Hothouse 8: Call for Submissions

Deadline: Tuesday January 24, 2012
Program Dates: March 05 May 25, 2012

The National Film Board of Canada seeks submissions from emerging (young and not-so-young) Canadian filmmakers, creative programmers and artists intrigued by animation art, for the 8th edition of Hothouse, a 12-week paid apprenticeship in full-on, all-inclusive, real-world animation filmmaking.

Edition 8 parameter: include <emerging_technologies>

This year, Hothouse invites you to exploit emerging tools and technologies in your animation.  In other words, take maximum advantage of new hardware, software or platforms to create your art. You might use a specific app for capture or animation. You might choose to tell a traditionally animated story on an interactive mobile OS (does the user influence the content?) You might integrate sensing devices for spatial tracking and gesture/facial/voice recognition (think GPS, Kinect, Wii, Siri etc.). Or develop a meaningful micro-narrative using existing engines and assets. To name but a few possibilities of hacking your animation!

Ultimately, you create a compelling 60-second experience driven by animation, moulded by technology.

Hothouse continues to be about re-imagining ways of making animation, ways that are faster, more flexible, and which embrace the many possibilities in the animation process while maintaining creative and technical excellence. We’re looking for six new talents who are willing and able to jump head-first into this intensive experience.

Submissions must be received by 5pm (Montreal time) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 and must be sent via email (no snail mail submissions will be accepted). The six successful candidates will be notified by Friday February 03, 2012.

Tools & Theme:
This edition’s focus on emerging technologies is not meant to be a shift away from traditional animation techniques. Rather, the goal is to open the tent wider, extending the pool of animators to include creative coders and potentially discovering new connections (yes, an experiment using intelligent agents!). Ultimate goal: pushing the boundaries of storytelling and auteur animation filmmaking.

You can apply with any animation technique that is feasible within the Hothouse framework and with which you have ability. It is important to reveal a thoughtful relationship between your concept and your chosen technique (whether hand-drawn, stop motion, collage, 3D CGI, stereoscopic 3D, mixed media, machinima, fractal animation, Processing etc). Your proposal must demonstrate that you have the necessary production tools and know-how to execute the project as proposed, including working in collaboration with the Hothouse 8 team in Montreal. The proposal must be done in the 12-week allocated timeframe – it is imperative to choose variables realistically to match reach and viability.

This edition’s Mentoring Director will be Theodore Ushev.

A programmer/code specialist will be available for guidance and support.

All sound elements such as sound effects, ambiances and music will be designed, recorded and edited in postproduction (after the animation is finished) in collaboration with the Hothouse 8 Sound Designer and Composer. Recordings will take place at the NFB in Montreal under the direction of the Sound Designer and the Composer.

SUBMISSIONS MUST INCLUDE:  (writing and images must be in PDF format)

1. A one-page statement outlining your idea and intent, artistic approach, and motivation for participating in Hothouse. Explain the relationship between this year’s theme and your concept. Specify the impact of artificial intelligence on your animation and/or storytelling approach (ie. How does the tool affect your narrative or your technique? How does your film take advantage of the interface? etc) Include one paragraph outlining any specialized equipment needs – what you have and what you’ll need from us (hardware, software, props).

2. Two or three design samples (to demonstrate the look and feel)

3. One-page résumé

4. One example of a previous film (animation or otherwise) no more than 5 minutes, or an excerpt from a previous film, no more than 5 minutes. Please send only 1 film/excerpt. Media must be submitted as a URL. See instructions here. Do not send hard copies. If you don’t have a finished film don’t worry, but make sure you show off what you can do in your writing and design samples.

We look for: strength of idea; your ability with the chosen animation technique; your conviction of vision, creative maturity, originality; your willingness to embrace the Hothouse challenge.

Submissions are accepted from across Canada. You must:
• Be a Canadian citizen or landed immigrant (no exceptions)
• Have some experience in animation filmmaking or a related field (ie. fine arts, cinema, graphic design, photography, electronic arts, computer science etc.)
• Have sufficient know-how and confidence in your chosen animation technique to begin working right away while remaining flexible and willing to adapt to the processes of creative and technological exchange within the team
• Be relatively new to auteur animation filmmaking
• Be prepared to commit full time for the entire twelve-week period

1. Propose the film you want to make, not the film you think the NFB might like. We don’t like that and will roll our eyes at you.

2. Pay attention to clarity of idea and intent in your proposal. If you’re unsure about something, admit it, and explain why and what you intend to do about it.

3. Sheep Dreams – don’t underestimate it! Electric, eclectic, innocent, countless, conformist, comforting – what not? The theme is a test of your creativity, ingenuity and artistic maturity; don’t be afraid to play with it, subvert it, deconstruct it, both in content and in form. Remember, over a hundred people are thinking up ideas based on the exact same theme.

4. Ambiguity is not a virtue in a proposal. Cinema is a two-way conversation so someone other than yourself must be able to understand/feel/appreciate/be provoked by what you are expressing.

5. Don’t use new tools just because they’re cool. We will reject any tech fetish proposal. There must be a very clear artistic rationale for ‘why’.

6. As you conceive your project, please remember that all tools, hacks and re-uses must fall within proper and legal uses. Otherwise, it may prevent us from showing your work.

7. Become familiar with Hothouse. Check out the films and behind-the-scenes videos from past Hothouse editions for a better idea about the projects and process. See Hothouse films here.

8. Be sure to read the Rules & Regulations for a better understanding of what we expect from you and what you can expect from us.

By email

For more information contact Associate Producer Jelena Popović at or 514.496.5466

Hothouse participants will direct an animation short, maximum 1 minute in length, from creative inception all the way through final sound mix and video release in twelve intensive weeks. The NFB provides – within reasonable limits of budget and availability – the tools, resources, advice and support to master this challenge within the filmmaking community of the NFB.

By making a submission, participants agree to these expectations:

1. Each Hothouse participant receives a fixed artist’s fee of $5,000.

2. Ideas must be based on the proposed theme, including use of emergent tools, techniques or platforms.

3. Projects can use digital or analogue techniques and must be no more than 1 minute in length. They must respect the parameters of Hothouse including available resources and expertise in the Animation Studio.

4. Participants must be able and prepared to work full time beginning March 05 until April 25, 2012.

5. Travel arrangements for those living outside the Greater Montreal area will be made by the NFB in February. The NFB will pay for the single return trip to Montreal and back, at the best possible rate. A modest stipend will be offered to those from outside the Greater Montreal area to help defray actual costs of local accommodation for the twelve weeks. Each participant is responsible for finding his/her own housing.

6. Participants must be prepared to work with the NFB creative team, which includes Mentoring Director, Programmer, Producers, Digital Imaging Specialists, Composer, Sound Designer, Editor and the rest of the NFB Animation filmmaking community.

7. Participants must be prepared to engage fully, which includes mandatory work-in-progress reviews and workshops, discussions with producers and creative and technical crew and frequent contribution to the NFB Hothouse 8 blog.

8. Participation with and inclusion in any accompanying Hothouse documentation (ie. making-of) is granted by all Hothouse participants by virtue of accepting the Hothouse offer.

9. Adherence to five locked delivery dates: offer response, story sign-off, picture-edit lock, final mix, video online.

10. All projects belong to the NFB and will be released as is deemed suited to content and format.

Hothouse productions will be full NFB intellectual properties created under the direct supervision of an NFB producer and subject to NFB administration, distribution and creative controls and standards. Full copyright and exclusive distribution remain with the NFB.

The National Film Board of Canada
Created in 1939, the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) is a public agency that produces and distributes films and other audiovisual works, which reflect Canada to Canadians and the rest of the world. Since its beginnings, the NFB has played a crucial role in Canadian and international filmmaking.

Animation at the NFB
Initiated by Norman McLaren 65 years ago, animation filmmaking at the NFB has been recognized ever since as a cornerstone of NFB activity, garnering many international awards for excellence and innovation. Today’s NFB continues the commitment to a diversity of eclectic and experimental exploration of animation as art. The panoply of artistic visions, driven by the passion and imagination of their creators, reflects novel styles, methods, subjects and cultures and is expressed across the country.


Watch and own Hothouse Films


  • Hothouse 11
  • Hothouse 10
  • Hothouse 9
  • Hothouse 8
  • Hothouse 7
  • Hothouse 6
  • Hothouse 5
  • Hothouse 4
  • Hothouse 3
  • Hothouse 2
  • Hothouse 1

Previous Hothouse editions are also available on DVD.
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