Grant Munro (filmmaker)

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.[1]

Grant Munro
Grant Munro Filmmaker (cropped).JPG
Born(1923-04-25)April 25, 1923
DiedDecember 9, 2017(2017-12-09) (aged 94)
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
OccupationFilmmaker, animator
Years active1945–1988
AwardsBest Short Documentary
1952 Neighbours

Early lifeEdit

Munro was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba.[2] He had a sister, Gail, and a brother, Brian.[3]

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.[2] 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.[4]


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.[1] 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.[3] He went on to collaborate with McLaren on the films Two Bagatelles (1953), Seven Surprizes (1963), Christmas Cracker (1963) and Canon (1964).[5]

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;[4] and Animated Motion (parts 1–5, 1976–8) and McLaren on McLaren (1983), which documented the work and philosophy of his colleague Norman McLaren.[1] He also directed See You in the Funny Papers (1983), which examined the life and work of cartoonist Lynn Johnston.[6]

Munro retired from the National Film Board in 1988.[6]


Awards and honorsEdit

The 1962 short Christmas Cracker was nominated for an Academy Award[1] 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.[5]

On June 20, 2007 Concordia University awarded Munro an honorary doctorate in recognition of his legacy for generations of filmmakers.[7]

On October 10, 2008, Grant Munro was made an Officer in the Order of Canada by Governor General Michaëlle Jean.[5] The backgrounder to the award read as follows:

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.[8]

Grant Munro RediscoveredEdit

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, edited, 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.[9]


Munro died of an unspecified illness in Montreal on December 9, 2017 at the age of 94.[3]


  1. ^ a b c d "Grant Munro: Overview of work". Focus on Animation – ONF. National Film Board of Canada. 2006. Archived from the original on 2008-08-04. Retrieved 2008-10-24.
  2. ^ a b Starr, Cecile (1994). "Conversations with Grant Munro and Ishu Patel: The Influence of Norman McLaren and the National Film Board of Canada". Animation Journal. AJ Press: 52.
  3. ^ a b c Ethan Vlessing (December 11, 2017). "Canadian Film, Animation Legend Grant Munro Dies at 94". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 11, 2017.
  4. ^ a b Beattie, Eleanor Gale (1973). A Handbook of Canadian Film. P. Martin Associates. p. 173. ISBN 0-88778-074-1.
  5. ^ a b c "Grant Munro, 'Canadian animation legend,' dead at 94". The Star. December 11, 2017. Retrieved December 11, 2017.
  6. ^ a b Lenburg, Jeff (2006). Who's Who in Animated Cartoons. Hal Leonard. p. 252. ISBN 1-55783-671-X.
  7. ^ "News releases - Concordia University". Archived from the original on 2007-10-10. Retrieved 2012-03-02.
  8. ^ "Governor General to invest 20 recipients into the Order of Canada". Archived from the original on 2008-11-13. Retrieved 2012-08-29.
  9. ^ " | Film Exhibitions | 2003 | Grant Munro Rediscovered". Archived from the original on 2008-05-16. Retrieved 2012-08-29.

External linksEdit