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

Felix Townsin, shown here with his sister, Lexi, who died on Oct. 19, 2019. Felix is a big part of a family initiative aimed at finding a cure for Blau Syndrome. (Photo contributed by the Townsin family)
Quest to cure Blau syndrome a family affair

John Stubbs student produces film for late little sister Lexi

An untitled Emily Carr painting of Finlayson Point was donated to the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria by brothers Ian and Andrew Burchett. The painting had been in their family for several decades. (Courtesy of the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria)
Newly public Emily Carr painting depicts well-known Victoria view

Painting among several donated to Art Gallery of Greater Victoria

An incident on Sooke Road is slowing traffic Wednesday evening. (Courtesy of Mona Hazeldine)
Sooke Road incident snarls evening traffic

Witnesses report two-vehicle collision

Janet Austin, lieutenant governor of B.C., was presented with the first poppy of the Royal Canadian Legion’s 2020 Poppy Campaign on Wednesday. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)
PHOTOS: B.C. Lieutenant Governor receives first poppy to kick off 2020 campaign

Janet Austin ‘honour and a privileged’ to receive the poppy

Soccer player Ethan Finnigan juggles the ball at Oak Bay High. The Grade 12 student was injured much of last year and was relying on his senior year to score a scholarship and play at university. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)
High school athletes remain on sidelines across B.C.

Recruiting for university on hiatus, future unknown

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count jumps by 287, another senior home outbreak

Two more deaths recorded, community outbreak in Okanagan

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Oct. 27

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

MMFN First Nation has said that it will restrict access to portion of Highway 28 that passes through the Nation’s land until a road use agreement is reached. (Black Press file photo)
Vancouver Island First Nation blocks highway access to logging trucks in Gold River

Mowachaht/Muchalaht First Nation restricting access for Western Forest Products pending road deal

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
Rescued bald eagle that came to life in B.C. man’s car had lead poisoning

Bird is on medication and recovering in rehab centre

The B.C. Centre for Disease control is telling people to keep an eye out for the poisonous death cap mushroom, which thrives in fall weather conditions. (Paul Kroeger/BCCDC)
Highly poisonous death cap mushroom discovered in Comox

This marks first discovery on Vancouver Island outside Greater Victoria area

Cowichan Search and Rescue set up near the Silver Bridge in Duncan on Wednesday morning, Oct. 28, 2020 to rescue a dog from the Cowichan River. (Citizen file)
Cowichan Search and Rescue save dog from icy Cowichan River

Search and Rescue’s swiftwater team was called in

Premier-elect John Horgan and cabinet ministers are sworn in for the first time at Government House in Victoria, July 18, 2017. (Arnold Lim/Black Press)
Pandemic payments have to wait for B.C. vote count, swearing-in

Small businesses advised to apply even if they don’t qualify

A raccoon paid a visit to a Toronto Tim Hortons on Oct. 22, 2020. (shecallsmedrew/Twitter)
Who are you calling a trash panda? Raccoon takes a shift at Toronto Tim Hortons

Tim Hortons said animal control was called as soon they saw the surprise visitor

Most Read