Cordell Barker

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Cordell Barker
Born Cordell Barker
1956 (age 59–60)
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).

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.[1] 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) [2] and Strange Invaders (2002),[3] both of which received Oscar nominations.[4]

He completed his third film for the NFB, Runaway, in 2009.[5][6] Runaway was named best animated film at the 30th Genie Awards.[7] 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.[8]

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. 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 8 1/2 years per film."[4][9] 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.[10]

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. ^ "Cordell Barker". Toronto International Film Festival. Canadian Film Encyclopedia. Retrieved 23 March 2014. 
  2. ^ NFB Collections page
  3. ^ NFB Collections page
  4. ^ a b Blair, Iain (June 4, 2012). "NFB pushes Canadian artists in edgy direction". Variety. Retrieved June 5, 2012. 
  5. ^ "Interview with Cordell Barker". National Film Board of Canada. 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-30. 
  6. ^ Dixon, Guy (Jan 27, 2010). "A Runaway success". Globe and Mail. CTVglobemedia Publishing Inc. Retrieved 9 March 2010. 
  7. ^ "NFB animation a "Runaway" winner at Genie Awards"., April 13, 2010
  8. ^ "NFB names Barker to guide Prairie animation projects". Canadian Press. Winnipeg Free Press. March 30, 2010. Retrieved 30 April 2010. 
  9. ^ Barker, Cordell (16 April 2012). "If I was god: A Chronicle of Anticipated Pain". blog. National Film Board of Canada. Retrieved 19 July 2012. 
  10. ^ "NFB animated short films make Academy Awards shortlist". The Canadian Press. CBC News. 19 November 2015. Retrieved 21 November 2015. 

External links[edit]