A drawing of a young boy with an oversized head, a character from BLA BLA, an interactive website produced by Vincent Morisset in 2011.

Press Releases & Media Kits

NFB innovation in linear and interactive documentary showcased at International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam

Press release


Montreal, October 19, 2011 — The National Film Board of Canada returns to the prestigious International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam—the world's largest docuentary film festival, taking place November 16 to 27—with a provocative mix of documentary films and interactive web documentaries.

World premiere — Reflecting Images/Panorama Section

In The Boxing Girls of Kabul, a group of young Afghan women hone their boxing skills, without the benefit of even the most basic facilities, in the country's national stadium—where just recently women were being executed by the Taliban. Inspired by a tenacious coach, these courageous boxers risk persecution and openly dream of their future, even a shot at the 2012 Olympics. Directed by Ariel Nasr and produced by Annette Clarke for the NFB, The Boxing Girls of Kabul compellingly shadows their journey, one of both personal and political transformation.

International premiere — Competition for Feature-Length Documentary

Fresh from its successful world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, Léa Pool's Pink Ribbons, Inc. makes its European debut at IDFA. The film looks at cause-related marketing and breast cancer fundraising, and asks where and how money is being spent. Inspired by the book Pink Ribbons, Inc.: Breast Cancer and the Politics of Philanthropy by Samantha King, it offers a completely different take on the pink ribbon “success” story that has overtaken North America, with insight from leading doctors, activists and social critics, as well as those with breast cancer. Produced by Ravida Din, Pink Ribbons, Inc. has been hailed by Brian D. Johnson as “stunning . . . veteran Quebec director Léa Pool mounts an eloquent and alarming argument that the massive pink-ribbon campaign against breast cancer has become tainted by a malignant breed of corporate opportunism.”

Green Screen Competition

Directed by Mathieu Roy and Harold Crooks, Surviving Progress examines how what seems like human progress has often backfired throughout history. Inspired by Ronald Wright's bestseller A Short History of Progress, the film features some of the world's foremost thinkers, activists, bankers and scientists, who challenge us to overcome the “progress traps” that have destroyed past civilizations and lie treacherously embedded in our own. Surviving Progress is produced by Daniel Louis and Denise Robert (Cinémaginaire) and Gerry Flahive (NFB), and executive produced by Mark Achbar and Betsy Carson (Big Picture Media Corporation), Silva Basmajian (NFB), Martin Scorsese and Emma Tillinger Koskoff.

Reflecting Images/Panorama section

In War Is Not a Game, Lode Desmet looks at the experiences of eight soldiers at war on several continents, exploring their helplessness in regard to international agreements aimed at regulating armed conflict that, in theory, have been in effect since the first Geneva Convention in 1864. Some soldiers feel like scapegoats, while others feel no qualms about simply following orders. Juxtaposing testimony from across the planet with war archives, film clips and video games, War Is Not a Game examines the consequences of war for all the world's citizens—and for combatants who have to wage it. The film is produced by Kathleen de Béthune (Simple Production), François Le Bayon (Lieurac Productions), Line Richard (NFB) and David Rihs (Point Prod).

The NFB @ DocLab – doclab.org

Each year, NFB web documentaries are among the highlights at IDFA's annual DocLab showcase of breakthroughs in interactive documentary storytelling; Katerina Cizek's 2010 webdoc HIGHRISE /Out My Window captured the first ever IDFA DocLab Award for Digital Storytelling. In 2011, NFB documentary innovation will again be spotlighted, with four new interactive works.  

Barcode.tv features 100 films by 30 directors from Canada and Europe, allowing users to look at the products that surround us in a whole new light by scanning barcodes with a free iPhone app, or viewing films online. Produced by the NFB and ARTE France, it's the first mobile and interactive webdoc, and is accessible in English, French or German. Barcode.tv is produced by Hugues Sweeney, Rob McLaughlin and Loc Dao of the NFB, and Joël Ronez, Marianne Levy-Leblond and David Carzon of ARTE France.

Barcode.tv will also be featured in a special installation at IDFA. Users will enter a room with dozens of white objects arranged around a giant barcode. By picking up an object and placing it on a post, users can trigger 60-second films projected onto this human-scale barcode. These mysterious white objects will also be distributed across the city of Amsterdam, inviting people to come and experience this unique installation.

Katerina Cizek and the HIGHRISE project are back at DocLab with One Millionth Tower, a new interactive documentary that re-imagines the urban landscape in an HTML5 virtual landscape. Using the magic of cinema, architecture, animation and cutting-edge open-source web technology, HIGHRISE /One Millionth Tower transforms a dilapidated high-rise neighbourhood into a vibrant, resident-led community. HIGHRISE /One Millionth Tower is produced by Gerry Flahive.

With Soldier Brother, Toronto artist Kaitlin Jones contemplates a lifetime as she watches her 20-year-old brother serve in Afghanistan. Through an interactive exploration of his possessions and their shared text messages, she examines her displaced role as “big sister” in the face of what her brother is doing, the challenges of instant communication in the context of war, the conflict of her own emotions and the haunting feeling that there's no turning back. Soldier Brother is produced by Alicia Smith.

Every year, over 20 million people attempt suicide. But what about the 19 million who survive? The Next Day is a groundbreaking interactive animated documentary constructed from interviews with four survivors of near-fatal suicide attempts—a poetic and profound exploration of their journey to the next day. The Next Day is directed by Jason Gilmore and produced by Alex Jansen (Pop Sandbox Productions) and Lea Marin (NFB), in association with TVO, and is an initiative of the NFB-TVO Calling Card Program.

NFB interactive works can be experienced online at nfb.ca/interactive.

About the NFB

Canada’s public producer and distributor, the National Film Board of Canada creates interactive works, social-issue documentaries, auteur animation and alternative dramas that provide the world with a unique Canadian perspective. The NFB is developing the entertainment forms of the future in groundbreaking interactive productions, while pioneering new directions in 3D stereoscopic film, community-based media, and more. It works in collaboration with emerging and established filmmakers, digital media creators and co-producers in every region of Canada, with Aboriginal and culturally diverse communities, as well as partners around the world. Since the NFB’s founding in 1939, it has created over 13,000 productions and won over 5,000 awards, including 4 Webbys, 12 Oscars and more than 90 Genies. Its NFB.ca Screening Room features over 2,000 productions online, including high-definition and 3D films. The NFB also puts the experience of cinema into the hands of Canadians everywhere through its acclaimed mobile apps for the iPhone, iPad and Android platforms, as well as a pre-loaded app in the BlackBerry PlayBook.

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Media relations

Pat Dillon, NFB Publicist
Telephone: 514-283-9411
Cell: 514-206-1750
E-mail: p.a.dillon@nfb.ca

Lily Robert, Director, Corporate Communications, NFB
Telephone: 514-283-3838
Cell: 514-296-8261
E-mail: l.robert@nfb.ca