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CSULB professor taking Canadian animation to TCM

Canadian short films will take over Turner Classic Movies’ Sunday night.

Photo Courtesy of Aubry Mintz

Photo Courtesy of Aubry Mintz

Carlos Villicana, Staff Writer

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One of Cal State Long Beach’s own will host Turner Classic Movies, the television network dedicated to airing acclaimed films from the past, this Sunday night from 5 – 9 p.m.

CSULB animation professor Aubry Mintz, along with consulting agency Schoolwood partner Ellen Besen and TCM host Ben Mankiewicz, will be co-hosting a panel showcasing 30 short animated films from Canada’s National Film Board.

Mintz is the head of the animation program at CSULB and studied at the acclaimed Classical Animation Program at Sheridan College. He has worked with Square USA and George Lucas’ Industrial Light & Magic, giving him the credence to be listened to when pitching the idea for the panel to TCM.

The films, all released between 1941 and 1999, were selected from about 50 National Film Board shorts that Mintz and Besen watched, analyzed and researched. Mintz, who is Canadian, said that he had already seen a handful of these films himself.

A friend who had previously worked with TCM helped facilitate a meeting between himself, Besen and the network, where the both of them pitched this idea.

“It was about a year of prep, because of figuring out who to talk to at TCM. We knew we wanted to do something with TCM,” Mintz said. “We had the material. It was a matter of who to present it to and we finally found the right people.”

Mintz said that TCM agreed to the pitch immediately because the channel had never done anything with Canada’s National Film Board before.

The 30 films are divided into time periods, with Mintz and his co-hosts providing context of what was happening in the animation industry and the world for each period, as well as behind-the-scenes stories and information about the techniques in the films.

“The stuff we were going to say was condensed, so every word meant something,” he said.

When selecting films, Mintz and Besen looked for those that exemplified different techniques and tones from a variety of filmmakers. They curated the order the films will be shown in so that there is a natural flow between the films.

“If you grew up in Canada, you probably saw a handful of these films,” Mintz said. “A hockey game would end early [on TV] and you would see Canada National Film Board films. It was stitched into our culture. So for me, watching a lot of these films, growing up in Canada, it brought me right back.”

Though the thirty films that will be screened are considered rare, Mintz said that this is what makes them and their creators worth watching and studying, and why one should tune in.

“I think if you open yourselves up to all different types of filmmaking you will no doubt be affected by it all, and all in different ways,” Mintz said.

Some of Mintz’s favorites include “The Big Snit,” “The Cat Came Back,” “Walking” and “When the Day Breaks,” but he recommends watching them all.

“If you imagine listening to a great piece of music or staring at a great piece of art and walking away and wanting to do something with that, well this is thirty things that are going to affect you like that. So you’re going to walk away with thirty different ways to do something and you will be inspired to create your own, and that’s why we’re doing this.”

Mintz said that the appearance, which was pre-recorded, went great and that he hopes to be able to do a similar show for films from the 2000s.

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