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Frédéric Back


B: April 8, 1924 in Saarbrücken, Germany
D: December 24, 2013 in Montréal, Québec

Frédéric Back was an Academy Award-winning animator. Born in Germany, Back came to Canada, specifically Montreal, in 1948. He worked first as a teacher at that city’s renowned École des Beaux-Arts de Montréal but in 1952 he joined the graphics department of Radio-Canada (CBC). In 1980, he was nominated for an Academy Award for Animated Short Film for his film Tout rien. In 1982, he won an Academy Award for Animated Short Film for his film Crac!, which tells the story of the evolution of Québec society through the life of a rocking chair. The rocking chair has particular significance in the history of the province and was used as a way to illustrate the rapidly changing world of that time. It was part of a CBC DVD released in 2001 titled La chaise berçante (The Rocking Chair) that also contained clips from a television interview Back gave discussing his work. mtIn 1987, he won his second Academy Award for Animated Short Film for L’homme qui plantait des arbres. In 1994, he was again nominated for an Academy Award for Animated Short Film, for Le fleuve aux grandes eaux. In addition to his work in film, Back created a massive stained glass mural entitled L’histoire de la musique à Montréal which was installed at the Place-des-Arts Metro station. Unveiled on December 20, 1967, this stained glass was the first work of art to be commissioned for the city’s Metro subway system. In 1989, Back was nominated for Governor General’s Award in the Children’s Literature – Illustration category for L’Homme qui plantait des arbres. In 1989, he was made a Knight of the National Order of Quebec. In 1990, he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada. In 2004, he was awarded the Eco-Hero Media Award from the Planet in Focus film festival. Back was 89 when he died of cancer in Montréal. These are his credits as writer-director-animator.