how you intend to use the music track as part of your concept (will it be used literally? Ironically? As counterpoint?)
6. Remote production is not meant to be a challenge to the social aspects of Hothouse nor a shift toward a more independent production model, nor a cost-saver. Our goal is to explore ways of retaining the collaborative spirit and professional standards of NFB filmmaking while removing geographic limitations and potentially discovering new connections (yes, an experiment!).
7. Become familiar with Hothouse. Check out the films and behind-the-scenes videos from past Hothouse editions for a better idea about the projects and process. See Hothouse 5 films here.
8. Be sure to read the Rules & Regulations for a better understanding of what we expect from you and what you can expect from us.


By email
For more information contact Maral Mohammadian at or 514-283-2510


Hothouse participants will direct an animation short, maximum 1 minute in length, from creative inception all the way through final sound mix and video release in twelve intensive weeks. The NFB provides the support and some resources to master this challenge within reasonable limits of availability and demands of remote production.

By making a submission, participants agree to these expectations:

1. Each Hothouse participant receives a fixed artist’s fee of $7,000.
2. Ideas must be based on one of the ten music tracks provided.
3. Projects can use digital or analogue techniques and must be no more than 1 minute in length. They must respect the parameters of Hothouse including available resources and expertise in the Animation Studio.
4. Participants must be able and prepared to work full time beginning March 14 until June 03, 2011.
5. The NFB will pay for two single return trips to Montreal and back, at the best possible rate, once for orientation and once for post production.
6. Participants must be prepared to work with the NFB creative team, which includes Mentoring Directors, Producers, Digital Imaging Specialists, Composers, Sound Designer, Editor and the rest of the NFB Animation filmmaking community.
7. Participants must be prepared to engage fully with the expectations of remote production, which includes mandatory weekly video conference meetings, semi-frequent work-in-progress reviews and workshops, frequent discussions with producers and creative and technical crew and frequent contribution to the Hothouse 7 blog.
8. Participation with and inclusion in any accompanying Hothouse documentation (ie. making-ofs) is granted by all Hothouse participants by virtue of accepting the Hothouse offer.
9. Adherence to five locked delivery dates: offer response, story sign-off, picture-edit lock, final mix, video online.
10. All projects belong to the NFB and will be released as is deemed suited to content and format.
Hothouse films will be full NFB productions created under the direct supervision of an NFB producer and subject to NFB administration, distribution and creative controls and standards. Full copyright and exclusive distribution remain with the NFB.


Composers will remain anonymous until the successful applicants are announced.
Track 01
Track01 by Hothouse
Track02 by Hothouse
Track03 by Hothouse
Track04 by Hothouse
Track05 by Hothouse
Track06 by Hothouse
Track07 by Hothouse
Track08 by Hothouse
Track09 by Hothouse
Track10 by Hothouse

The National Film Board of Canada

Created in 1939, the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) is a public agency that produces and distributes films and other audiovisual works, which reflect Canada to Canadians and the rest of the world. Since its beginnings, the NFB has played a crucial role in Canadian and international filmmaking.

Animation at the NFB

Initiated by Norman McLaren sixty five years ago, animation filmmaking at the NFB has been recognized ever since as a cornerstone of NFB activity, garnering many international awards for excellence and innovation. Today’s NFB continues the commitment to a diversity of eclectic and experimental exploration of animation as art. The panoply of artistic visions, driven by the passion and imagination of their creators, reflects novel styles, methods, subjects and cultures and is expressed across the country.

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