Thursday, March 22, 2012

Bring The Film Festival To Your Living Room With NFB On Your Google TV

Guest to the Google TV Blog, Joel Pomerleau, Platform Development Director of the National Film Board of Canada (NFB), shares how award winning documentaries, animations, and films can be viewed on your Google TV.

One of the great things about film is that it sparks as much interest during the movie as it does before and after. Take for instance the week long film festival in Cannes or SXSW Film. Critics and movie enthusiasts come together for a week long event to talk nothing but documentaries, films, and video.

But hey, rather than traveling to a distant galaxy far far away, you can watch critically acclaimed films directly on your Google TV whenever you want. The National Film Board of Canada (NFB) created an app that features 2,000 English and French documentaries and animation films, all for free.

Whether you enjoy flamenco, wrestling, or documentaries on the War of 1812, NFB has a wide variety of content to suit your interest.

So, who’s the NFB anyway?
The NFB is Canada’s public – as in government-funded – film producer and distributor. Our mandate is to produce documentaries and animation films on topics relevant to Canadians and the world. Since our creation, we have received 72 Oscar nominations, and brought the gilded statuette home 12 times (a world record for a non-Hollywood studio).

NFB Films for Google TV
If you’re new to NFB on Google TV, a good place to start is the main page which offers recommendations for selected viewings. These recommendations, carefully curated by NFB staff, reflect current events, important calendar dates as well as social media trends.

Films for kids: Some of our animation films have attained cult classic status among kids. With this in mind, we’ve added a Film for Kids channel to the main menu to make it as easy as possible for kids to watch their favorite films – over and over again.

Channels: Channels are another great and easy way to explore the films we offer. If you’re unfamiliar with the NFB Catalogue, no problem. There’s a section called ‘Most Popular’ or ‘Classics.’  

Search: And if you are searching for a specific film or topic, use the search section to find what you’re looking for. Bilingual folks should note, they can search the French collection from the English interface. Prefer navigating the app en français? Not a problem. The language interface can easily be changed in the settings section.

My top picks
For the past 10 years I’ve had the opportunity to watch lots of films. Here are a few of my favorites to get started with:
  1. The Devil at Your Heels tells the story of Montreal-born stunt driver Ken Carter’s attempt to drive a car over the St-Lawrence River, a mile-long jump. Not only is this story crazy and fascinating, it’s beautifully shot and would definitely make Tarantino jealous.
  2. Walking is an amazing animated short by Oscar-nominated filmmaker Ryan Larkin. Simple and elegant, it is a true artist’s reflection on movement and art.
  3. Project Grizzly documents the (totally wild) efforts of a Canadian man to design and build himself a bear-proof suit. The suit even had a cameo in one infamous episode of the Simpsons. You can guess who was wearing it.
  4. And for the Francophiles out there, Junior is an amazing feature documentary on junior hockey. Shot in the pure tradition of cinéma vérité, this film deftly captures the intense pressure and business interests surrounding these young athletes. A must-see for anyone with kids in high-level competitive sports.
  5. Le chat dans le sac is my all time NFB favorite. Shot by director Gilles Groulx, this film captures the essence of Quebec’s francophone identity crisis of the 1960s. The film, infused with French Nouvelle Vague aesthetics, even features a terrific original soundtrack by John Coltrane.
So there you have it. An exclusive all access pass to everything NFB. Let us know what your favorite movie is and, if you have recommendations for films you would like to see, we’re always looking to add to the collection.

Download the app from the Google Play Store on your Google TV.

Guest to the Google TV Blog, Joel Pomerleau, Platform Development Director of NFB