Mystery of the Secret Room


Mystery of the Secret Room takes viewers on a spellbinding voyage between the real and the imaginary. An inspiring portrait of family, adversity, and resilience, this richly hued animated short tells the tale of 10-year-old Grace, who uses her creative superpowers to navigate the emotional landscape of her mother’s depression.

Writer/filmmaker Wanda Nolan collaborated with animator Claire Blanchet to weave together a deeply moving story. Hand-drawn animations bring two distinct worlds to life: the muted, solid world of “reality” and the saturated palette of Grace’s imagination. Images of nature (forests, water, animals) abound, serving to allegorize the obstacles faced by people dealing with mental illness and the loved ones who stand by their side.

Through a mixture of techniques and media, including drawn backgrounds, landscape photography, and ink and pastel on paper, Mystery of the Secret Room offers a textured story-world full of surprises, challenges, and emotions, while celebrating the transformative powers of literature and the imagination.




Animation, Emerging Filmmaker

Creative Team


Wanda Nolan


Annette Clarke



Production Company

National Film Board of Canada

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