Creative Process: Norman McLaren by Donald McWilliams, National Film Board of Canada

“One reason why I chose film was there are very few traditions in filmmaking, and, so it seemed to me here is a medium that is full of possibilities and is just beginning to be explored.”Norman McLaren, Creative Process: Norman McLaren

Renowned animator and abstract filmmaker Norman McLaren made several award-winning films during his lifetime for the National Film Board of Canada, and now they are offering this nearly-two hour documentary, directed and edited by Donald McWilliams, on him to watch for free on their website. The documentary is structured with very few talking heads (the main one being McLaren himself), and, instead, puts the central focus on the remarkable images created by the director. This lack of diversion from the fertile visuals on-screen allows for a more comprehensive view of the director’s astounding work, which ranges from paintings to animated movies to live action short films. Even better, McLaren delves heavily into how he created a lot of his art and their illusory effects—much of them still appearing to have been made by some kind of magic and retaining their hypnotic qualities decades after they were conceived. McLaren has been venerated as one of the world’s greatest cinematic artists, and after watching Creative Process it isn’t difficult to see why: the ingenuity of his craft is often unbelievable.