RBSC / OSC Archives

Sens, Al

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Sens, Al

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  • Albert Sens

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Dates of existence

1933-

History

Al Sens was born Albert Sens on December 27, 1933 in Vancouver, British Columbia where he remained for the majority of his life. He had his first professional illustration experience while he was in high school, drawing cartoons for local newspapers under a pseudonym. In the early 1950s he went on to attend the Vancouver School of Art, now known as the Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design. After his studies, Sens illustrated cartoons for a variety of Canadian and American magazines including the Saturday Evening Post, Colliers, Liberty and Macleans.

Concurrently Sens started to make animated films. He produced his first film, "The Puppet's Dream," in 1958. In the same year Sens opened his own animation studio, Al Sens Animation Limited, in Vancouver. He would go on to produce several notable animated films including “Hard Day at the Office,” “Problems on an Imaginary Farm,” and “Political Animals.” Each of these featured political themes, for which Sens became well known. He also produced animations for the National Film Board of Canada, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, and BC Hydro. Through his experiences Sens developed the “spit technique,” which consists of drawing and erasing directly under the camera.

After working at Parry Films in North Vancouver for five years, Sens accepted a position at Simon Fraser University to produce informational short videos in 1967. He continued working in academic settings through the 1970s and 1980s when he taught animation at the University of British Columbia in the Film and Television Department.

Al Sens continued to produce animated films through to the early 2000s, with one of his most famous works being “Dreamtime,” which he produced in 1999. In 2014 Al Sens received the Vancouver Film Critics Circle Ian Caddell Award for making a significant contribution to British Columbia’s film industry.

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