Nov 27, 2020
Visit our sister site:

Front Page, Headline, Industry News

Winnipeg animator shortlisted for Oscar

If he indeed was a deity, Cordell Barker would have a little better handle on the whole Oscar nomination thing.

The Winnipeg animator learned that his fourth animated short, If I Was God …, was among 10 films shortlisted from a group of 60 for one of five Oscar nominations.

It’s familiar territory for the 59-year-old, having been nominated for his first two, The Cat Came Back (1988) and Strange Invaders (2002) and shortlisted for his third, 2009’s Runaway. But that doesn’t make it any more comfortable a position to be in.

“Runaway was doing really well at the festivals. I can’t say I assumed it’d get it, but I was a little more than 50/50 confident. This time I have no sense of any odds at all,” Barker said. “I think it’s just unhealthy to get too tied up in it. It’s better to get cracking on something else you want to work on and not stare at the wall wondering about it.”

It was The Cat Came Back that thrust Barker, who started animating for Sesame Street while still in high school, into the spotlight. It’s also the film all his others are inevitably compared with.

“I’m not lamenting that at all, but it is a shadow for me a little bit,” Barker said.

Strange Invaders was his most personal film to date, while the dark social satire Runaway nearly ended up on the scrap heap.

“I really wanted to back out of it, until it was done of course. Then I really quite liked it.”

Barker feels it was the most complete idea of his films and his “most accomplished piece.” And yet, while it did win the Petit Rail d’Of at the Cannes Film Festival and was an official selection at Sundance and Toronto, Oscar didn’t come calling.

“You just never know. The Academy Awards and nominations, it’s not like any film festival in the world. It’s a completely different membership and sensibility,” he said. “It’s real apples and oranges.”

So too is his latest compared to his previous National Film Board of Canada releases. The lone stop-motion film on this year’s shortlist, it forced Barker to step away from his comfort zone and become more comfortable sharing in the process.

“Doing stop-mo, it forced me to collaborate and frankly I was a little sick of sitting in the studio year after year, working alone. Thirty years of plugging away in a bedroom is exhausting.”

If I Was God is a coming-of-age story about a 7th grader who, while dissecting a frog in biology class, daydreams of possessing God-like powers to punish tormentors and create a perfect day for his schoolboy crush. To Barker, junior high is the gateway between childhood and adolescence, not the later teen years as often portrayed onscreen.

A team in Montreal worked on the classroom scenes, while director Barker handled the daydreaming.

“It’s a little more naive style, so I can get away with not being a total pro at it.”

What’s next for Barker, who in 2010 was hired by the CFB as a creative consultant to oversee animation projects from the Prairies, Northwest Territories and Nunavut, is not yet known. Given the time committed to each piece of work, he needs to be certain before heading off in a particular direction.

Barker continues to call Winnipeg home, living not too far from where he grew up and attended John Henderson Junior High School. While he admits moving to a “animation industry town” like Montreal might help broaden his scope, the isolation has also informed his work.

“It’s certainly allowed me to find my own voice, in my studio, in my room.”

The Academy Award nominations will be announced Jan. 14. A second NFB production, Claude Cloutier’s Carface (Auto Portraits) is also in the running.

Source: Toronto Sun

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Front Page, Headline, Industry News

Winnipeg animator shortlisted for Oscar

If he indeed was a deity, Cordell Barker would have a little better handle on the whole Oscar nomination thing.

The Winnipeg animator learned that his fourth animated short, If I Was God …, was among 10 films shortlisted from a group of 60 for one of five Oscar nominations.

It’s familiar territory for the 59-year-old, having been nominated for his first two, The Cat Came Back (1988) and Strange Invaders (2002) and shortlisted for his third, 2009’s Runaway. But that doesn’t make it any more comfortable a position to be in.

“Runaway was doing really well at the festivals. I can’t say I assumed it’d get it, but I was a little more than 50/50 confident. This time I have no sense of any odds at all,” Barker said. “I think it’s just unhealthy to get too tied up in it. It’s better to get cracking on something else you want to work on and not stare at the wall wondering about it.”

It was The Cat Came Back that thrust Barker, who started animating for Sesame Street while still in high school, into the spotlight. It’s also the film all his others are inevitably compared with.

“I’m not lamenting that at all, but it is a shadow for me a little bit,” Barker said.

Strange Invaders was his most personal film to date, while the dark social satire Runaway nearly ended up on the scrap heap.

“I really wanted to back out of it, until it was done of course. Then I really quite liked it.”

Barker feels it was the most complete idea of his films and his “most accomplished piece.” And yet, while it did win the Petit Rail d’Of at the Cannes Film Festival and was an official selection at Sundance and Toronto, Oscar didn’t come calling.

“You just never know. The Academy Awards and nominations, it’s not like any film festival in the world. It’s a completely different membership and sensibility,” he said. “It’s real apples and oranges.”

So too is his latest compared to his previous National Film Board of Canada releases. The lone stop-motion film on this year’s shortlist, it forced Barker to step away from his comfort zone and become more comfortable sharing in the process.

“Doing stop-mo, it forced me to collaborate and frankly I was a little sick of sitting in the studio year after year, working alone. Thirty years of plugging away in a bedroom is exhausting.”

If I Was God is a coming-of-age story about a 7th grader who, while dissecting a frog in biology class, daydreams of possessing God-like powers to punish tormentors and create a perfect day for his schoolboy crush. To Barker, junior high is the gateway between childhood and adolescence, not the later teen years as often portrayed onscreen.

A team in Montreal worked on the classroom scenes, while director Barker handled the daydreaming.

“It’s a little more naive style, so I can get away with not being a total pro at it.”

What’s next for Barker, who in 2010 was hired by the CFB as a creative consultant to oversee animation projects from the Prairies, Northwest Territories and Nunavut, is not yet known. Given the time committed to each piece of work, he needs to be certain before heading off in a particular direction.

Barker continues to call Winnipeg home, living not too far from where he grew up and attended John Henderson Junior High School. While he admits moving to a “animation industry town” like Montreal might help broaden his scope, the isolation has also informed his work.

“It’s certainly allowed me to find my own voice, in my studio, in my room.”

The Academy Award nominations will be announced Jan. 14. A second NFB production, Claude Cloutier’s Carface (Auto Portraits) is also in the running.

Source: Toronto Sun

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Front Page, Headline, Industry News

Winnipeg animator shortlisted for Oscar

If he indeed was a deity, Cordell Barker would have a little better handle on the whole Oscar nomination thing.

The Winnipeg animator learned that his fourth animated short, If I Was God …, was among 10 films shortlisted from a group of 60 for one of five Oscar nominations.

It’s familiar territory for the 59-year-old, having been nominated for his first two, The Cat Came Back (1988) and Strange Invaders (2002) and shortlisted for his third, 2009’s Runaway. But that doesn’t make it any more comfortable a position to be in.

“Runaway was doing really well at the festivals. I can’t say I assumed it’d get it, but I was a little more than 50/50 confident. This time I have no sense of any odds at all,” Barker said. “I think it’s just unhealthy to get too tied up in it. It’s better to get cracking on something else you want to work on and not stare at the wall wondering about it.”

It was The Cat Came Back that thrust Barker, who started animating for Sesame Street while still in high school, into the spotlight. It’s also the film all his others are inevitably compared with.

“I’m not lamenting that at all, but it is a shadow for me a little bit,” Barker said.

Strange Invaders was his most personal film to date, while the dark social satire Runaway nearly ended up on the scrap heap.

“I really wanted to back out of it, until it was done of course. Then I really quite liked it.”

Barker feels it was the most complete idea of his films and his “most accomplished piece.” And yet, while it did win the Petit Rail d’Of at the Cannes Film Festival and was an official selection at Sundance and Toronto, Oscar didn’t come calling.

“You just never know. The Academy Awards and nominations, it’s not like any film festival in the world. It’s a completely different membership and sensibility,” he said. “It’s real apples and oranges.”

So too is his latest compared to his previous National Film Board of Canada releases. The lone stop-motion film on this year’s shortlist, it forced Barker to step away from his comfort zone and become more comfortable sharing in the process.

“Doing stop-mo, it forced me to collaborate and frankly I was a little sick of sitting in the studio year after year, working alone. Thirty years of plugging away in a bedroom is exhausting.”

If I Was God is a coming-of-age story about a 7th grader who, while dissecting a frog in biology class, daydreams of possessing God-like powers to punish tormentors and create a perfect day for his schoolboy crush. To Barker, junior high is the gateway between childhood and adolescence, not the later teen years as often portrayed onscreen.

A team in Montreal worked on the classroom scenes, while director Barker handled the daydreaming.

“It’s a little more naive style, so I can get away with not being a total pro at it.”

What’s next for Barker, who in 2010 was hired by the CFB as a creative consultant to oversee animation projects from the Prairies, Northwest Territories and Nunavut, is not yet known. Given the time committed to each piece of work, he needs to be certain before heading off in a particular direction.

Barker continues to call Winnipeg home, living not too far from where he grew up and attended John Henderson Junior High School. While he admits moving to a “animation industry town” like Montreal might help broaden his scope, the isolation has also informed his work.

“It’s certainly allowed me to find my own voice, in my studio, in my room.”

The Academy Award nominations will be announced Jan. 14. A second NFB production, Claude Cloutier’s Carface (Auto Portraits) is also in the running.

Source: Toronto Sun

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Advertisements