Norman McLaren’s Films Added to the UNESCO Memory of the World Register

Norman McLarenAs the CBC reports, “The UNESCO Memory of the World Register has selected McLaren’s films to be held in its heritage collection of the most significant world cultural artifacts.

“McLaren’s Oscar-winning anti-war film Neighbours is among 82 films and 52 film tests to be preserved.”

The Memory of the World program is aimed at the “preservation and dissemination of valuable archive holdings and library collections worldwide.”

In addition to McLaren’s films, other additions include the Diaries of Anne Frank, Song of the Nibelungs, and the Magna Carta. Other film-related material added this year includes the John Marshall Ju/’hoan Bushman Film and Video Collection, 1950-2000 and NRWA Photo and Film Archives of Palestinian Refugees.  A list of this year’s additions can be found here.

Other film-related added in the past includes: Fritz Lang’s Metropolis, the Tait Brothers’ The Story of the Kelly Gang (Australia, 1906) (the first feature film made), Victor Fleming’s The Wizard of Oz, the Ingmar Bergman Archives,Luis Buñuel’s Los olvidados (The Young and the Damned), Lumière Films, Roald Amundsen’s South Pole Expedition (1910-1912) and The Battle of the Somme (1916). A full  list of Registered Heritage can be found here.

The CBC further notes:

The Audio-Visual Preservation Trust of Canada, which protects Canada’s film and video heritage, nominated the collection for preservation by UNESCO.

The bid was supported by groups such as the International Association of Sound and Audiovisual Archives, the British Film Institute, the Toronto International Film Festival, the Film Studies Association of Canada and the Museum of Modern Art, which holds an archive of McLaren works.

Neighbours and other McLaren classics can be viewed at the NFB’s online screening room.

(Thanks to Karl Cohen.)

Correction: The CBC report which I initially relied on was in error in saying, “The UNESCO Memory of the World Register has selected McLaren’s films to be held in its heritage collection of the most significant world cultural artifacts.” Instead the honor was reserved for just Neighbours. As its website noted:

Norman McLaren is the most influential animator in the history of the art of animation. Over many years of constant groundbreaking research and experimentation he has created a coherent and extraordinary body of work with a unique inventiveness. This is best exemplified by his most important film, the anti-war parable Neighbours.

Pequeñas Voces (Born Under Fire)

Cartoon Brew’s Amid Amidi has posted this trailer for Eduardo Carrillo’s forthcoming Pequeñas Voces (Little Voices/Born Under Fire), a feature animated documentary about the ongoing guerrilla war in Columbia. The film’s website describes it as:

… an animated documentary based on interviews and drawing workshops with a new generation of children (8 to 13 years old) who have grown up in middle of violence and chaos in Colombia; the interviews show how they perceive their reality. Those stories are illustrated and animated using the original drawings by the children.

The computer animated film, done in the style of children’s drawings,  is an expansion of a 19-minute short done for Oxfam International (see below). Both the trailer and short are in Spanish with no English subtitles, but I think much of Carrillo’s points come through very forcefully. The website for  the short is here.

In addition, Oxfam made the following interview  (in Spanish) with Carillo at the 12th Latin American Lima  Film Festival, with several of the clips having English subtitles.


I’m a bit late on this, but I think it important to take note of Fatenah, the new Palestinian animated documentary, which Erika Solomon at Reuters described on July 3rd as:

The true story of a young Gazan woman’s futile battle against breast cancer has been commemorated in the first-ever Palestinian animated commercial film. “Fatenah” debuted last night in the West Bank city of Ramallah, at the Al-Kasabah Theater, and was received by a large and enthusiastic audience [as seen in the above video]. …

The film, only 30-minutes long, draws inspiration from a true story of a woman who died in the midst of trying to get treatment for breast cancer. Her story was documented by the Israeli branch of Physicians for Human Rights.

Director and animator Ahmad Habash says the piece, which is being funded by the World Health Organization in the occupied Palestinian territories, tries not to portray either side—Israeli or Palestinian—as sheer good or evil. “That’s the reality,” he said. “There were doctors that tricked the girl and those that helped her on the Palestinian side. And on the Israeli side there were people who helped her, and those who didn’t”.

An Associated Press story notes the film had a $60,000 budget and is schedule to make the international festival circuit. The publicity accorded the film only goes to confirm that the recent trend towards high profile animated documentaries, exemplified in recent years by Persopolis and Waltz With Bashir; interestingly, all three essentially come out of the political caldron that is the Middle East.