Cordell Barker

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Cordell Barker
Born Cordell Barker
1956 (age 61–62)
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Cordell Barker (born 1956) is a Canadian animator based in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He began animating in his late teens after taking on an apprenticeship at Kenn Perkins Animation. A two-time Academy Award nominee, Barker is an animation filmmaker with the National Film Board of Canada (NFB).[1]

National Film Board of Canada[edit]

Earlier in his career, Barker did animation work on fellow Winnipeg animator Brad Caslor's NFB short, Get a Job.[2] He then went on to direct his own NFB animated shorts, at the NFB's Winnipeg studio. His best known NFB shorts are The Cat Came Back (1988) [3] and Strange Invaders (2002),[4] both of which received Oscar nominations.[5]

He completed his third film for the NFB, Runaway, in 2009.[6][7] Runaway was named best animated film at the 30th Genie Awards.[8] Strange Invaders, The Cat Came Back and Runaway were included in the Animation Show of Shows.

In April 2010, he was hired as a creative consultant by the NFB to oversee its animation projects from the Canadian Prairies, Northwest Territories and Nunavut.[9]

If I Was God...[edit]

Barker's fourth film with the NFB is If I Was God..., a 3D film about a 12-year-old boy speculating on what he would do if he was God. The film is inspired by Barker's experiences as a 12-year-old in grade seven, dissecting and experimenting on a frog in biology class, and sensing the approaching power of adulthood after having left the confines of elementary school. Barker intends to experiment with a variety of animation techniques in this film, use stop-motion puppets along with traditional animation and other forms.[10] The film is divided into episodes, with each sequence triggered by mental associations of typical grade seven classroom objects, such as science posters, dioramas and papier-mâché volcanoes. The director had initially contemplated also using CGI animation but abandoned the idea out of a desire to achieve an “organic hand-made feel” for the film. Barker was committed to completing the film with a much shorter production schedule than his previous works, which averaged “a disturbing and embarrassing 8½ years per film.”[5][11] In November 2015, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced that If I Was God... was one of 10 films—and two NFB productions—shortlisted for a possible Oscar nomination, however the film didn't receive a nomination.[12]

Commercial work[edit]

He has also worked on commercial campaigns for entities such as Coca-Cola, Bell Canada, Lors, Nike, and the Government of Canada.


  1. ^ Lawson, Sarah (2016-12-15). "A Stop-Motion Film About Power in the Wrong Hands". The New Yorker. Retrieved 2016-12-16.
  2. ^ "Cordell Barker". Toronto International Film Festival. Canadian Film Encyclopedia. Archived from the original on 24 March 2014. Retrieved 23 March 2014.
  3. ^ NFB Collections page
  4. ^ NFB Collections page
  5. ^ a b Blair, Iain (June 4, 2012). "NFB pushes Canadian artists in edgy direction". Variety. Retrieved June 5, 2012.
  6. ^ "Interview with Cordell Barker". National Film Board of Canada. 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-30.
  7. ^ Dixon, Guy (Jan 27, 2010). "A Runaway success". The Globe and Mail. CTVglobemedia Publishing Inc. Retrieved 9 March 2010.
  8. ^ "NFB animation a ‘Runaway’ winner at Genie Awards"., April 13, 2010
  9. ^ "NFB names Barker to guide Prairie animation projects". Canadian Press. Winnipeg Free Press. March 30, 2010. Retrieved 30 April 2010.
  10. ^ "Cordell Barker: My God-like Process On 'If I Was God'". Cartoon Brew. 16 December 2015. Retrieved 17 November 2016.
  11. ^ Barker, Cordell (16 April 2012). "If I was god: A Chronicle of Anticipated Pain". blog. National Film Board of Canada. Retrieved 19 July 2012.
  12. ^ "NFB animated short films make Academy Awards shortlist". The Canadian Press. CBC News. 19 November 2015. Retrieved 21 November 2015.

External links[edit]