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 English Program

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

Our role as a public producer is to tell stories that can’t be told as easily elsewhere, or to experiment with different types of storytelling because they don’t easily fit with existing market models. From that tradition of experimentation, in 2008 the NFB’s English Program created the world’s first digital studio focused solely on the production of creative works of the imagination that would use new platforms and technologies as an experimental canvas for interactive storytelling.  French Program’s digital studio was created shortly after in 2009.

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 technology.   We are looking to work with a wide range of Canadian artists and media-makers interested in experimenting with the creative application of platforms and technology to story and form. 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, social relevance and the promotion of a civic, inclusive democratic culture.

Our approach to story is innovative, open-ended, and participatory. We strive to create groundbreaking works that harness the appropriate technologies for each story and/or audience group, and contain built-in channels that open the project up for direct engagement.

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.

 

How does it all work?

One way to work with us is as a creator or co-creator and we perform the role of creative producer and co-creator. We will work with you to develop the idea, establish a budget and a plan, and then make it all happen. Sometimes you’ll do some 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 a year or more. Others will be small and experimental, made by one or two people in a short amount of time.

 

Any Examples?

Take a look at some of our previously released 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 release roughly 10 projects a year, with up to 30 projects in various stages of development or production at any given time. 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 a one or two page proposal. It should describe the idea briefly, hitting the What, Who, Why and How. Lead with story first.  It should suggest a treatment or approach, including a strong clear individual voice or POV. And  it should 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 we wish to further explore your idea, a member of the team will be in touch about next steps.

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 or application forms and we accept proposals throughout the year. For more information on how to structure your proposal, download the NFB Interactive Creator’s Guide here. Please send your proposals to interactiveproposals@nfb.ca.