Caroline Leaf

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Caroline Leaf
Born (1946-08-12) August 12, 1946 (age 75)
Seattle, Washington, United States
Alma materRadcliffe College
Occupation
Years active1969-present
Websitehttp://www.carolineleaf.com

Caroline Leaf (born August 12, 1946 in Seattle, Washington) is a Canadian-American filmmaker, animator, director, tutor and artist. She has produced numerous short animated films and her work has been recognized worldwide. She is best known as one of the pioneering filmmakers at the National Film Board of Canada (NFB). She worked at the NFB from 1972 to 1991. During that time, she created the sand animation and paint-on-glass animation techniques. She also tried new hands-on techniques with 70mm IMAX film. Her work is often representational of Canadian culture and is narrative based. Leaf now lives in London UK and is a tutor at The National Film and Television School. She maintains a studio in London working in oils and on paper and does landscape drawing

with ipad.[1][2][3]

Biography and early work[edit]

Leaf was born in Seattle, Washington and lived in Boston. She attended Radcliffe College, Harvard University, and majored in Architectural

Sciences from 1964-1968. for visual arts from 1964-1968. During her last year of studies she enrolled in an animation class. The class was taught by Derek Lamb as a creative practice not a professional training. Lamb encouraged his students to focus on movement. Leaf worked with beach sand spread on a lightbox. This is when she created sand animation. Using this technique, she produced her first film Sand, or Peter and the Wolf and was awarded a scholarship from Harvard University. After graduation, she moved to Italy for a year to focus on her drawing. Returning to Harvard, she made her second animated film, Orfeo

painting on glass (Paint-on-glass animation.) She then did freelance work from a studio in Boston and made How Beaver Stole Fire. Leaf moved to Montreal to work as an

animator/director for the National Film Board of Canada in 1972. She worked at the NFB in the French and English animation departments

until 1991. She made 9 animated and live puppet films and a documentary

film in those years.[2][3][4][5][6]

Career She made The Metamorphosis of Mr Samsa with sand animation.[edit]

Leaf made her first film, Sand, or Peter and the Wolf, in 1969 at Harvard University. The short was made by pouring sand on a light box and

manipulating the shapes frame-by-frame. Her second film at Harvard, Orfeo, was painted on glass under the camera. In 1972 she was invited to

join the National Film Board of Canada's French Animation Studio. Her first film for the NFB was The Owl Who Married a Goose: An Eskimo Legend.[3]

Making the film involved 2 trips to the Canadian arctic, first to collaborate on designs with the Inuit artist Nanogak and afterwards to record the sound

effects for the film. Her most renowned short film was The Street, which was drawn directly under the camera with a mix of paint and glycerin. It was adapted from the short story by Mordechai Richler, and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film at the 49th Academy Awards.[7] It is also featured in the Animation Show of Shows.[8]


Leaf co-directed an animated documentary film called Interview with Veronika Soul. She made a documentary film on the singers Kate and

Anna McGarrigle, produced by Derek Lamb. In 1990, she made her first animation in nearly a decade by scratching into the emulsion of exposed

black 70mm color film and reshooting it on 35mm film. She worked for 2 years using this technique on her her film Two Sisters original version called

Entre Deux Soeurs. The tone and story of this film is dark. Two Sisters won the award for best short film at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival in 1991.[9]


Leaf worked as an animator/director at the NFB until 1991. In 1991 she left animation to establish herself as a fine arts artist working in oils. In 2004 she contributed animation to a film about the Underground Railroad produced by Acme Filmworks in Los Angeles called Suite for freedom. Her part was called Slavery.

Animation techniques and influence[edit]

Leaf discovered a spontaneous and artistic hand crafted way of animatingin her animation class at Harvard and developed it in her professional career, pioneering: Sand animation, Paint on glass, and hand etching on film stock. All of her techniques have been described as having "fluid transitions".[6] She used different techniques to best tell the story of each of her films which showcased her narrative-based style. She created simple anecdotal and fictional stories based on literary works. Her films contain characters with relatable and complex issues. Her stories are mostly

adaptations from literature and reflect her often dark narrative content. [2] Every decision when I am animating is for the benefit of the story."[10]

Leaf is also considered an influential Canadian filmmaker for her long standing service with the National Film Board of Canada and her representation of Canadian culture in her films. This can mainly be seen in her films The Street, The Owl who Married the Goose, and Kate and Anna McGarrigle.[10]

Painting and Drawing[edit]

Since 2000 Leaf has maintained a studio in London, UK, and developed a personal style of painting in oils as well as drawings on paper. Her work is abstract and very much guided by mark making and a personal search to create spaces a viewer is invited to enter. She has also developed a lively landscape style of direct observation from nature and works on field trips with paper and pencil and also ipad using programs called Brushes and ProCreate.

Exhibitions[edit]

www.onlinegallery.site ‘Two Artists One Drawing’ 2022

www.onlinegallery.site ‘Spaces’ 2021

Playing with Perception, The Gallery, St. Martin-in-the-Fields, Trafalgar

Square, London, 2015

The Leper Chapel, Cambridge, England, 2008

The Shop Gallery, Vallance Road, London, 2006

The Corridor Gallery, London, 2004

Krakow Animation Festival, Krakow, Poland, 1998

Zagreb International Animation Festival, Zagreb Croatia, 1996

Residencies[edit]

Michael Nock Foundation, Hong Kong, 2014

Abbaye de Fontevraud, France, 2014

Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, residency, summer 1997

Selected filmography[edit]

Year Title Credit Listing
1969 Sand, or Peter and the Wolf animator, director
1972 Orfeo animator, director
1972 How Beaver Stole Fire animator, director
1976 The Owl Who Married a Goose: An Eskimo Legend animator, director
1976 The Street animator, director
1977 The Metamorphosis of Mr. Samsa animator, director
1979 Interview co-animator, director
1981 Kate and Anna McGarrigle director
1981 The Right to Refuse co-screenwriter, co-producer, director
1982 An Equal Opportunity director, co-screenwriter
1983 Pies animator
1983 War Series animator, director
1985 The Owl and the Pussycat director, producer, designer
1986 The Fox and The Tiger: A Chinese Parable director, designer
1986 A Dog's Tale: A Mexican Parable director
1988 Paradise Found animator, director
1990 Two Sisters animator, director
1991 I Met a Man animator, director
1993 Bell Partout animator, director
1994 Fleay's Fauna Centre animator, director
1995 Brain Battle animator, director
1995 Radio Rock Detente animator, director
2004 Slavery director

Awards[edit]

Year Award Competition Title
1975 Emilie Reynaud Special Award France International Animated Film Festival The Owl who Married a Goose
1975 Etrog for Best Animated Film Canadian Genie Awards The Owl who Married a Goose
1976 Victorian Government Prize Australia International Film Festival The Owl who Married a Goose
1976 Third Prize - Silver Boomerang Australia International Film Festival The Owl who Married a Goose
1976 First Prize Australia International Film Festival The Owl who Married a Goose
1976 First Prize - Films for Children Ottawa International Animation Festival The Owl who Married a Goose
1976 Silver Cindy Award USA Cindy Competition The Owl who Married a Goose
1976 Special Award for Animation USA Cindy Competition The Owl who Married a Goose
1976 Silver Award USA Information Film Producers Association Convention The Owl who Married a Goose
1976 Grand Prix Ottawa International Animation Festival The Street
1976 Wendy Michener Award Canadian Genie Awards The Street
1976 Etrog for Best Animated Film Canadian Genie Awards The Street
1977 Blue Ribbon Award - Language Arts American Film and Video Festival The Street
1977 Special Prize Australia International Film Festival The Street
1977 First Prize - Animated Films Ireland Cork Film Festival The Street
1977 Chris Bronze Plaque USA International Film and Video Festival The Street
1977 First Prize Film Festival of High Plains - Texas Tech. University The Street
1977 Special Jury Mention International Festival of Short and Documentary Films The Street
1977 Red Ribbon Award - Language arts American Film and Video Festival The Owl who Married a Goose
1977 First Prize Austria International Short Film Festival The Owl who Married a Goose
1977 Special Jury Mention Finland International Arctic Film Festival The Owl who Married a Goose
1977 Critic's Award France International Animated Film Festival The Metamorphosis of Mr. Samsa
1978 Award for Best Animation Spain International Short Film Festival The Street
1978 Merit Award USA Annual International Film Festival The Metamorphosis of Mr. Samsa
1978 Grand Prize Poland International Film Festival The Metamorphosis of Mr. Samsa
1978 Special Jury Award Ottawa International Animation Festival The Metamorphosis of Mr. Samsa
1978 Certificate for Outstanding Achievement Golden Gate Awards Competition & International Film Festival The Metamorphosis of Mr. Samsa
1979 AMER Golden Eye Award Annual AMER Film Awards The Street
1979 Jury Award for Best Short Film Montreal World Film Festival The Interview
1979 First Prize (5-15 mins) World Festival of Animated Film The Interview
1980 Certificate for an Outstanding Film Hong Kong International Film Festival The Metamorphosis of Mr. Samsa
1981 Grand Prix Australia International Film Festival The Interview
1991 Best Film Award France International Animated Film Festival Two Sisters
1991 Grand Prix Los Angeles International Animation Celebration Two Sisters
1991 Best Animation Award Sweden International Short Film Festival Two Sisters
1992 Honorable Mention American Film and Video Festival Two Sisters
1992 Special Jury Award Shanghai International Animation Film Festival Two Sisters
1992 Alberta-Quebec Award Quebec-Alberta Prizes Two Sisters
1992 Best Film Award Finland International Film Festival Two Sisters
1992 Silver Apple Award National Educational Media Network Competition Two Sisters

Other awards[edit]

Nominations[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Roberts, Eric (1998). "Hand-Crafted Cinema Animation Workshop with Caroline Leaf". National Film Board of Canada. Retrieved 21 March 2016.
  2. ^ a b c Hamel, Jean-François (2010). "Grandeur et Humanisme". Ciné-Bulles. XXVIII (1): 32–33.
  3. ^ a b c McDougal, Dana (January 2000). "Caroline Leaf". The St. James Women Filmmakers Encyclopedia. 18 (4): 88.
  4. ^ Maurice, Elia (January 1978). "Caroline Leaf". Séquences (91): 102–117.
  5. ^ "National Film Board of Canada". National Film Board of Canada.
  6. ^ a b Petrolle, Jean (2005). Women and Experimental Filmmaking. Urbana: University of Illinois. pp. 193–201. ISBN 0252072510.
  7. ^ Leaf, Caroline. "The Street". NFB.ca. National Film Board of Canada. Retrieved 2009-07-05.
  8. ^ The Street on Animation Show of Shows
  9. ^ Leaf, Caroline. "Two Sisters". NFB.ca. National Film Board of Canada. Retrieved 2009-07-05.
  10. ^ a b Pagliano, Jean-Pierre (2003). "ENTRETIEN: Caroline leaf: Je n'aime pas les contes de fées". Positif (508): 93–95.
  11. ^ "2017: Caroline Leaf Receives the Winsor McCay Award". Zippy Frames. Retrieved 1 August 2019.
  12. ^ "Dragon of Dragons 2019 for Caroline Leaf – pioneer of animation". Krakow Film Festival. Retrieved 1 August 2019.
  13. ^ "Filmmaker Caroline Leaf to Receive Dragon of Dragons Award at Krakow Film Festival". Vimooz. Retrieved 27 July 2019.
  14. ^ Short Film Winners: 1977 Oscars
  15. ^ 1977|Oscars.org

External links[edit]