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NFB to get Anniversary Homage from Guy Maddin

The National Film Board of Canada announced yesterday that it will celebrate its 70th by hiring Guy Maddin (winner of the 2009 Toronto Film Critics Association's Best Canadian Film Award) to direct a commemorative short. Cameras start rolling next week on Night Mayor in the filmmaker's hometown, Winnipeg.

Reached via email, Maddin tells me that he is "longtime superfan of the Board". According to the press release, while developing the concept for the 9-minute tribute, Maddin "immersed himself into the country's film heritage inside the NFB's vast archives".

Mr. Maddin answered a couple of questions about the project.

Can you tell me a little bit about the commission? Will it be your take on the NFB?

I really like the old Faces of Canada series the Board did in the 50s, especially Paul Tomkowicz, Street-railway Switchman. These were little portraits of Canadians going about their lives, earning their livings. These little films really added up to a portrait of our country, a species of mythology that I have grown to adore, especially since I have long felt that Canadians were completely inept at mythologizing themselves.

In My Winnipeg, you fused slightly surreal dramatic scenes with archival footage. Will you use a similar technique with this film?

I hope to make another docufantasia, which is the name I used for the genre to which My Winnipeg might belong. I think I'll use an approach which is similar but different. I always try to use what is false in film to reveal the truth. It's not such a crazy approach, it's very similar to fairy tales, which could never be literally true, but which are more true than any surface facts could be. That's why good fairy tales are so durable.

Photo: Wiki Commons.


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