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A Small Tribute to Filmmaker Ryan Larkin

"[He was] a great creative spirit, and just a sweet, charming man," friend and manager Laurie Gordon remembers warmly of acclaimed animator Ryan Larkin, who passed away on Wednesday in St-Hyacinthe, Que., succumbing to metastasized lung cancer at the age of 63.

It wasn't until Chris Landreth took home the 2005 Oscar for his hypnotic bio-short Ryan that most of us have, regrettably, never heard of Ryan Larkin, the gifted NFB filmmaker. Though the harrowing story of his life is now a permanent page in Canadian film history, his small but exceptional body of work is, sadly, but only a tiny glimpse of his promising talent to which I feel at least privileged to have experienced no matter how fleeting.

On the brink of a comeback, Larkin -- once an Oscar nominee himself for his 1968 short subject Walking -- recently did a number of station bumpers for MTV Canada, and was also working steadily on his first film in 30 years Spare Change. It's a shame, however, that the film, which, would've been another take -- albeit a more personal one -- on his rueful panhandling experience, may very likely be unfinished. But, thankfully, not abandoned as Gordon has expressed a desire to continue working on Spare Change in honor of Larkin's memory.

Finally, gratitude must be paid to the NFB for doing a commendable job of preserving Larkin's past work, which can be streamed and watched from their website.

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Images: (NFB)


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