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Canada, 1990 (MIFF 1991, Documentaries)

Director: Don McWilliams

McWilliams' ground-breaking documentary is a kind of x-ray into the creative mind of Canada's late animation pioneer, who passed away in 1987.

Norman McLaren's influence on cinema cannot be overestimated. Often working with collaborators Evelyn Lambart and Grant Munro, McLaren produced over 50 animated films in a career that spanned almost half a century, setting new standards for animators around the world and gathering many international prizes , including an Academy Award for his pixillated social parable Neighbours (1952). But even this rich legacy failed to capture the full scope of McLaren's genius. His private film vaults contained experimental footage and uncompleted films which never made it to the screen-a veritable gold mine of unseen treasures. While McLaren had little interest in films honoring him or his legendary achievements, he thought this rare footage could be used to make a film about the "creative process" of filmmaking.

So did his friend Don McWilliams, when McLaren approached him with the idea. McWilliams began work on Creative Process in 1986, one year before Norman McLaren's death.

Using rare and never-before-seen footage, interviews with McLaren during his more than 40-year career and interviews recorded especially for Creative Process, McWilliams has assembled a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at McLaren and his ingenious creations.

From McLaren's boyhood fascination with nature's ever-changing play of light and shadow to the influence of music and dance on his cinema, from experiences in the Third World to his worries about artistic narcissism, Creative Process makes the connection between McLaren's personal side and the daring visual innovations that made him a legend.

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