October 25, 2006
While we've been busy finishing up the latest issue of the magazine, Kino Kid and I have also been dropping in on the Festival du Nouveau Cinéma. While we haven't been able to catch everything (I was quite curious to see Parisian VJ Frédéric Elalouf (aka VJ Oof) doing live audio and video remixes of the works of Norman McLaren, but couldn't stick around), there have been a few things worth noting—among the films themselves and the events.
I caught one such event last Thursday, when the National Film Board of Canada was touting a new series of shorts called Shorts in Motion: The Art of Seduction. Co-produced with marblemedia and in partnership with Bravo!Fact, these ten shorts -- two of which are animated (Theodore Ushev's Sou, pictured, and Ann Marie Fleming's M.O.O.D.) -- are destined for television (they will air on the weekly Bravo!Fact program), as well as mobile devices like cell phones, iPods, and PDAs. Just to make the point clear, the films were shown on big screens, but also on iPods and cell phones that were being circulated among the crowd.
That was interesting by itself, but NFB chairperson Jacques Bensimon got my attention when, noting the success of the NFB's various digital initiatives, he mentioned that the NFB will start the process of digitizing all of its short films with the intention of making them more accessible to the public. This is an ambitious undertaking—the NFB has produced thousands of live-action and animated shorts since 1939—and an exciting one. It occurred to me that the NFB has always made its films available as new media came along, from film to 1'' tape to VHS to DVD, with the costs of access decreasing each time. However, it's always been easiest to get your hands on well-known productions, while more obscure but no less deserving works have languished. With all the shorts equally available (though how they will be accessed has yet to be specified), animation and film fans will have so much more to explore.