July 7, 2008

In this space I've mentioned National Film Board shorts like Black Soul (above), Street Musique and Blackfly. But have you ever seen any of these shorts? Probably not if you don't live near an NFB viewing centre like Toronto's Mediatheque or Montreal's Cinérobothèque or don't catch short film festivals. Well, now you can, thanks to a new NFB initiative. Beta.nfb.ca is where they're making digitized films from their archive available online, for free.

There are over 300 films up so far, with over half of them from the animation collection. The earliest animated film there at the moment is Norman McLaren's Boogie-Doodle (1941, the year the animation studio was founded), and the most recent are both from this year: Michael Wray and David Seitz's The Mixy Tapes and Sandde, in which Munro Ferguson explains how the NFB's very cool stereoscopic animation system works.

As the name implies, the site is still in beta, so there are rough edges. But the NFB is asking for feedback, so you should get out there, watch, and let them know what you think.

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