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August 22, 2019

6 Things to Know About the Animated Documentary WALL

The debut feature-length animated documentary by Calgary filmmaker Cam Christiansen has been a hit on the global film-festival circuit.

Calgary filmmaker Cam Christiansen. Photograph courtesy of National Film Board.

WALL, the debut feature-length animated documentary by Calgary filmmaker (and Avenue Top 40 Under 40 Class of 2008 alumnus) Cam Christiansen, has been a hit on the global film-festival circuit and has been reviewed in The New York Times. You can see WALL at the Central Library on Aug. 24. Here are six things to know before you go.

  1. WALL is an adaptation of a monologue by internationally acclaimed playwright and screenwriter David Hare, a two-time Oscar-nominee for the films The Hours and The Reader. The film blends animation, narration and 3D image capture in the storytelling.
  2. The plot follows Hare as he tours Israel and Palestine for a philosophical look at what the controversial 708-kilometre border wall separating the nations reveals about the larger world.
  3. The film took around seven years to create. This was due in part to location work split between the Middle East, London, Calgary and Banff, plus the time-intensive animation process that required a team of 12.
  4. Christiansen has five credited roles on the project: director, animator, producer, editor and art direction/concept artist. He was hand-picked by the National Film Board of Canada to lead the project and create the artistic design for the film’s bold visual style.
  5. WALL isn’t a movie that takes a binary right or wrong look at its subject and doesn’t offer easy answers. Christiansen says his biggest hope for the film is that it serves to remind audiences that difficult, complex subjects are worth taking a thorough look at. Shying away from difficult topics or rushing to snap judgments only reinforces the walls — literal and figurative — between us.
  6. Christiansen will host a Q & A at the screening with special guest Marcello Di Cintio, an award-winning author (and Avenue contributor) whose book Walls: Travels Along the Barricades also deals with walls and their implications.

Visit the National Film Board of Canada’s website to watch the movie trailer and/or download the film

This article appears in the August 2019 issue of Avenue Calgary.

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