National Film Board offers fun program for kids
Remember the animated short film The Cat Came Back? Take a trip downtown and you can share this and hundreds of other National Film Board classics with your kids.
As the cold weather chases us indoors and the kids grow tired of toys and games, head to the National Film Board Mediatheque.
Located centrally at 150 John St. (at Richmond Street West), the Mediatheque is “a public access point for the NFB with lots of activities specifically for families,” says marketing supervisor Melissa Wheeler.
It’s a great place to settle in with your kids and explore the extensive NFB library on one of the state-of-the-art digital viewing stations, kitted with comfy chairs and flat-screen monitors. With more than 5,500 titles, you’re bound to discover some new favourites.
“It is a really great opportunity for families to see films produced by Canadians that tell unique Canadian stories,” says Wheeler.
And these stations are offered for free.
Mediatheque also screens an hour of animated NFB short films every Saturday and Sunday at noon for a nominal charge of $2 a person.
Your family members can be active participants in the movie-making process; enrol in one of Mediatheque’s workshops, offered on the first weekend of every month. For a couple of hours, children learn about storytelling and different animation techniques, and they create their own short animated film.
“If they are working with 3D clay animation, the children will create their own characters and we encourage the parents to take part,” says Wheeler, citing one technique. “Then they create stop-motion animation by moving the character slightly, taking a picture, moving it again, taking a picture…”
At the end of the workshop, families gather to watch their creations on the big screen, a thrill for the kids and parents alike.
The facilitators will also email final movies so kids can watch them at home.
“Lots of kids will upload their animations to YouTube or share with their friends on Facebook,” says Wheeler.
Other animation techniques, such as drawing on film, 2D with paper cutouts and painting on glass, may be explored.
“Families can come back again and again because it’s a brand new experience each time,” says Wheeler.
No plans yet for March Break? Kids 6–13 can “make history” with half-day workshops ($5 per child). They will explore history, learn about world cultures and animate their own films in an interactive workshop environment.
Workshops are offered daily during the break, at 10 a.m. or 2 p.m. Children must be accompanied by a parent (at no extra charge). Some of the themes that will be explored are Ancient Egypt using sand animation, Jurassic using 3D clay, Easter Island using 3D sand dough, Mayan using pixilation, Ancient Greece using 3D clay, Ancient China using object animation and Medieval using 2D classical animation/paper cutout. Workshops will fill up quickly so be sure to call in advance and register.
The NFB Toronto Mediatheque is open Tuesdays and Wednesdays 12-7 p.m., Thursday through Saturday 12-10 p.m. and Sundays 12-5 p.m. It is closed on Mondays.
Call or go online for information about programs or to find out more about the National Film Board.
You may even want to head down for a date night and enjoy some more mature, but equally fabulous, Canadian film for yourselves.
NFB Toronto Mediatheque: 150 John St. Take the subway to Osgoode, walk west on Richmond Street. 416-973-3012 (events, workshops and screenings). www.NFB.ca/mediatheque
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