Torill Kove (born 25 May 1958) is a Norwegian-born Canadian film director and animator. She won the 2007 Academy Award for Animated Short Film for the film The Danish Poet, co-produced by Norway’s Mikrofilm AS and the National Film Board of Canada (NFB).
Born in Hamar, in the south of Norway near Oslo, Kove has lived in Montreal, Quebec in Canada since 1982. She moved to Montreal to continue academic studies in urban planning at Concordia University and she earned a master’s degree (MUP ’89) at McGill University and later changed her major to animation.
Kove has stated that she did not watch much animation until she was in her thirties. Unemployed in the fall of 1991, rather than look for work she spent time at the NFB’s former public access facility on St. Denis Street, where every day she would watch films: “Two things happened as I was sifting through the NFB animation collection: one was excitement at having discovered such a wonderful treasure of films, and the other was a voice in me that said loud and clear ‘I want to do this.'”
Her first Academy Award nomination was for My Grandmother Ironed the King’s Shirts in 2000, inspired by the story of her own grandmother who had ironed the shirts of Norway’s King Haakon VII for many years.
Kove’s 2014 NFB animated short, Me and My Moulton, is an autobiographical film about a little girl’s desire to fit in, which premiered at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival. It was nominated for an Academy Award on January 15, 2015. Her films The Danish Poet and My Grandmother Ironed the King’s Shirts were included in the Animation Show of Shows.
In February 2015, Kove stated that her next film will be based on her life in Montreal, in the Shaughnessy Village neighbourhood. In May 2016, Kove stated on the NFB’s blog that she was in production on a more minimalist film, Threads, inspired by her experiences as an adoptive parent:
…Threads has been an experiment in working simply. I’m drawing on a basic tablet, using Toon Boom Harmony Software — and in the end I’ve opted for one of the basic pre-set brushes. I’ve set myself the challenge of making a five-minute film within a year, and that’s part of the appeal. Keeping it simple makes it easier to try new things with the visual universe that I want to create.
In addition to directing and animating short films, she has also illustrated several children’s books. On September 3, 2015, she received the Anders Jahre Prize for the Arts (no), Norway’s top cultural prize.