Curtis Horsburgh was recently selected as one of six emerging animators nation-wide to participate in the National Film Board of Canada’s renowned Hothouse mentorship program.

Curtis Horsburgh was recently selected as one of six emerging animators nation-wide to participate in the National Film Board of Canada’s renowned Hothouse mentorship program.

Local artist launches unique animation with National Film Board

It’s a concept that’s been brewing inside the mind of Curtis Horsburgh for a long time — creating an animation studio on wheels.

It’s a concept that’s been brewing inside the mind of Curtis Horsburgh for a long time — creating an animation studio on wheels.

As a youngster, Horsburgh was drawn to Volkswagon camper vans. The idea of travelling on a whim seemed kind of cool.

But the 29-year-old, who recently moved to Victoria, eventually realized that if he wanted to produce animation on the road, he needed a lot more space than a camper van. Thus, the idea of an old delivery truck was born, which Horsburgh has now converted into a mobile animation studio/camper so he can draw wherever his heart desires.

“I don’t like being in one place too long. I have my drawing table in there so I can drive out to the woods and just do nothing but draw and camp for a month if I want to,” said Horsburgh. “The animation industry is so spread out. I could get a call from California so I can be there really quickly.”

Originally from Calgary, Horsburgh’s unique style of animation is beginning to make some waves. He was recently selected as one of six emerging animators nation-wide to participate in the National Film Board (NFB) of Canada’s renowned Hothouse mentorship program.

Now in its 11 season, the Hothouse program is a 12-week paid apprenticeship program for emerging Canadian filmmakers that has helped kick start the careers of some of Canada’s most acclaimed animators. The aim is to re-imagine ways of making animation that are faster, more flexible and celebrate the shortest of short forms while maintaining creative and technical excellence.

This year marked the first time participants were able to work remotely with the NFB’s Oscar-winning Animation Studio in Montreal via their nearest NFB production studio. The theme was “Found Sound 2.0” — a reboot of last year’s successful concept, in which audio clips found on the web were used as creative inspiration.

Horsburgh made his short one-minute film, Fyoog, in the bedroom of a friend’s home in Saanich. Using stop motion and 2D, Fyoog tells a story about a dream on a train, inspired by found sound of a Toronto subway car. The idea popped into his head in the middle of a yoga class.

“I thought of a kid sitting on a train with a window right behind him. I can show he’s dreaming and the whole thing just kind of made sense,” said Horsburgh, who built a puppet for the film that involved a variety of mediums.

“It’s super tedious, but you do get lost in it, especially when you play it back. You can see how the movement is working and learn a lot doing it.”

Horsburgh began drawing at a young age, but never thought he could turn his hobby into a career. He attended the University of Alberta in Edmonton for three years, studying mathematical physics for one of those years, along with film studies and psychology.

But it (mathematical physics) wasn’t fun, he recalled, and after a year-and-a-half he knew what he needed to do.

“I took a psychology class about perception and it totally blew my mind. It was all about how do you trick the eye?” said Horsburgh, who loves people watching.

“I’m totally in observation mode. When you are really studying something, you are seeing details that you haven’t seen before.”

Horsburgh describes his art as surreal and playful, and would like to do more work with the NFB in the future. His technique and new take on animation bloggery is presented on



Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Cindy Foggit plays the lead role of Eliza in Passion and Performance’s film production Eliza: An Adaption of a Christmas Carol. (Courtesy of Rachel Paish)
Victoria adult dance studio releases modern adaption of A Christmas Carol

Instead of usual stage performance, dance studio turns to film

Braden Holtby’s new mask designed in collaboration with Luke Marston and David Gunnarsson. (Mike Wavrecan photo)
Vancouver Island Coast Salish artist unveils new mask for Canucks goalie

Braden Holtby’s new mask features artwork by Luke Marston inspired by the legend of the seawolf

Alan Tudyk stars as Alien Harry Vanderspeigel in the new series Resident Alien (Photo by: James Dittinger/SYFY)
Resident Alien brings Vancouver Island to the small screen with January premiere

Quirky series shot in Ladysmith will air every Wednesday on the CTV Sci-Fi Channel

Comox-based cinematographer Maxwel Hohn’s new documentary captures the lives of Vancouver Island’s coastal wolves. Photo courtesy Maxwel Hohn.
New mini-documentary shot on Vancouver Island echoes the ‘call of the coastal wolves’

Photography heavyweights from B.C. come together for Maxwel Hohn’s second wildlife documentary

The 2021 Victoria Film Festival includes Vancouver Island produced feature film All-in Madonna. The festival looks a bit different this year, but film-lovers can still expect a full and diverse lineup. (Courtesy of VFF)
Victoria Film Festival returns with virtual viewing

Lineup features 50 films including Vancouver Island-produced All-in Madonna

Jorie Benjamin does a modern dance performance to ‘La Vie en rose’ by Édith Piaf, Louis Gugliemi and Marguerite Monnot, choreographed by Elise Sampson during the Cowichan Music Festival’s Highlights Concert at the Cowichan Performing Arts Centre on March 1, 2020. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Cowichan Music Festival cancelled for 2021

The festival had already been limited to solo performances only for 2021

<em>Chinook Salmon: Breaking Through</em> by B.C.’s Mark Hobson was selected among 13 entries as the winner of the Pacific Salmon Foundation’s Salmon Stamp Competition.
Stained-glass lighting casts a win to B.C. salmon artist

Painting of chinook is Mark Hobson’s third win in annual contest

Apollonian means “serene, calm, or well-balanced; poised & disciplined”. The natural photo art for the album includes Vancouver Island mountains, rivers and beaches. Scenes from the Cowichan River, Witchcraft Lake, Pipers Lagoon, Wall Beach and other popular Island recreation destinations accentuate the album. (RICHIErichieRichie Music Publishing photo)
Serenity Now! Richie Valley debuts third LP dubbed Apollonian

Apollonian means “serene, calm, or well-balanced; poised & disciplined”

Victoria artist Noah Layne is conducting online workshops on portrait drawing as part of the Metchosin ArtPod’s About Face portrait show. (Photo courtesy of Noah Layne)
Metchosin Art Pod doing an about-face

Renowned artist Noah Layne hosting online classes in portrait drawing

This weekend Amy Pye is holding a virtual book launch for her latest children’s book, <em>Bruce the Silly Goose</em>. (Photo courtesy Amy Pye)
Victoria writer and illustrator pens children’s book about COVID-19 safety

Amy Pye to hold online book launch for ‘Bruce the Silly Goose’

The pantomime ‘Snow White and the 5 Dwarfs’ has been cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions. (Submitted)
Pantomime cancelled in Cowichan due to COVID restrictions

A partnership of the Cowichan Musical Society, the Shawnigan Players, and the Mercury Players.

A rendering shows the entrance planned for the Hornby Island Arts Centre. Image supplied
Work on Hornby Island Arts Centre to start this month

Community worked with award-winning architectural firm on design

Western Edge Theatre artistic director Brian March and local theatre artists Brianna Hamilton and Daniel Puglas (from left) make up Western Edge’s new team of “artistic associates.” (News Bulletin file photos/Courtney Harder)
Nanaimo theatre company adds younger, diverse voices to artistic team

Western Edge hopes new ‘artistic associates’ will help form new ideas, reach new audiences

Most Read