January 22, 2024 – Montreal – National Film Board of Canada (NFB)
The National Film Board of Canada (NFB) is announcing the closure of its Vancouver and Montreal interactive studios. As a result of this decision, $3.5 million dollars will be reinvested in the NFB: $1.5 million in additional funding for documentary and animation production and $2 million for innovation initiatives aimed at improving our production and distribution methods and increasing audience engagement.
“Across the country, producing immersive and interactive works has become part of the program for many talented creative companies,” said NFB Commissioner Suzanne Guèvremont. “In 2009, we were trailblazers in the field. The truth is that today, we would have to at least double the studios’ current budgets in order to properly fulfill their mandate. Instead, we’ve chosen to reinvest in production and innovation, to explore new initiatives that will serve production as well as distribution and audience engagement. This is innovation in the service of Canadian stories—from idea to screen.”
These new initiatives will be a focus of short-term planning and will serve the entire country. They will be co-led by Louis-Richard Tremblay and Rob McLaughlin, under the leadership of Richard Cormier, the current Director General of Creation, Distribution and Marketing and Chief Programming Officer at the NFB.
INNOVATION IN PRODUCTION, DISTRIBUTION AND ENGAGEMENT
“We will, of course, continue to offer an environment that’s conducive to creation and creative exploration for all artists and filmmakers who work with the NFB,” Mr. Cormier noted. “At the same time, we’ll be advancing innovation in a cross-organizational manner, throughout all of the NFB’s branches. This approach is critical if we want to remain at the forefront of the industry’s evolution. We will connect with the needs of all branches within the NFB, to try new things, adapt and, ultimately, benefit from the most promising ideas as they emerge.”
The Commissioner added, “The Canadian audiovisual sector is in a period of reflection as the government holds conversations on its modernization, so innovation is not a choice but a necessity. For many years, our various partners across the country have asked for significant additional reinvestment in documentary and animation production.”
This decision will result in the loss of 14 full-time positions; however, it will lead to the future creation of a half-dozen new jobs.
“I would like to thank the artists and companies, and especially the staff of the interactive studios in Montreal and Vancouver, who worked with us directly or at a distance, more recently or from the start, for their role in the growth and success of these studios,” Ms. Guèvremont added. “They are responsible for a successful 15 years dedicated to exploration and the creation of a new genre that revolutionized storytelling. The knowledge gained from these efforts remains, and is part of our ongoing story.”
THE NFB’S INTERACTIVE STUDIOS: MISSION ACCOMPLISHED
The NFB’s interactive studios were founded in 2009, during Commissioner Tom Perlmutter’s term. Under Directors General Cindy Witten and Monique Simard, the studios were originally headed by executive producer Rob McLaughlin, and executive producer Hugues Sweeney. Both these studios served as incubators for a new genre: interactive and immersive storytelling. An early leader in the field, the NFB produced more than 200 innovative works, in collaboration with more than 500 artists and numerous Canadian and international independent production companies.
Now, the baton has been passed to the private sector, which has produced many high-profile projects. The NFB, in other words, has fulfilled its mission.
In keeping with its tradition, the NFB is now launching a new chapter in the area of innovation, by implementing the changes required for it to continue to be a trailblazer and better serve Canadians and the country’s audiovisual industry.
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French version here | Version française ici.