Iris Ng and Sarah Polley (holding the camera) during the making of the film Stories We Tell, directed by Polley in 2012.

Directing/Co-Producing with NFB’s English Program

Who We Are

The National Film Board of Canada is the nation’s public producer and distributor of distinctive and audacious audiovisual content. Our mandate is to engage Canadians and the world through the production of creative and innovative works that reflect our country and Canadian points of view.

English Program

The NFB’s English Program is a unique creative laboratory.  Our producers work with creators from across Canada— filmmakers and other media artists — in the production of POV documentaries (more than 50% of our work), auteur animation and original interactive digital content for all platforms including tablet, mobile and the Web.

We strive to use our public sector difference to produce work that in terms of approach/perspective/story would be more difficult to undertake in the private sector.  Our projects come from a wide range of communities, engage with a wide range of topics and reflect voices and perspectives that are often underrepresented in the mainstream media.

As creative producers, we work closely with directors, artists and co-producers to build collaborative teams around projects, and to shape working methods and environments that promote experimentation and creativity.

Selection Process and Criteria

Some ideas for the projects we produce come to us as pitches.  Some are generated internally.  Others are borne out of extended conversations with like-minded creators. All are considered against our overall programming criteria, which include:

  1. Creative Excellence. We’re looking for work that is pushing story, form and the creative use of technology to expand the possibilities of audiovisual storytelling in our core genres.
  2. An original approach and perspective.  We value innovation, imagination, risk taking and authenticity.
  3. A clear sense of audience and how that relates to form and platform
  4. Social and cultural relevance
  5. Viability – financial, access, approach, etc.

 

Other factors that we consider in our decision making process include:

  1. Fit with our overall production slate (if we already have three big projects on the environment, for example, we may decide to not do a fourth even if its a really good idea);
  2. Our overall balance in terms of genre (doc/animation/interactive); gender (we strive to be 50-50), voice (ensuring equitable representation of directors/creators from underrepresented groups), place (urban and rural stories), emerging/experienced, etc.
  3. Resources – making sure production levels are well balanced across our Production Studios from St. John’s to Vancouver.

 

As a public producer of niche genres whose work is focused on the high-end of the production spectrum, we are very selective about the projects we produce and coproduce. In English Program, we have approximately 100 projects underway at any given time and complete between 30-40 productions a year: a mix of POV documentaries, auteur animations and original digital projects.

Our resources are modest. Unfortunately we can’t produce every good project that gets presented to us, but we strive continually to nourish a creative climate that allows such work to flourish.

To get a better sense of the kind of work we produce check out the links here for projects currently in development, production and those that have been recently released (soon available).

 

Production/Co-Production Models

There are three main models for working with us:

100% NFB productions

These productions are financed and administered entirely by the NFB.  Project ideas are sometimes initiated internally.  Sometimes the idea is brought to us by a creator. NFB retains 100% of the copyright and also holds the distribution rights.

National co-productions

These productions are produced in partnership with independent Canadian production companies.   NFB English Program is involved as minority co-producer. NFB distribution rights are subject to negotiation based on strategy/goals for the production.

International co-productions

Generally, these productions involve an independent Canadian production company, an international production company and NFB English Program (as a minority co-producer). NFB distribution rights are subject to negotiation based on strategy/goals for the production.

 

Basic Co-Production Terms

  • In general, the NFB’s financial contribution will not exceed 49% of the production budget.
  • The private producer and NFB producer share decision-making regarding key partners, artistic elements, stakeholders, financing and budget.
  • Both partners agree on the human and technical resources provided by the NFB, as well as the marketing strategy.
  • Division of the copyright is established pro rata among the partners according to the contribution of each to the co-production, with NFB retaining an undivided copyright interest in the production in the same proportion as NFB’s financial participation in the co-production.
  • Each partner recoups its investment according to the recoupment schedule, pari passu and pro rata to their financial participation in the co-production, according priority to private investors.

 

Eligibility and Deadlines

Anyone who is a Canadian citizen or landed immigrant is eligible to work with us.  There are no deadlines or application forms and we accept proposals throughout the year.  We have 6 production studios across the country.  Proposals should be submitted by e-mail or regular mail to the contact in the studio nearest you.

 

What to Submit

For directors (100% NFB productions)

  • A brief summary  (8-lines) of the focus of your project;
  • A synopsis (two or three pages) outlining the story, how you plan to tell it and your point of view.  Why do you want to tell this story?  What perspective are you bringing to it?
  • An overview of the intended audience – who are they, where are they most likely to see this work, and why is it relevant to them?
  • Your CV (including a list of previous projects) and samples of or links to previous work
  • In the case of animation, an art portfolio including sketches of representative artwork
  • Key project details (anticipated duration, format, genre, platform, etc.)

 

For co-producers (national and international)

  • Basic information on the production company and brief CVs of the key partners already involved or envisaged
  • A brief summary  (8-lines) of the focus of your project;
  • A synopsis (two or three pages) outlining the story, how you plan to tell it and your point of view.  Why do you want to tell this story?  What perspective are you bringing to it?
  • In the case of animation, an art portfolio including sketches of representative artwork
  • A list of existing films/work on similar subject matter (optional)
  • An overview of the intended audience – who are they, where are they most likely to see this work, and why is it relevant to them?
  • A development budget indicating the main sources of financing either confirmed or planned;
  • An idea of the size of the production budget;
  • Agreements showing that the producer holds the copyrights needed to be able to produce the project;
  • Key project details (anticipated duration, format, genre, etc.)

 

Studio Contact Information:

Send your proposal to the contact in the studio nearest you.  We will respond to all proposals within eight weeks.  We may want to set up a meeting to further discuss your idea or we may let you know that it’s not a fit for us.  If you don’t hear back from us in this timeframe, please feel free to give us a nudge.

 

Animation Studio

Executive Producer: Michael Fukushima
Producers: Maral Mohammadian, Jelena Popović

National Film Board of Canada
3155 Côte de Liesse Road
Montreal, Québec H4N 2N4
Phone: 514-261-1650
Email : animation@nfb.ca

 

Quebec/Atlantic Studio
Executive Producer:  Annette Clarke (St. Johns)
Producer:  Kat Baulu (Montreal)
Producer:  Paul McNeill (Halifax)

 

St. John’s Office
28 Cochrane Street
Suite 102
St. John’s, NL
A1C 3L3
Phone: 709-772-7509
Email: atlantic@nfb.ca

 

Halifax Office
National Film Board of Canada
Cornwallis House
201 – 5475 Spring Garden Road
Halifax, Nova Scotia B3J 3T2
Phone: 902-426-7351
Email: atlantic@nfb.ca

 

Montreal Office
National Film Board of Canada
3155 Côte de Liesse Road
Montreal, Québec H4N 2N4
Phone: 514-827-5048
E-mail: quebeccentre@nfb.ca

 

Ontario Centre
Executive Producer: Anita Lee
Producers: Lea Marin, Justine Pimlott, David Oppenheim
National Film Board of Canada
150 John Street
Toronto, Ontario M5V 3C3
Phone: 416-973-6856
E-mail: ontarioinfo@nfb.ca

 

Northwest Centre
Executive Producer: David Christensen (Edmonton)
Producer: Bonnie Thompson (Edmonton)
Producer: Alicia Smith (Winnipeg)
Producer: Cory Generoux (Regina)

 

Edmonton Office
National Film Board of Canada
10815 104th Avenue, Room 100
Edmonton, Alberta T5J 4N6
Phone: 780-495-3013
Email: northwest@nfb.ca

 
Winnipeg Office
National Film Board of Canada
145 McDermot Avenue
Winnipeg, Manitoba, R3B 0R9
Phone : 204-983-0140
Email: prairie@nfb.ca

 

Regina Office
National Film Board of Canada
1831 College Avenue
Regina, Saskatchewan S4P 4V8
Phone: 306-502-3357
Email : c.generoux@nfb.ca

 

Pacific & Yukon Centre
Executive Producer: Shirley Vercruysse
Producer: Selwyn Jacob

National Film Board of Canada
250-351 Abbott Street
Vancouver, British Columbia V6B 0G6
Phone: 604-666-3838
E-mail : pacific@nfb.ca

 

Digital Studio
Executive Producer:  Loc Dao
Producers:  Dana Dansereau, Jennifer Moss

National Film Board of Canada
250-351 Abbott Street
Vancouver, British Columbia V6B 0G6
Phone: 604-666-3838
Email: interactiveproposals@nfb.ca