Ann Marie Fleming's animated Holocaust short gets into Canada's Top Ten

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      The Toronto International Film Festival announced selections for its 10th annual Canada’s Top Ten, a collection of the 10 best Canadian features and 10 best short films that have premiered at a major Canadian film festival or had a commercial Canadian release during the past year.

      Among them, one title hailed from B.C.: the NFB animated documentary short “I Was a Child of Holocaust Survivors”. The film, which screened at the Vancouver International Film Festival in October, is local filmmaker Ann Marie Fleming’s adapation of Toronto author Bernice Eisenstein’s illustrated memoir.

      TIFF Short Cuts Canada programmer and Canadian programming coordinator Magali Simard said by phone from Toronto that the film was chosen from among almost 100 shorts by a voting panel. “TIFF as an organization has been following Ann Marie’s work for years now.”¦She’s a very good example of when people say, ”˜Well, if there’s certainly one thing we do well in film in Canada, it’s animation.’ Her name should be in bright lights under that rubric.”

      Simard praised Fleming for balancing seemingly incongruous elements. “It [the short] takes global trauma and brings it to a very personal and honest voice.”¦I have not seen it before where such a short film tackles this really big and very covered subject.”¦It is such a different take but done with humour, which is a really hard thing to succeed at.”¦It ends up being absolutely tasteful, gorgeous, and acute.”

      Fleming, who attended the announcement in Toronto alongside Eisenstein, is best known for her 2003 animated documentary The Magical Life of Long Tack Sam. Fleming, who isn’t of Jewish heritage, told the Straight prior to VIFF that this film was the first time she had adapted someone else’s work.

      Canada’s Top Ten will screen in Toronto and Ottawa, and at Vancouver’s Pacific Cinémathí¨que (1131 Howe Street) from February 18 to 24, 2011.