SHORT STACK: Lost and Found


John and Michael


Triptych of three golden-toned stylized clay on glass Illustration images:

Five characters of varying sizes and a small cat pose together, smiling. A character in front sits in a wheelchair.

A male character sits sleeping, his head resting on the table. In a dream, an angel-like bird, with the man’s face and large wings, leaves the man’s body and flies upward.  

Headshot of Director Shira Avni, a Caucasian woman with short dark hair and green eyes, who is smiling slightly

John is very, very big. And Michael was very, very small. They lived in a group home. They grew up together.  And they are very good friends.

The Short

The animated short film JOHN AND MICHAEL tells the touching story of two men with Down Syndrome who share an intimate, loving relationship that extends even beyond death. Animated with clay, backlit on glass, the scenes shimmer and dissolve with a beautiful, dream-like quality as narrator Brian Davis—who is also intellectually challenged—brings these men’s story to life.

Filmmaker Bios

Headshot of Director Shira Avni, a Caucasian woman with short dark hair and green eyes, who is smiling slightly

Shira Avni

Born in Petakh Tikvah, Israel in 1974, Shira Avni was raised in Montreal. An incorrigible doodler with a flair for puppet making, Avni was destined to turn her talents to animation. She graduated from Concordia University in 1998 with a B.F.A. in Animation. Her student work earned her the Dean's Award in 1997 and the Cinema Prize the following year. Her first film, 48 Second Blues, won Best Animated Video at the Montreal World Film Festival's student competition in 1997.

A headshot of Michael Fukushima, a bald Asian man, who is smiling broadly

Michael Fukushima

Michael Fukushima has been directing and producing animation films since 1984—independently, commercially and for the National Film Board of Canada. On the strength of his first auteur film, Tako, Fukushima was invited to the National Film Board's Animation Studio in 1990. Two years later, he completed the award-winning animated documentary, Minoru: Memory of Exile.

Fukushima has also taught at Concordia University in Montreal. His credits range from abstract animation to kid's animation to documentaries, interactive Web productions and more. His recent productions include the Animation Hothouse project and the experimental cNote by veteran filmmaker Chris Hinton. Fukushima's current productions include a CG short on adoption and vegetables and HA'Aki, an interactive installation and film co-production with Habitat. His short film, A MONSTER’S CALLING, appeared on Independent Lens in 2004.

View film credits >>

Get the Video/DVD

DVD and VHS copies of JOHN AND MICHAEL are available from:
The National Film Board of Canada
Phone: 800-542-2164


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