April 25, 1923|
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
|Died||December 9, 2017
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
|Awards||Best Short Documentary
Grant Munro, OC (April 25, 1923 – December 9, 2017) was a Canadian animator, filmmaker and actor. In 1952, he starred with Jean-Paul Ladouceur in Norman McLaren's Neighbours. He worked on the films Two Bagatelles (1953), Seven Surprizes (1963), Christmas Cracker (1963) and Canon (1964). His film, Christmas Cracker, was nominated for an Academy Award in 1962.
He was educated at the Robert H. Smith school, Queenston school, and Gordon Bell High, before attending the Musgrove School of Art and the Winnipeg School of Art. Earning an honor diploma from the Ontario College of Art in 1944, he then joined the National Film Board, Canada's public film producer and distributor.
His work as an animator first won note during 1945, setting the songs "My Darling Clementine" and "The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze" to animated cut-outs. In 1952, he furthered his reputation by co-starring with Jean-Paul Ladouceur in Norman McLaren's Neighbours, a film which used the technique known as "pixilation" (a term coined by Munro) and which won both a Canadian Film Award and an Academy Award. He went on to collaborate with McLaren on the films Two Bagatelles (1953), Seven Surprizes (1963), Christmas Cracker (1963) and Canon (1964).
In the 1970s, Munro's focus shifted to documentaries. He directed: Tours en l'air (1973), a film about work of dancers Anna Marie and David Holmes; Boo Hoo (1974), which concerned a cemetery and crematorium in Saint John, New Brunswick; and Animated Motion (parts 1–5, 1976–8) and McLaren on McLaren (1983), which documented the work and philosophy of his colleague Norman McLaren. He also directed See You in the Funny Papers (1983), which examined the life and work of cartoonist Lynn Johnston.
Munro retired from the National Film Board in 1988.
The 1962 short Christmas Cracker was nominated for an Academy Award and won a Golden Gate Award. Canon (1964) won the Canadian Film Award for Best Arts and Experimental; and The Animal Movie (1966) won a plate at the Venice Film Festival.
Grant Munro is a pioneering animator and filmmaker. One of the earliest and longest-serving members of the National Film Board of Canada, he developed innovative techniques that influenced both the film industry and other animators. He produced films that were used as public education tools in schools across Canada, and collaborated with the Montreal Children’s Hospital to create educational films for children with learning disabilities. As well, he was involved in making several award-winning film's and has been an inspiring role model and dedicated mentor to several generations of young filmmakers.
On December 4, 2003, the Museum of Modern Art paid tribute to him with Grant Munro Rediscovered, a retrospective program of his work:
On the occasion of Grant Munro’s eightieth birthday and the release of a new DVD, Cut-Up: The Films of Grant Munro, the Museum of Modern Art pays tribute to this seminal but under-recognized animator. Working from within the historic Animation Unit of the National Film Board of Canada from 1945 through the early 1970s, Munro directed, produced, shot, ed, and even acted in some of the most significant hand-drawn and pixilated animation ever made. A frequent collaborator with Norman McLaren, Munro brought a wicked wit and sublime grace to the art.