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Ryan animated film by Chris Landreth, from AFI

An animated documentary film by Chris Landreth: WITH ALL THE SURPRISES

Wow! Impressive! Imaginative! The list goes on. Academy Award nominated Canadian filmmaker, Chris Landreth, and his film, RYAN deserve recognition beyond a time when the mere idea of recognition may die out. Based on the life of animator, Ryan Larkin, a Canadian animator who produced influential and original animation at the National Film Board of Canada many years ago, the film chronicles a deceptive path and the life that led Larkin from ignited artistry to panhandling in Montreal and living on welfare.

The deception stems from both animators-one who continued what Larkin started and the other giving the audience wonderment. While Chris never quite reveals an answer to how and why Ryan Larkin followed such an unexpected path, he does create a story, delving into the mind of this once prominent animator. Chris Landreth creates himself as a 3d-animated documentarian interviewing Larkin and his associates. These voices speak “through strange, twisted, broken and disembodied 3D generated characters . . . people whose appearances are bizarre, humorous or disturbing.”

Chris could’ve chosen live-action depiction of Landreth, but his innovative animation style explains what no literal truth can. The intertwined ribbons of color wrapped around Chris’s brain, as a 3d character reflect, the confusion as a result of hearing Larkin speak. The confusion does not stem from Larkin’s incoherency, as he is “still artistically brilliant and acutely self-aware,” but rather from how and when such a present day genius will once again clear a path.

One has to only see this film to discover the brilliance within, a creative entity imagined and contrived by a filmmaker with a MS degree from The University of Illinois in Theoretical and Applied Mechanics and a professional background as an engineer. It was when Landreth began working for Alias/Wavefront that he created surrealist animation films. His short, THE END (1995), received an Academy Award nomination in 1996 for Best Animated Short Film. The producers, Steve Hoban, Marcy Page, Mark Smith, and Jeremy Edwardes made RYAN possible.

To find out how you can view Chris Landreth’s film please visit

Thanks to David Miller, Publicist NFB, and David Magdael, President TC:DM & Associates

By Michelle Paster


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