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Evelyn Lambart

Biography

Evelyn Lambart

Born in Ottawa in 1914, Evelyn Lambart was encouraged to pursue the arts by her parents, who were artists themselves. As a child, she was already trying her hand at painting and photography. She received formal training in commercial art at the Ontario College of Arts, rounding out her studies in math and physics. This eclectic education would prove useful throughout her career.

She came to the National Film Board of Canada in 1942 after gaining experience as a colourist while working on The Book of Remembrance, which contains the names of Canadians who fought and died in World War I.

When Evelyn Lambart first arrived at the NFB, her primary functions involved preparing maps and diagrams—essential components of the World in Action series, which continued until 1945. In 1947, she undertook her first film, The Impossible Map (1947), for which she painted world maps on grapefruits. In 1949, she directed two sequences of Challenge: Science Against Cancer.

Evelyn Lambart was McLaren’s closest collaborator. She worked at his side daily from 1944 to 1965. Their long collaboration was based on mutual respect and began to fully develop in 1949 when they co-directed Begone Dull Care, an innovative piece they created by painting directly on 35 mm film to produce textures without having to worry about the restrictions of photograms. Among the many films on which she collaborated with McLaren are the following, which she co-directed: Rythmetic (1956), Lines Vertical (1960), Lines Horizontal (1962) and Mosaic (1965). She also collaborated on Le merle (1958), Short and Suite (1959) and A Chairy Tale (1957).

In 1951, Lambart independently directed O Canada using the stereoscopic technique. In the early 1960s, she worked exclusively on her own films, making strong use of paper and linoleum cut-outs against coloured backgrounds. She directed seven finely crafted short animation films that earned her numerous awards: Feathers Fine (1968), The Hoarder (1969), Paradise Lost (1970), The Story of Christmas (1973), Mr. Frog Went A-Courting (1974), The Lion and the Mouse (1976) and The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse (1980).

Evelyn Lambart was a pioneer in Canada’s animation circles and for nearly 25 years was the only woman directing animated films at the NFB.

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