Want to tell Canadian stories in a way that gets attention?
That’s what National Film Board (NFB) of Canada has been doing for the past three years.
To advance Canadian film, NFB Commissioner and Chair Tom Perlmutter asked, “How do we connect with our audience?”
After joining the NFB from the private sector, he saw the lack of accessibility. Everything was anchored in nostalgia – like the classic NFB films many of us remember being shown in school.
“As a public agency we were falling down on the job badly, because we weren’t delivering to Canadians. Even though many things were available, we wanted to engage people differently from television, in a way that adds social value.”
Under his leadership, innovation and experimentation and risk taking became the norm.
“About six years ago – before smart phones – we partnered with some very great filmmakers to experiment and explore platforms as means of creation. We got a short film designed for cell phones.”
Then somebody asked him to launch NFB.ca. “I had no interest in re-doing a website. We wanted to create an online screening experience.” (See all types of video at the website
It was the first bilingual site in Canada with the availability for that kind of viewing.
“We saw a direct connection with audiences. You go into a universe... you become like a voyager in another land... across geographic, cultural, and time barriers... and at some point you realize, ‘this place I’m discovering is my place. It’s our country.”