Blackfly (1991)

If you’re Canadian, you know about the dreaded blackfly. Hardy and persistent, they proliferate and irritate in the forests of Northern Ontario during the spring and summer.

In the animated short film Blackfly, we get an interpretation of a song by Wade Hemsworth written in 1949 after he worked in the forests of Northern Ontario. A surveyor is sent to the Little Abitibi River to work on a dam, and everywhere he went, blackflies followed. The insects plagued the crew, devouring them on land and in water, partying in their tea, swarming in dense clouds as the bears and moose look on at the human discomfort. When the job is done, the crew and woodland animals leave the north wood and the newly built dam, with the surveyor vowing never to return, bested by the pesky flies.

The frenetic animation was created by Christopher Hinton, who has made short animated films for the NFB and taught animation at Concordia University. Blackfly was Nominated in 1992 for Best Animated Short at the Oscars.

Review by Carolyn Mauricette

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Animated Stories, Oscars

Canadian connection

Directed by Christopher Hinton
The music was arranged by Kate and Anna McGarrigle, the acclaimed Canadian composers and musicians. They sang The Log Driver’s Waltz, also written by Wade Hemsworth for the cartoon of the same name.