Island premiere of Uncle Bob’s Hospital Visit
by JoDee Samuelson
Every time I start another film it seems like I’ll be working on it forever. My life gets swallowed up in frames and seconds. I don’t even dare think of getting to the end because it seems so impossibly far away.
Yet here I am with another film “in the can.” When I started this filmmaking lark, footage was sent to the lab in a canister and came back in a can. Those days are over for me: I have entered the digital age. My new film Uncle Bob’s Hospital Visit was created on a Mac computer using Photoshop, AfterEffects and a Wacom tablet. After writing a story and creating a storyboard, I worked my way image by image through 20,160 frames. How did I ever do it?
It was my mother who gave me the idea. She was having the final hospital visit of her life, and from her sickbed she whispered, “You should do a film about Rules For Visiting Sick People.” “What rules, Mom?” I asked, grabbing a pen and paper. “Don’t,” she said, “wear perfume. Don’t bring smelly flowers. Don’t talk about troubles…are you writing this down?” “Yes, Mom, I am.” “Good,” she sighed, and continued on.
Several years later, having finished my film Mabel’s Saga, I was flipping through my sketchbooks when I came across Mother’s list of hospital do’s and don’ts. Somehow I knew it would make a good film. Kent Martin of the NFB agreed. Uncle Bob started to turn into a real character.
A short animated film usually takes three to four years for one person to complete. Uncle Bob was no exception. I started in 2005 and here we are in 2008. Along the way I’ve had the most important help of all: interest and encouragement from my friends. My son Hans took care of technical details. Echo Lau played a Debussy piano piece for an important part of the film. Sylvia Abikattar-Mutch, Cef Pobjoy and Jon Matthews sang the lovely round which accompanies the end credits. Laurel Smyth and Rob MacLean created all the women’s and men’s voices. Dave Ward recorded Rob and Laurel in my kitchen, with squirrels and crows competing for attention outside the window. Amelie Gallant pipes in as Uncle Bob’s little granddaughter.
The sound track was created by veteran composer Norman Roger and his talented assistant Pierre-Yves Drapeau. Stan Carew of CBC’s “Week-End Morning” narrated the English version, Quebec folk musician Tex Lecor narrated the French. Both versions will be shown at the up-coming screening.
I’m looking forward to seeing Uncle Bob’s Hospital Visit on the big screen! Hope you’ll like it too.
There will be two free public screenings of Uncle Bob’s Hospital Visit, in English and French, at City Cinema on Sunday, June 22 at 2 and 3 pm. Reception to follow at 4 pm.
Uncle Bob’s Hospital Visit is a production of the National Film Board of Canada. Producer Kent Martin.