Hothouse 11: Call for Submissions

Malcolm SutherlandNEW DEADLINE: noon EST, Monday December 14, 2015
Program Dates: February 1 – April 22, 2016
Theme: Found Sound 2.0

Mentoring Director: Malcolm Sutherland

The National Film Board of Canada seeks submissions from emerging (young and not-so-young) Canadian filmmakers and artists intrigued by animation art, for the 11th edition of Hothouse, a 12-week paid apprenticeship in full-on, all-inclusive, real-world animation filmmaking.

This year, we’re embracing “the vernacular” by joining forces with NFB studios across the country to create a Hothouse all about grassroots filmmaking and collaboration. Successful applicants will work remotely from their corner of the country but hand in hand with the NFB studio in their region and within the loving arms of the Animation Studio in Montreal as the engine.

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.

THE THEME: Found Sound 2.0

Last year, we trolled the internet for audio clips that are intriguing, unusual, unnerving, or somehow full of subtext and hidden meaning. The creative payoff was so great that we want to do it again. This time, you can either use one of the available options (link below) or submit an audio clip of your choice that is either public domain or licensed under Creative Commons. If you have questions about rights and usage, just ask us! (Seriously ask us. If your submitted audio clip can’t be used, your proposal will be rejected.)

Found Sound begs for satire and subversion, so think of the audio as a springboard for your thoughts and see where it takes you. Don’t be afraid to re-interpret, comment on or play with the original meaning.

Listen here to the 14 available audio options


Submissions must be received by 5pm EST on Friday December 11, 2015, and must be sent via email (no snail mail submissions will be accepted). The six successful candidates will be notified by Friday, December 18, 2015.

Your proposal must be based on found sound. You are invited to use one audio selection from the options provided or to submit your own audio, on the condition that we can secure rights. You are free and expected to be imaginative and bold in how you interpret the sound.

You can propose any animation technique that is feasible within the Hothouse framework and with which you have ability. It’s important to reveal a thoughtful relationship between your concept and your chosen technique (whether hand-drawn, stop motion, 3D CGI, collage, 3D printing, stereoscopic 3D, mixed media, etc). We’re open to ideas that involve interactive or real-time elements (kinect, machinima, data visualisation, to name a few) but you must demonstrate a thoughtful reason behind the use of technology.

Your proposal must demonstrate that you have the necessary know-how to execute the project as proposed – including working in collaboration with the Hothouse 11 team across the country. The film must be done in the 12-week allotted timeframe. Project viability is a key deciding factor in the mentoring team’s selection process.

Your audio clip will form the basis of your sound design. No original music will be added. Sound effects, foley, and ambient sounds can be added if they help to support the overall concept and create cohesion. Be explicit about how you envision your sound design and whether the audio will be used as is, or whether edits or embellishments are important and why. In all cases, sound design and editing will be done by the Hothouse 11 Sound Designer at the NFB in Montreal.

We accept applications from any location across Canada. If selected, the location of your production will be determined by us based on participating NFB studios.

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 your choice of audio and the concept you want to convey. Include one paragraph outlining your space and equipment needs (what you have and what you think you will need in terms of hardware, software, cameras, lights, etc..). If you are submitting your own audio choice, then include copyright information indicating you are allowed to use it (if you have questions, please ask).

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 option. 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. Or, do a quick and dirty animation test and show off your potential.


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. Submissions should be in English and applicants should have strong oral and written English skills.

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, computational arts, 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 12-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. The thematic constraint 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 material.

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’re saying.

5. Remote production is not meant to be a challenge to the social aspects of Hothouse nor a shift toward a more independent production model, nor a cost-saver (because it ain’t!). Our goal is to give access to people who cannot relocate (ie due to disability or family obligations) and foster a closer relationship with artists and their local NFB teams in the hopes of nurturing a long-term relationship.

6. 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.

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


Submissions should be sent by email to

For more information, or for any questions, contact Associate Producer Jon Montes at


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 12 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 $7,000.

2. Ideas must be based on the proposed theme.

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.

4. Participants must be able and prepared to work full-time beginning February 1 until April 22, 2016.

5. Participants who are working remotely with NFB studios outside of Montreal must be willing to travel to Montreal for the first and last weeks. Applicants with a disability can note any travel restrictions in their application and we will be happy to accommodate. Travel arrangements for those living outside the Greater Montreal area will be made by the NFB in January. The NFB will pay for 2 single return trips to Montreal at the best possible rate. If you are relocating to the Greater Montreal for Hothouse to work in the Animation Studio, we can offer a modest stipend to help defray actual costs of local accommodation for the 12 weeks. Participants are responsible for finding their own housing.

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

7. Participants must be prepared to engage fully with the expectations of local and remote production, which includes mandatory video conference meetings, semi-frequent work-in-progress reviews and workshops, frequent discussions with producers and creative and technical crew locally and in Montreal, and frequent contribution to the Hothouse 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.

About Hothouse

Hothouse is an apprenticeship program for emerging Canadian filmmakers. Located in Montreal, Quebec, it was created in 2004 by NFB Animation Studio producers Michael Fukushima and David Verrall. The aim is to make animation more quickly and more flexibly in celebration of the shortest of short forms while maintaining the hallmarks of NFB animation: creative and technical excellence.

This is not “quick and dirty” but rather “intense and amazing.” Think of horticultural hothouses where gardeners create optimal growing conditions to encourage the flowering of exotic orchids and other blooms in weeks rather than months.

This program is for Canadian emerging creators from across the country with the imagination, vision, experience and enthusiasm to relish the Hothouse challenge, to flourish in the Hothouse environment, and to accomplish the making of a successful project within the program’s parameters.

Key aspects of Hothouse include the active participation of an experienced mentoring director, a team of NFB technical and post-production experts who support the filmmakers, and emphasis on the role of the producers as creative partners, all of which highlight the collaborative process of NFB filmmaking.

Hothouse takes place over 12 consecutive weeks. Neither funding nor school, Hothouse is a 3-month apprenticeship in real-world animation filmmaking.

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 74 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.

No Comments »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment

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.
Visit NFB iStore


Powered by WordPress