Melting Animals

Melting Animals was a family-friendly selection of two programs of animated short films aimed at children and young people. Featuring handmade and digital animation from around the world, this virtual program at MAG will inspire younger audiences through the mind-expanding experience of cinema. This is your invitation to explore the magic of the natural world using everyday objects, rhythms, and textures. Melting Animals is a creative tool that offers a variety of simple techniques that we hope will motivate you to experiment at home.

PROGRAM 2: Was streamed from December 21, 2020 through January 4, 2021

Linear Dreams
The Animal Movie

Richard Reeves | Canada | 7:00 | 1997
Color | Sound | transferred from 16mm

“The sound of a heartbeat pumps life into ‘Linear Dreams’, a scratch animation film that moves from the simple lines of the unconscious to representational realism.” – Toronto International Film Festival, 1997

Courtesy of the Canadian Filmmakers Distribution Centre.

Grant Munro & Ron Tunis | Canada | 9:49 | 1966
Color | Sound | transferred from 16mm

An animated cartoon to help children explore why and how animals move as they do. A little boy discovers that he cannot compete with a monkey, a snake or a horse by imitating the way they move. He can only outdistance them when he climbs into a vehicle that can travel in any environment, proving that the human capacity for technological invention creates a wholly different relationship to our environment.

Courtesy of the National Film Board of Canada.

Bead Game
August Song

Ishu Patel | Canada | 5:00 | 1977
Color | Sound | transferred from 16mm

In this animated short, thousands of beads are arranged and manipulated, assuming shapes of creatures both mythical and real. They continually devour, merge, and absorb one another in explosions of color.

Courtesy of the National Film Board of Canada.

Jodie Mack and Emily Kuehn in collaboration with Roommate | USA | 5:45 | 2011
Color | Sound | transferred from 16mm

A kaleidoscopic magic carpet ride of a cat through an overflowing universe of color, textures, and movement. Combining formal elements from abstract animation with structural film, Mack’s handmade films use collage techniques to liberate the kinetic energy of recycled and domestic materials to explore the relationship between fine-art abstraction and mass-produced graphic design.

Courtesy of the Artist.

Set in Motion

Jane Aaron | Music: Donald Fagen
USA | 4:00 | 1986
Color | Sound | transferred from 16mm

Filmed in Aaron’s home studio on Reade Street in Tribeca. A rhythmic free-flowing vision of captured moments from daily life culminates in a visual punch line… the overwhelming accumulation of clutter from the day (and from making this movie).

Courtesy of

PROGRAM 1: Was streamed from December 7 through December 21, 2020

Blinkity Blank
Sea Song

Blinkity Blank
Norman McLaren | Canada | 5:00 | 1955

This experimental short film by Norman McLaren is a playful exercise in intermittent animation and spasmodic imagery. Playing with the laws relating to persistence of vision and after-image on the retina of the eye, McLaren engraves pictures on blank film creating vivid, percussive effects.

Courtesy of the National Film Board of Canada.

Richard Reeves | Canada | 4:15 | 1999

This animated film flows through a vibrant underwater landscape, shown at night time. Sound and picture are drawn directly on film – cameraless animation.

Courtesy of the Canadian Filmmakers Distribution Centre.


Al Jarnow | USA | 3:12 | 1977

Staging “natural souvenirs”—seashells, stones, sticks, strands of seaweed—in hypnotic, gently pulsing animations, this film is a paean to magical hours spent idly on the shore: imaginary kingdoms and elaborate games, abandoned when the tide rolls in. “Instead of showing the sea itself,” wrote William Costanzo in Film Library Quarterly, “the camera evokes the sounds, smells, shapes and textures of ocean life with a playful and imaginative assembly of sea-spawned memorabilia.”

Courtesy of the Artist.

Allison Schulnik | USA | 3:15 | 2019

MOTH is a traditionally animated, hand painted, gouache-on-paper film. The constantly evolving insect transforms into larvae, serpents, other brightly colored moths, and a human to the song Gnossienne No. 1 by Erik Satie, performed by Nedelle Torrisi. MOTH seeded and bloomed from the simple act of a moth hitting Schulnik’s studio window and continues as “a wandering through the primal emotions of birth, motherhood, body, nature, metamorphosis and dance.”

Courtesy of the Artist and P·P·O·W, New York.

Wasteland Number 2

Jodie Mack | USA | 6:40 | 2019

“Can it be true,” said the first leaf, “can it really be true, that others come to take our places when we’re gone and after them still others, and more and more?” “It really is true,” whispered the second leaf. “We can’t even begin to imagine it, it’s beyond our powers.” “It makes me very sad,” added the first leaf. They were very silent a while.” (Bambi, a Life in the Woods (1923) Felix Salten)

Courtesy of the Artist.

This video contains strobe effects and rapidly flashing lights. Warning to those who are sensitive.

Caitlin Craggs | USA | 2:43 | 2015

A juicy moving picture about words, history, and a beloved, often overlooked fruit. TOMATO is the first in a series of bite-sized, visually funny films that reconsider some of the most humble and ubiquitous foods on our plate— the ways we define and consume them, and also how those foods might be defining us.

Courtesy of the Artist.

READ: MAG’s ‘Melting Animals’ animated shorts activate imagination ~ CITY Newspaper

READ: Animated Shorts About the Magic of the Everyday World ~ Hyperallergic

Thank you to the Art Bridges Foundation for their funding of this educational outreach program.

Art Bridges

The Memorial Art Gallery is extremely grateful for the National Film Board of Canada’s generous in-kind support.