Oscar shorts: Making a boring ‘Sunday’ afternoon not boring

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One challenge inherently facing short-film makers is how to tell a complete story in a brief format. Some of this year’s Oscar-shortlisted directors are discovering that their shorts are better suited to feature films now in the works. But for Patrick Doyon, the director of the animated film “Dimanche” (Sunday), which is in the running for an Oscar, the challenge was less about time and more about the subject of his 10-minute short.

“The challenge of making this film was to do a film about boredom without being boring,” Doyon, 32, said.


The film is inspired by Doyon’s Sundays as a child, going to his grandparents’ house after church, surrounded by a gathering of adults. In ‘Sunday,’ the adults are fretfully chatting about the town factory that has been closed down, while a village boy looks for something to do.

“It’s a portrait of a remote region where there’s less and less children and their communities are getting older and older,” the Montreal-based animator said. “There’s the feeling that the child is maybe one of the only children in this village and there’s really nothing to do.”

Doyon animated the film by drawing each frame with various types of pencils and then colored it digitally. He also used traditional 2-D animation techniques for his short films “32:11” and “Square Roots.”

“Square Roots” was made for the National Film Board of Canada’s Hothouse animation apprenticeship program. “Sunday” is Doyon’s first professional film made for NFB. The organization also backed fellow Oscar-shortlisted film “Wild Life.”

“What this kind of support [from NFB] gives is primarily a peace of mind. To have that kind of support and recognition means I can concentrate on making the film… [Without NFB] it would have taken a lot longer to have been produced,” Doyon said.

Doyon hopes to explore the concept of different generations again in a future short and is currently working on illustrating a children’s book.


“Sunday” is available for purchase on NFB’s website, which is streaming the film for free until Monday.


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— Emily Rome