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Kaj Pindal Award

The Kaj Pindal Animated Person of the Year Award is given in honour to an individual or a group of individuals who make a lasting impression and uplift the world of animation through their work.

Past recipients include namesake Kaj Pindal, Ray Harryhausen, Marv Newland, Dean DeBlois and Blair Kitchen.

Attend the TAAFI Awards Saturday March 27th at 6:30pm to help us Celebrate Gerald Potterton and then watch The Potterton Retrospective!

Gerald Potterton - 2021 Recipient

This year we are honored to present the Kaj Pindal Person of the Year award to veteran animator, illustrator, producer and filmmaker Gerald Potterton. Gerald is a three-time Academy Award nominee and a key figure in the history of the National Film Board of Canada (NFB), along with Norman McLaren, Wolf Koenig, Grant Munro, Colin Low, Derek Lamb and, above all, his friend and collaborator Kaj Pindal. He has graciously agreed to be a part of the Toronto Animation Film Festival 2021 and will be receiving the award virtually during our closing night ceremonies. 

Trained at the Hammersmith School of Art in London, Gerald followed his service in the Royal Air Force by accepting a role as animator at Halas and Batchelor, where he worked on the British studio’s famed animated adaptation of George Orwell’s Animal Farm (1954). 

Inspired by a screening of the NFB’s animated short The Romance of Transportation in Canada (1952, directed by Colin Low), Gerald traveled to Canada in 1954 and was soon actively involved in the animation wave that shook the NFB in the early 1960s, receiving Oscar nominations for My Financial Career (1962) and Christmas Cracker (1963). He also ventured into live-action, directing legendary silent film comedian Buster Keaton in The Railrodder (1965), one of the NFB's most popular and celebrated films.

Back on his home turf in England in the late ‘60s, he worked on The Beatles’ iconic animated feature Yellow Submarine (1968, directed by George Dunning) and collaborated with playwright Harold Pinter on Pinter People (1968), a one-hour television special on the work of Pinter.

Returning to Canada, he formed Potterton Productions in 1968, producing countless animated shorts and features for film and television including Tiki Tiki (1971, directed by Potterton), The Selfish Giant (1971; Oscar nominee for animated short), Larry Kent's Fleur Bleue (1971), Michael Mills' The Happy Prince (1974) and The Little Mermaid (1975), and the 1973 live-action feature The Rainbow Boys, starring Donald Pleasence and directed by Potteron himself. 

In 1981 directed the cult classic Heavy Metal, marking its 40th anniversary with a special screening during taafi 2021.

With a stellar career spanning over 8 decades (and still going strong), Gerald has collaborated with such legends as Richard Williams, Jim Henson, Ivan Reitman, and even Ringo Starr, and recently published his latest work, “L’homme des Neiges: Histoire de Joseph-Armand Bombardier”, an illustrated biography for children about the inventor of the snowmobile.

This award ceremony can be described as one of a kind as Gerald Potterton and Kaj Pindal worked and collaborated together at the NFB and remained friends for life. As we present the Kaj Pindal Person of the Year 2021 award to him, this honour is from one legendary animator to another.

We are humbled to have him visit us virtually and are eager to learn a thing or two about animation from him. After all, they don’t make animators like these anymore.

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Kaj Pindal | 1927-2019

Born and raised in Denmark, animation great Kaj Pindal spent most of his long career in Canada, where he is best known for award winning work ranging from such NFB shorts as What on Earth, to the PBS series based on his most beloved character, Peep. He is also well remembered and deeply missed as a teacher of animation, particularly for his time on faculty at Sheridan where he inspired 100’s of students to, themselves, strive for greatness.

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