(February 19, 2017 – Montréal, QC) As the Academy Awards approach, starting today Canadians can watch Theodore Ushev’s Oscar-nominated National Film Board of Canada (NFB) animated short Blind Vaysha online and free of charge. The 8-minute film will be available right up to the Academy Awards on February 26, when you should tune in to see if Canada takes home the Oscar.
It’s the first Academy Award nomination for Usher (pictured below) and the 74th for the NFB, which has received more Oscar nominations than any other film organization based outside of Hollywood.
The title comes from the animated character’s name. Vaysha is a young girl but unlike other girls. Vaysha is trapped in time: her left eye sees only the past while her right eye sees only the future. Like a terrible curse, Vaysha’s split vision prevents her from living in the present. Blinded by what was and tormented by what will be, she’s unable to see the reality that exists in the present. In this animated film adapted from the philosophical short story by Georgi Gospodinov, Ushev uses an expressive and powerful style poised halfway between religious paintings and linocuts, creating a film that is both symbolic and accessible. Featuring bucolic European landscapes and Benedictine architecture, and brilliantly narrated by actress Caroline Dhavernas, Blind Vaysha is a captivating metaphoric tale about the difficulty of being in the here and now.
Theodore Ushev was born in Kyustendil, Bulgaria, in 1968 and graduated from the National Academy of Fine Arts in Sofia. He first made a name for himself as a poster artist in his native country before settling in Montreal in 1999 where he quickly established himself as a prolific, award-winning animator, working mainly with the NFB. Blind Vaysha is Ushev’s most acclaimed film to date, with almost 20 Canadian and international honours to its credit. It was produced at the NFB by Marc Bertrand and executive producer Julie Roy, with the participation of ARTE France.
The 89th Academy Awards will take place February 26, 2017, at Hollywood’s Dolby Theatre. The NFB has won 12 Oscars over its 78-year history, including a 1989 Honorary Academy Award for overall excellence in cinema.
Blind Vaysha is also currently nominated for the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television Award for Best Animated Short, to be presented at the 5th Canadian Screen Awards in March.
Watch Blind Vaysha free online.