National Film Board of Canada (Montreal)
The NFB is a little like the Corleone family; it’s got a little piece of the action in much of what’s going on in the entire country – and parts abroad, for that matter. The Film Board continues to pump out award-winning drama and animation, but its depth in non-fiction is almost unparalleled within the industry. As Nathalie Courville, head of marketing and communications, puts it, ‘the NFB pushes boundaries and takes risks. It operates as a creative laboratory for the audiovisual sector.’
At Sundance, two NFB docs, Triage: Dr. James Orbinski’s Humanitarian Dilemma (White Pine Pictures/NFB) and Up the Yangtze (EyeSteelFilm/NFB) played to wide audience acclaim, but they have yet to impact with broadcasters. Those films will crack international broadcasters’ top 10 lists next year, but this year it was films such as Arctic Mission and Between the Laughter that made nets take notice.
Look for more of the same caliber work (such as the aforementioned 1919) now that former Alliance Atlantis executive Cindy Witten arrives as the new head of the English Program. Witten was previously VP of content at History Television (since 2005), and before that worked as an executive at BBC Canada, National Geographic Channel, HGTV Canada, Life Network and the CBC.
Hours this year: 85 (30 French, 55 English)
Recent titles: Arctic Mission, Between the Laughter, Buried at Sea
Current/upcoming titles: Folle de Dieu (Jean-Daniel Lafond), Paris 1919 (with 13 Production, in association with Galafilm)