"...A third interactive NFB production, the animated Bla Bla, recently inspired “major articles” in the French newspapers Le Monde and Liberation. That’s the beauty of the web: the NFB is getting as many hits internationally as it is in Canada for its productions.
“It’s interesting where it gets picked up, and how it gets picked up,” says Perlmutter.
The new technology is also allowing people to work together from different parts of the country. Dao is currently working with colleagues in Canmore, Alberta and Toronto on Bear 71, a project about a grizzly bear near Banff.
“The park service tracks bears, and they tracked this particular bear over years,” says Perlmutter. “So it has all this video footage. Being able to get hold of this footage, and being able to incorporate it in an interactive work, allows you to see what happens in terms of this human/animal wildlife interaction.”
“The co-creator [Leanne Allison] came to us with several million photos from Parks Canada, trail-cam photos,” says Dao.
“She’s working with Jeremy Mendes, who’s here — they work remotely, they’ve maybe met in person once over the last year. The other interactive designer and programmer is in Toronto, so our team is just spread out all over the country.”
The NFB has a relatively small budget — $65 million — but Perlmutter says it has been able to “find efficiencies internally” to be make the “massive investments” to go online and produce original digital content.
Perlmutter says the NFB has become a world leader in the digital domain, so much so that it’s partnering with a French network on one new project, and has a senior producer from NHK in Japan studying the way it does things.
Why? Because the quality of work is great, and people are actually watching it.
“On the interactive side in 2010 we reached over 1.2 million users, with just the first 30 interactive projects we’re doing in English and French content,” says Dao.
“This year alone, in the first five months we’re at a million users already, with just a couple of new projects added. That bodes well in terms of audiences.”
“It’s an article of faith,” says Perlmutter.
“We’ve got to make sure Canadian audiences have access to this, and are able to see it in some form for free. As we do now, by streaming.”
Welcome to Pine Point can be viewed at www.nfb.ca/pinepoint
Out My Windown is at www.nfb.ca/outmywindow
Bla Bla is at www.nfb.ca/blabla
The NFB website is: www.nfb.ca