Amanda Forbis studied theatre and fine art at the University of Lethbridge before attending the Emily Carr University of Art and Design in Vancouver, where she studied film, video and animation. She joined the National Film Board of Canada (Vancouver) in 1990 as animation director on an educational film titled The Reluctant Deckhand. In 1995, Wendy Tilby invited her to Montreal to co-direct When the Day Breaks (1999). It received numerous honours, including the Short Film Palme d’Or at Cannes, an Academy Award® nomination and the Grand Prix at the Annecy, Zagreb and Hiroshima international animation festivals. In 2011, they followed up with Wild Life, which garnered a number of prizes and was also nominated for an Academy Award®. The duo has recently completed their third NFB short, The Flying Sailor (2022). Inspired by real events, it tells the story of a sailor who, in a catastrophic explosion, takes a very unexpected voyage.
In addition to their personal work, Forbis and Tilby have collaborated on assorted commissioned projects, including illustrations, theatrical projections and TV commercials. Interview, their acclaimed ad for United Airlines, was nominated for an Emmy in 2004. In 2018, they were recipients of ASIFA’s Winsor McCay Award for their “exceptional contribution to the art of animation.”
Forbis has led many animation workshops for children and adults, and was an instructor at the Arts Umbrella Children’s Centre in Vancouver.