My young colleague Tobi Elliott who helps me with this blog has this to say:
I recently spent a morning browsing the NFB’s excellent resource of film playlists. The playlists have been a feature of the new www.nfb.ca website since it launched in January 2009. Invited guests and their own staff have grouped together films around themes ranging from the powerful to the whimsical, the obvious to the obscure.
I have one conclusion…. You can get lost in there! The only way I can justify spending hours watching ten of these films at a time, is by rationalizing that it’s the duty of every young filmmaker to see the work of filmmakers that have gone before them.
Thanks to the playlists, it becomes a delightful chore. They are a useful tool for whittling down the wonderful selection of films available on the website. They also provide insight into the making-of certain films and in some cases, the historical context that otherwise would be lost to someone of my generation.
The NFB’s Guest Playlists include film groupings by the following people, some of whom are in-house producers and filmmakers:
- Douglas Roche: The Strength of Peace (Magnus’ film Uranium, Terry Nash’s If You Love This Planet, and Martin Duckworth’s Return to Dresden are included in this list)
- Tre Armstrong: Dance, Music and Passion
- Donald McWilliams: Norman McLaren: Hands-on Animation
- Colin Low: Recollections from a Distinguished Career
- Alanis Obomsawin: a Retrospective
- Gil Cardinal: The Aboriginal Voice
- Katerina Cizek: Manifesto for interventionist Media
- Thomas Waugh, Ezra Winton and Michael Baker: Challenge for Change
- Adam Symansky: Donald Brittain
The guest authors of their collections take one of two approaches in their selections: either they focus on a theme or a particular filmmaker. Cizek’s playlist brings together 11 films on “the philosophy and practice of ‘Art as a Hammer’.” Her picks range from 1944’s short Democracy at Work to 2008’s RiP! A Remix Manifesto.
Symansky’s collection brings together eight Donald Brittain films, each written up with a personal recollection of Symansky’s about the “making of” of the film. The writing alone is an invaluable resource for younger filmmakers like myself.
In the NFB’s Expert Playlists, their resident collections expert, Albert Ohayon, put together six useful playlists:
- 10 Great Films from the last decade you may not have seen
- The 1960s: An Explosion of Creativity
- The 1950s: Television and the Move to Montreal
- Canada’s Diverse Cultures
- Bill Mason: Beyond the wild, beyond the paddle
And finally, the Thematic Playlists comprise almost sixty collections of films and clips, intriguing because there’s such a huge variety. Where else can you access groupings ranging from ‘Winter Sports Movies” to “Canada’s got Treasures!”?
Thanks to Tobi Elliott for this post.