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Creator / National Film Board of Canada

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The National Film Board of Canada - also known as NFB (French: Office National du Film du Canada, abbreviated as ONF) - is a federal public agency of the Canadian government dedicated to producing and distributing films, TV, and digital content to educate and raise awareness of Canadian culture while providing resources for such projects to deserving applicants. The Board began in 1939 to give Canada some presence in the film world considering how American films dominated Canadian culture.

While the board is well known for its Documentary films (some inspired the likes of Stanley Kubrick, Ken Burns and George Lucas) and some dramatic features (ex: Mon Oncle Antoine, Jesus of Montreal and the Oscar-nominated The Decline of the American Empire), the Board is most famous internationally for its animation, which has garnered several awards, including Oscars. Although it got started with Disney in early World War II, it had its glory years during The Dark Age of Animation when it was a shining light of pure artistic excellence. Its documentaries have received a bit of a boost in recognition after being cited as a key influence on Scottish electronic band Boards of Canada, who even named themselves after the Board.

For a sampling of the Film Board's animation genius, see Animation Favorites from the National Film Board of Canada, hosted by Leonard Maltin, and The National Film Board of Canada's Animation Festival along with compilation DVDs of sorts.

In addition, the Film Board has its own official YouTube Channel and Android app.

Notable Live-Action Films:

Notable Animated Films:

Notable Directors:

  • Cordell Barker
  • Brad Caslor
  • Sheldon Cohen
  • Richard Condie
  • Paul Driessen
  • David Fine & Alison Snowden
  • Peter Foldes (early CGI animator)
  • William Greaves (of Symbiopsychotaxiplasm: Take One fame)
  • Jeff Hale
  • Christopher Hinton
  • Co Hoederman
  • John and Faith Hubley
  • Wolf Koeing
  • Torill Kove
  • Derek Lamb
  • Evelyn Lambart
  • Chris Landerth
  • Ryan Larkin
  • Caroline Leaf
  • Arthur Lipsett (collage filmmaker that later influenced George Lucas)
  • Colin Low
  • Norman McLaren
  • Michael Mills
  • Marv Newland
  • Alanis Obomsawin
  • Ishu Patel
  • Janet Perlman
  • Kaj Pindal
  • Bretislav Pojar
  • Gerald Potteron
  • Wendy Tilby and Amanda Forbes
  • John Weldon

Tropes associated with the NFB:

  • The Animators Showoff: The biggest reason for the studio's acclaim during the animation dark ages was for its hands-off approach towards production; they allow animators to create their own visions and experiment with the medium.
  • Apocalyptic Montage: Lipsett's films are full of it (in both audio and video footage).
  • An Aesop: In almost every animated and/or live-action film.
  • Canada, Eh?: And how.
  • The Dark Age of Animation: Founded in 1939 during The Golden Age of Animation under the influence of Norman McLaren and UPA while making propaganda shorts for Disney, but found their own voice in this era onwards. During an era that was particularly bad for animated shorts, the Board stood out for its exceptional artistic output. Several animated shorts from the Board got Oscar nominations/wins during this era.
  • Deranged Animation: The Board is famous for the experimental work of Norman McLaren and other animators who tried out various techniques like Drawn on Film, Pinscreen Animation, Stop Motion (à la Pixellation) and Paint-on-Glass Animation.
    • Sand Animation, Traditional and 3D (early pioneer in CGI with Hunger in 1974, won an Oscar for Ryan in 2004).
  • The Ken Burns Effect: City of Gold influenced Ken Burns with its usage of animation camera techniques to pan old photos of a former gold mining town.
  • No Budget: The studio didn't have the money or resources to produce Disney quality animation after the two went their separate ways. However, it was because of these limitations that the NFB decided to emphasize technical and artistic experimentation in their cartoons; which lead to them becoming widely recognized in the film industry as well as the go-to studio amongst Canadian indie animators.
  • Rapid-Fire Comedy: For NFB fans, the films of Richard Condie (The Big Snit) and John Weldon (Log Drivers Waltz), The Cat Came Back and Get a Job are a good start. Some resort to Black Comedy, Satire and so on.
  • Streisand Effect: If You Love This Planet won the 1982 Best Documentary Short Oscar after being labeled as foreign propaganda by the U.S. Foreign Agent Registration Act.