“A Day in the Life” with Animation Filmmaker Marielle Dalpé

Equal parts fierce and stubborn, Marielle Dalpé channels a remarkable emotional sensitivity in her work. The young animation filmmaker has a penchant for experimentation, both in form and technique. This can be seen in her ethereal mural painting in the box office of the Théâtre d’Aujourd’hui, in their series of five artist video bios, and in the live projections in Pas Perdu, a play by Anaïs Barbeau-Lavalette and Émile Proulx-Cloutier. Marielle has also worked with The Musical Box, bringing their album artwork to life for projections during their live performances, and with the installation-focused company Lucion for a projection-mapping spectacle honouring the Canadian forces in Vimy, France.

Her debut animated short, Aphasia, produced by the National Film Board of Canada, premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival this year, and is a striking gaze into the crumbling prison of the debilitating and degenerative condition Alzheimer’s disease. At times harsh and confronting, it is an extremely sensitive film that leans away from sentimentality and into experientialism, leading you by the hand into the mind grinder of words, like a knife in the gut, before gently fading away.

A graduate of the film animation program at Concordia University, Marielle Dalpé now lives and works in her home city of Montreal, drawing from its history and her own proud Quebecoise identity in her delicate, textured work.

-Written by Max Woodward, filmmaker, producer at Confettis Production, and Marielle’s partner

Marielle Dalpé
Lately, my life has been very project-oriented, but when I have time to sit and create I do it here in my little studio. I got it after I finished my film Aphasia. I love the windows and the light.
Marielle Dalpé
A new addition to my life is going to a lot more film festivals. This is my partner Max and me at my film premiere at TIFF.
First time doing a mural! It was a bit outside my comfort zone, but I worked at the Centre du Théâtre d’Aujourd’hui box office for years and loved it. I was very happy to be asked and there was no way I was going to turn it down.
My balcony. I sit there almost every day. I love how much sky we can see from it.
For my project Dérailler, I took the train roundtrip from Toronto to Vancouver and made a film during the trip. It was an amazing experience! This was me editing on my way back, crossing the Prairies.
I did everything on the train for Dérailler—filming, editing, compositing, sound recording and sound editing. Now that I’m back in Montreal and doing post-production, I’m cleaning the sound up for my mix later this fall.
Marielle Dalpé
I’m working on a graphic novel about aeroplanes and the Royal Canadian Air Force. This is me doing research, i.e., flying a Cessna aircraft near Vancouver. I met a pilot on the train while making Dérailler and I couldn’t say no to this opportunity.
Marielle Dalpé
Most of these are project-related photos. I just don’t take a lot of pictures in my life in general, but here’s one of a submarine made from wooden blocks that I made one afternoon with my sister-in-law, my nephew, and my niece. Most times, all I want is to be with them and play.


Which ‘hood are you in?

I live in the Plateau-Mont-Royal, right beside Parc Lafontaine.

What do you do?

I’m an animation filmmaker who dabbles in illustration. Lately, I’ve also been doing some compositing for other animation films.

What are you currently working on?

I like to have multiple projects on the go but at different stages of creation. So right now, I’m working on a graphic novel, I’m in the middle of post-production for my next experimental short film, called Dérailler, and I’m doing the compositing for another NFB production. Of course, I’m also starting to think about my next film.

Where can we find your work?

My film Aphasia is screening at film festivals right now. It will eventually be available on NFB across Canada after its festival run. So, keep an eye out! I did some animation for the play Pas Perdus: documentaires scéniques, which has been touring and will be shown at the Duceppe Theatre in Montreal in February and Le Grand Théâtre de Québec in Quebec City in June. There’s also the mural I painted for the Centre du Théâtre d’Aujourd’hui (3900 St-Denis) that you can see in their hall at the box office.