A photo collage of Mount Royal, taken from Holy Mountain!, an interactive documentary made by Hélène de Billy and Gilbert Duclos in 2010.

Digital Projects

The NFB

The National Film Board of Canada is the nation’s public producer of artistic, inventive and socially relevant audiovisual content. For over 70 years our mandate has been to engage Canadians and the world through the production of stories and media that reflect our country and Canadian points of view.

The Digital Opportunity

As a unique creative and cultural laboratory, The NFB is eager to explore what it means to “create” and “connect” with Canadians in the age of the Internet. We are looking to work with a wide range of Canadian artists and media-makers interested in experimenting with the creative application of digital technologies and interactivity as it relates to story, expression and community. Filmmakers, Interactive Designers, Photographers, Social Media Producers, Graphic Artists, Information Architects, Writers, Video and Sound Artists, Musicians, etc. We are excited by the collaborative nature of media today and are open to receiving project proposals from all types of artists and creators.

What Kinds of Creations?

As a public producer we have a duty to contribute to the ongoing social discourse of the day through the production of creative audiovisual works. We remain convinced of the powerful and transformative effects of art and imagination for the public good. We have a strong code of ethics that guides our work including the importance of an artistic voice and a diversity of voices, authenticity and creative excellence, innovation and risk taking, and social relevance and the promotion of a civic, inclusive democratic culture. We are currently looking to produce new works that help us achieve our mission including interactive documentaries, mobile and locative media, interactive animations, photographic art and essays, data visualizations, physical installations, community media, interactive video, user-generated media, etc. To put it another way, we are striving to produce things we haven’t yet imagined, with technology that hasn’t yet been invented.

Why Now?

Over the past year we’ve worked with great success to make hundreds of the 13,000 films in our collection more accessible to Canadians in streaming and downloadable formats through NFB.ca and mobile devices. We’re also eager to explore how these new technologies and platforms can influence production and aid in the creation of new kinds of content and stories. We are interested in experimenting with how these new technologies can help the NFB and its creators connect with more Canadians, more often, and connect with them in ways we’ve never before thought possible.

How does it all work?

One way to work with us is as a creator and we perform the role of creative producer. We will work with you to develop the idea, refine a budget and a plan, and then make it all happen. Sometimes you’ll do a lot of this work on your own or with people you’ve worked with in the past. Other times we’ll bring skilled people to work with you and help deliver on the vision.

Another way to work with us is as a partner or a co-producer. That relationship is possible when the partner or co-producer can leverage funds or financing that can be applied to the project, like funding from the Canadian Media Fund for example.

We are looking to work with the best in the industry and success will rest on our ability to work together to deliver on projects that demonstrate creative excellence, innovation and social relevance. We are looking to produce projects that range in scope, style and approach. A few will be large and require a significant team working together over time. Others will be small and experimental, made by one or two people in a matter of weeks.

Any Examples?

While we’ll continue to work with filmmakers to make digital content connected to some of the films we produce, many of our projects will be original digital pieces not attached to any films at all and we’re interested in hearing your ideas. Take a look at some of our completed projects.

What about Budgets and Remuneration?

We are not a funding agency or a granting organization like The Canada Council for the Arts. As creative producers we are actively involved in the production and we will provide all financing and administer the budget for your project. If the project is a partnership or a co-production, budgets will be administered accordingly. We are going to produce anywhere from 30-40 projects over the next year. A couple of them will be large in scope and scale, but the bulk of them will be smaller more artful and inventive approaches to digital content. If we think your idea has potential, we’ll also fund its exploration before committing to full production. And if the idea matures accordingly, we’ll work with you throughout the process to make it happen and help it find an audience.

Where to Start?

Give this some thought and then get your idea down in one-page. It should describe the idea in one brief paragraph, suggest a treatment or approach, and provide a brief overview of the user experience i.e. answer the question: “How will the audience experience/interact with the content?” We will respond to all proposals within six weeks, and if your idea requires further exploration, we’ll put you in touch with one of our producers to talk more. If you intend to apply to the CMF Experimental Stream in 2011, we will need to receive your proposal by August 19, 2011, in order to review it properly before the September 30 CMF deadline.

As a public producer we are selective about the projects we produce. Our resources are finite. We can’t produce every great idea, but we continually strive to nourish a creative climate that allows such work to flourish. Creators must be a Canadian citizen or a landed immigrant in order to be eligible to work with us. There are no deadlines (except of course if you are applying for CMF funding) or application forms and we accept proposals throughout the year. Please send your one-page proposals to interactiveproposals@nfb.ca.

For more information on working with the NFB and our overall programming criteria, please visit www.onf-nfb.gc.ca/en/produce-with-the-nfb/directing-co-producing-with-nfbs-english-program/ or contact the NFB office nearest you – www.onf-nfb.gc.ca/eng/studios.