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SECTION I - Overview

Jose Verner

Being awarded its twelfth Oscar, last February, for the animated short film, The Danish Poet, allowed the National Film Board (NFB) to end the 2006-2007 fiscal year on a positive note and confirmed the artistic excellence of the Canadian cultural and cinematographic scene before an international audience. Over the course of the year, numerous artists and creators from across the country have earned awards for the exceptional quality of their work, both in Canada and abroad.

An important Canadian audiovisual organization, the NFB played as essential a role in 2006-2007 as it did at the time of its creation, in 1939. As a producer and public distributor in Canada, the NFB reflects the values and points of view that are dear to Canadians by offering innovative and original audiovisual productions. In addition, the NFB makes use of new production methods and new distribution platforms to reach multiple regional, cultural, and linguistic communities throughout the country.

As Minister of Canadian Heritage, Status of Women and Official Languages, I am pleased to present the Departmental Performance Report for the National Film Board, which outlines its many achievements for the year 2006-2007. This report demonstrates the unique and important role the NFB plays as a member of the Canadian Heritage Portfolio in helping to shape and strengthen our identity as Canadians.

The Honourable Jose Verner, P.C., M.P.

 

Government Film Commissioner's Message

If you were to ask members of the Canadian public at large to sum up the National Film Board of Canada's activities for 2006-2007, a frequent response would likely be that the greatest accomplishment of the last year was the Oscar for the short animation The Danish Poet. For many, earning an Academy Award nomination, and subsequently receiving the golden statuette itself, represents the pinnacle of success in the film world. It was, of course, an honour to earn a 69th Oscar nomination - a record number for a non-Hollywood production house - and to be awarded a twelfth Oscar. But the true measure of our success is greater than the many honours our films have received. It is the impact of our audiovisual works, our initiatives and our programs on the daily lives of Canadians, as well as on the national and international film scenes.

We see the NFB at its best when it inspires concrete action. Take, for example, the more than 750,000 young students who took up the Weight of the World Challenge to fight obesity, after seeing our film The Weight of the World. Or look at the young Toronto mothers who have experienced homelessness, and who - through their involvement with the NFB's Filmmaker in Residence I WAS HERE project - presented Toronto's mayor with an action plan to help young parents who have no fixed address. By combining social and creative action, the NFB is successfully meeting the challenge of understanding and raising awareness of Canada's social and cultural realities, and of spreading our values. At the last Banff Television Festival, I gave a presentation to members of the Canadian audiovisual industry on the various innovative community-based projects undertaken by the NFB. A comment made by one of those in attendance bears noting: "This is exactly what the NFB should be doing!"

Through the medium of film, the National Film Board of Canada has always been concerned with giving Canadians the means to tackle the key issues facing their communities. Socially engaged cinema has been in the NFB's genes since its earliest days. Many of the projects we have undertaken over the past few years are perfectly aligned with the creative vision present from the Board's earliest days. This has always been an institution whose goal has been not only to release daring, innovative, and relevant audiovisual works, but also to ensure those films are used to encourage citizen engagement from coast to coast. The Challenge For Change / Socit Nouvelle program of the 1970s and 1980s has inspired recent NFB projects like the Web sites CitizenShift / Parole Citoyenne - a platform for community-based and socially engaged media production - and the Filmmaker in Residence program, which aims to bring various communities together and to put media creation tools in the hands of Canadians. We have a number of programs aimed specifically at people with disabilities, Aboriginals and members of various cultural communities. These programs reflect our commitment to ensuring that everyone, regardless of their background, has the opportunity to ensure that their voice is heard. Similarly, many NFB films have helped give Canadian filmmakers and audiences the opportunity to create and share their stories on screen.

Today, new technologies are allowing the NFB greater public presence, and letting us better serve the many communities that make up Canadian society, through multiple avenues. By laying the foundations that will allow the NFB to make use of new production technologies and broadcast platforms for its innovative and cutting-edge projects, we are ensuring that our audiovisual productions will remain relevant and accessible to all communities throughout Canada. The NFB intends to remain as important a player in the digital age as it was in the days when travelling projectionists went from town to town holding public screenings.

In closing, I would like to offer my warmest thanks to Mr. Jacques Bensimon, who served from 2001 to 2006 as the 14th Government Film Commissioner and Chairperson of the NFB. Jacques' extraordinary vision and leadership brought new and dynamic energy to the Board's creation of new audiovisual works. I would also like to draw attention to the excellent work of Mr. Claude Joli-Coeur, who served as interim Commissioner from December 2006 to June 2007. His dedication to the Board and his passion for the world of Canadian film contributed to the smooth unfolding of this institution's activities between the time of Mr. Bensimon's departure and my taking over the reins.

For more than 65 years, the NFB has been a leading institution in the world of Canadian film - with an enviable international reputation - thanks to the passion, creativity, and professionalism of our employees and our partners. Today's NFB remains home to the same spirit of innovation and the avant-garde as in the time of its pioneers. This spirit ensures the National Film Board will remain a unique home for creativity in the service of all Canadians.

Tom Perlmutter
Government Film Commissioner and
Chairperson of the National Film Board of Canada

 

Management Representation Statement

I submit, for tabling in Parliament, the 2006-2007 Departmental Performance Report (DPR) for the National Film Board of Canada.

This document has been prepared based on the reporting principles contained in the Guide for the Preparation of Part III of the 2006-2007 Estimates: Reports on Plans and Priorities and Departmental Performance Reports:

  • It adheres to the specific reporting requirements outlined in the Treasury Board Secretariat guidance;
  • It is based on the department's approved Strategic Outcome(s) and Program Activity Architecture that were approved by the Treasury Board;
  • It presents consistent, comprehensive, balanced and reliable information;
  • It provides a basis of accountability for the results achieved with the resources and authorities entrusted to it; and
  • It reports finances based on approved numbers from the Estimates and the Public Accounts of Canada.

Name: Luisa Frate, c.a.
Title: Director, Administration Branch

 

Summary Information

NFB's Overview

Mandate - The National Film Board of Canada's mandate is "to initiate and promote the production and distribution of films in the national interest and, in particular,

  • to produce and distribute and to promote the production and distribution of films designed to interpret Canada to Canadians and to other nations;
  • to engage in research in film activity and to make the results available to film producers;
  • to advise the Governor in Council in connection with film activities; and
  • to discharge such other duties relating to film activity as the Governor in Council may direct the Board to undertake."

Mission - The National Film Board of Canada's mission, as stated in the 2002-2006 Strategic Plan, is "to produce and distribute distinctive, culturally diverse, challenging and relevant audiovisual works that provide Canada and the world a unique Canadian perspective."

The NFB is an integrated production and distribution organization with an extensive film collection, a conservation laboratory, and postproduction and research and development facilities located at its operational headquarters in Montreal. Its Government Relations service operates from Ottawa, while its Marketing and Communications, Distribution, Business Affairs and Legal Services, Strategic Planning and Government relations, Human Resources, and Administration branches are principally located in Montreal.

The NFB is a unique centre for the creation of audiovisual works. NFB films are produced in both official languages. The NFB maintains production facilities in Vancouver, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Toronto, Montreal, Moncton and Halifax, a production office in Quebec City and two viewing centres, one in Montreal and the other in Toronto.

Benefits to Canadians and to the World

In Canada's Performance 2006, the Government of Canada reported that "Canadians value a strong Canadian culture and call on the government to ensure that, despite our small market and vast geography, conditions exist in which Canadian culture can take root. Canadians want to have Canadian choices that reflect Canadian creativity and talent, linguistic duality, multicultural diversity, and the special place of Aboriginal peoples within Canadian society."1 The NFB is one of the best instruments the Government of Canada has to meet Canadians' expectations. The Board is a unique creative centre with a mandate to produce and distribute films and other audiovisual works intended for Canadian audiences and foreign markets, in order to increase viewers' knowledge and understanding of the social and cultural realities of Canada. The Board offers Canadians a number of revelatory and eloquent films. Whether examining contemporary situations or looking at our history, the Board has remained true to its promise of fuelling the expression of the values that define Canadians from coast to coast and how they live together. The Board's continuous support of emerging talent, particularly among different ethnocultural communities, and of young filmmakers willing to articulate their vision of Canadian realities has been fully rewarded by remarkable and insightful works.

Through the application of new audiovisual technologies, the NFB has developed a variety of traditional and virtual distribution networks that make its productions and its extensive film collection - the collective memory of Canada - even more accessible to Canadians in every province.

 

NFB's Total Financial Resources (thousands of dollars)


Planned Spending Authorities Actual Spending
64,839 71,221 68,436

NFB's Total Human Resources (thousands of dollars)


Planned Authority Actual
500 500 486

 

Link to the Government of Canada Outcome areas

The National Film Board of Canada is a cultural agency reporting to the Department of Canadian Heritage. It supports the Department in its mission to make Canada an exciting, cohesive place where all Canadians can take part in the country's cultural and social life. The NFB contributes directly to the Department's two strategic outcomes2 :

  • Canadians achieve diverse cultural experiences and share them with one another and the world;
  • Canadians live in a society open to everyone, based on inter-cultural understanding and citizen participation.

These two strategic outcomes are in their turn linked with Government of Canada objectives that are designed to strengthen Canada's social foundations. Canada is an inclusive society, fostering linguistic duality and diversity as well as a dynamic Canadian culture and heritage.

Alignment with Government Priorities

Through the Department of Canadian Heritage, the NFB contributes directly to the achievement of federal government priorities. Through concrete initiatives within the organization and the private industry and by means of its original film productions which adresses Canadians greatest concerns, the NFB assists the federal government in achieving the following priorities:

  1. Managing the environment:
    The Government will take bold and practical measures to improve the environment and will adopt stricter environmental standards to achieve tangible improvements in Canada's environment , including reductions in air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions and protecting Canadian from the consequences of climate change. The NFB is aware that the environment and sustainable development are of greater concern to Canadians than ever and has produced numerous films on environment-based themes over the years.

    Initiatives

    • The NFB supported financially and actively the Green code project, an inititive from a A growing group of Canadian and international filmmakers, media industry partners, environmental researchers and supporters that have come together to research, develop, launch and establish a green code for the Media Industries.

      In its simplest form, the greencode is a set of modest, voluntary, environmentally friendly eco-actions, guidelines, standards and principles that encourage ecologically friendly sustainability.

    • The NFB has set up a green committee to inform NFB employees on environmental best practices in the industry.

    NFB's films on environment-based themes produced in 2006-2007

    Manufactures Landscapes, The Refugees of the Blue Planet, The White Planet

  2. Tackling crime:
    The government will take measures to prevent criminal behaviour and will work with the provinces and territories to help communities, provide hope and opportunity for Canada's youth, and end the cycle of violence that can lead to broken communities and broken lives.

    The NFB produces, in both official languages, Canadian audiovisual content on social issues of concern to communities across Canada interested, among other things, in discovering the causes of violence in or society. Moreover, initiatives like Vido Paradiso and Racism at work successfully encourage everyone to participate and give them the means to express themselves and share their experiences in original ways.

    Initiatives

    • The Vido Paradiso program, to which the NFB has contributed between 2004 and 2007, is a mobile training and audiovisual studio for young people living on the margins of society in Montreal and Quebec. While learning about the art of filmmaking, the young artists record their innermost feelings and experiences, breaking the silence and making their voices heard.

    • Racism at Work

      The Racism at Work project consists of three main elements: five short films on the issue of racism at work, directed by filmmakers with diverse backgrounds from across Canada; a DVD (both English and French) compiling these films as well as bonus materials; and the creation of two Websites: Racisme au travail and Racism at Work.

    NFB's films on security-related themes produced in 2006-2007

    Rcit d'une mditation, Finding Dawn

  3. Canada - strong, united, independent and free:
    The Government will work to advance common values and interests shared by Canadians. More broadly, the Government is committed to supporting Canada's core values of freedom, democracy, the rule of law and human rights around the world.

    The NFB produces innovative and challenging films that convey Canadian values in the country and around the world. By means of its documentaries or animated short films, the NFB is the ideal instrument for conveying Canada's core values.

    Initiatives

    • The NFB has signed an agreement with Haiti's Minister for Culture and Communication to offer a collection of documentary, fiction and animation films to be broadcast on Haitian national television and other broadcasters in Haiti. The NFB's mission will include assessing the possibility of setting up training projects in filmmaking, that specifically use cinema as a social tool.

    NFB's films on this subject produced in 2006-2007

    -Souvenirs of Canada, Afghans Chronicles, The Bicycle : Fighting AIDS with Community Medicine

  4. Immigrants and Aboriginal people: The Government will seek to improve opportunity for all Canadians, including Aboriginal peoples and new immigrants.

    The NFB plays a unique role in producing and distributing audiovisual works by members of these ethnocultural and Aboriginal communities. A number of NFB initiatives have also been established specifically with the aim of reaching members of Aboriginal and ethnocultural communities.

    Initiatives

    • First Stories is aimed at developing Aboriginal people's talents and expertise in the areas of film and television production. Through this initiative, young Aboriginal filmmakers in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and the North have an opportunity to attend a series of intensive seminars, at the end of which they are invited to submit proposals for short films on social issues.

    • Wapikoni Mobile is an imaginative mobile film production studio that travels seek out young Aboriginal people in their own communities; initiating them into the techniques of filmmaking and helping them produce their first films and sound clips.

    NFB's films on Aboriginal-based themes produced in 2006-2007

    -Wabanaki, Qallunaat! Why the white people are funny, Apples and Indians, Wapos Bay, the series

  5. Health care
    The government will work toward achieving timely access to better health care. Over the years, the NFB has produced many films on the Canadian health care system and has talked about the repercussions of physical and mental illnesses on Canadians. Furthermore, the NFB has instigated several initiatives to find and support talents amongst disabled people.

    Initiatives

    • Launched in 2006, Filmmaker-in-residence -FiR, is a collaborative partnership between the NFB and St. Michael's Hospital, to give a voice to partners who are working on the frontlines: doctors, nurses, researchers, and patients.

    • The NFB-CFTPA Media Makers Mentorship program is the first Nation-wide Film and Television Training Program for People with Disabilities. This new initiative will provide on-the-job training opportunities for up to five filmmakers, producers and production personnel with disabilities across Canada. Interns will be placed with independent production companies that are both CFTPA members and in co-development or co-production relationship with NFB.

    NFB's films on the subject produced in 2006-2007

    - La peau et les os, aprs.., The Interventionist: Chronicles of a Mental Health Crisis Team, Flight from darkness, Unspeakable

 

National Film Board's Priorities


Strategic Outcomes
produce and make available relevant, ambitious and innovative audiovisual works that offer Canadians a deeper understanding of Canada and the world.
Link to the Government of Canada Outcome areas
an inclusive society, fostering linguistic duality and diversity as well as a dynamic Canadian culture and heritage.
Program Activity : Production of Audiovisual Works 2006-2007
Priorities Expected Outcomes Performance Summary Planned Spending
($ thousands)
Actual Spending
($ thousands)
1. Maintain overall programming slate of distinctive, challenging and relevant audiovisual works.
  • 85% of programming involving social issues.
Meets all expectations 47,103 45,847
2. Strengthen feature documentary production and develop a consistent approach to making short films.
  • Programming with the focus on point-of-view documentaries, animation, alternative fiction and new media.
Meets all expectations
3. Strengthen the NFB's ability to identify and to work with leading talent, championing emerging, culturally diverse and Aboriginal talent.
  • Ongoing promotion and development of new talent.
Ongoing
4. Encourage partnerships through co-productions.
  • Number of national and international co-productions maintained.
Meets all expectations
5. Strengthen innovation in content, form and technology.
  • Projects innovative in content, form and broadcasting mode, with flexibility for experimentation.
Meets all expectations
6. Maintain the development of international co-productions.
  • Number of national and international co-productions maintained.
Meets all expectations
Program Activity:Distribution of Audiovisual Works 2006-2007
Priorities Expected Outcomes Performance Summary Planned Spending
($ thousands)
Actual Spending
($ thousands)
7. Increase revenue from the NFB's collection and optimize pre-sales and sales.
  • Higher sales and revenue for all NFB markets and territories.
Meets all expectations 2,370 3,134
8. Offer expert knowledge and NFB distribution networks to private and public sectors.
  • Acquisition of more productions that complement the NFB catalogue.
Meets all expectations
  • Stronger NFB branding in distribution.
Ongoing
Program Activity : Access to Audiovisual Works and Outreach Development 2006-2007
Priorities Expected Outcomes Performance Summary Planned Spending
($ thousands)
Actual Spending
($ thousands)
9. Enhance, promote and increase the conservation of and equitable access to the NFB collection, in new emerging digital formats.
  • Improved access to the NFB collection through its various activities and offerings, particularly the mediatheques and other resources; continued digitization of the NFB collection.
Meets all expectations 11,726 12,608
10. Achieve greater reach across Canada and into communities.
  • Better citizen participation through public screenings and other appropriate means.
Meets all expectations
11. Increase NFB visibility in communities, on television and in learning channels.
  • Enhanced quality visibility for the NFB and its productions on television, in festivals and schools, during industry activities and with the federal government.
Ongoing
12. Increase branding opportunities in Canada and abroad.
  • Improved recognition of the NFB brand on television; improved recognition of the NFB's role by co-producers' a valued and highly recognized brand.
Ongoing
  • Strong presence of NFB productions in Canada's community and educational distribution networks.
Ongoing
  • Increased press coverage and visibility in the media.
Ongoing
Program Activity : Research and Advisory Services 2006-2007
Priorities Expected Outcomes Performance Summary Planned Spending
($ thousands)
Actual Spending
($ thousands)
13. Maintain, promote and enhance R&D initiatives to reposition the NFB as a leader in the Canadian film industry, along with its partners.
  • Appreciable research and development efforts on techniques and technology in the audiovisual field.
Meets all expectations 3,640 6,847
14. Conduct and participate in research and other projects.
  • The NFB as an enduring benchmark in filmmaking.
Ongoing
15. Collaborate further with the government and other organizations.

 

Background: National Film Board of Canada

The National Film Board of Canada is a unique creative centre with a mandate to produce and distribute films and other audiovisual works intended for Canadian audiences and foreign markets, in order to increase viewers' knowledge and understanding of the social and cultural realities of Canada.

Internal Business Environment

Term of Government Film Commissioner and Chairperson of the NFB Ended

On December 18, 2006, Jacques Bensimon completed his term at the helm of the NFB. During the search for a new Government Film Commissioner and Chairperson of the NFB, Claude Joli-Cœur, Director of Business Affairs and Legal Services, acted in an acting capacity between December 19 2006 and June 11 2007, when the 15th Government Commissionner and NFB president, Mr. Tom Perlmutter, took on the Commissioner's duties.

End of 2002-2006 Strategic Plan

The year 2006-2007 marked not only the end of Jacques Bensimon's term but also the last year of the 2002-2006 Strategic Plan. Over the past five years, all NFB activities have been aimed at repositioning the organization as an essential partner in an ever-changing national and international film environment. The new commissioner in consultation with with the Board of Trustee, the NFB employees and the institution's strategic partners should begin the strategic planning process in the Fall of 2007.

Restructuring

Among all the modifications made in the various branches, two restructurings had a particular impact on the organization's activities.

The French Program successfully carried out a major overhaul and its organizational structure was adapted to more closely reflect its responsibilities. Its activities are now distributed among the three main production sectors, each the responsibility of an executive producer: Animation, Quebec, and Regions (Acadia Studios and Ontario and West). This particularly strengthened francophone programming outside Quebec. Responsibilities have been shared in order to develop and share expertise: For example, the position of producer, multi-platform, was created to make the most of the opportunities offered by this emerging domain.

The 2006-2007 year was also characterized by the consolidation of marketing and communications activities in one single branch, Marketing and Communications, and by the introduction of a new management structure. The integration of these two branches entailed a major reorganization and new work processes were set up. These changes have allowed the NFB to greatly improve its ability to reach audiences and to do so more coherently. It has equipped itself in order to consolidate its presence in several key sectors of society, thus drawing closer to the visibility objectives set in the 2002-2006 Strategic Plan. These restructurings have also led to improvements in the agreements made with various institutional partners, so that it is now easier to include different products and activities.

EXTERNAL BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT

Government Expectations

The NFB reports to the Department of Canadian Heritage, which is responsible for administering the Film Act that governs NFB operations. The Canadian cultural organization is funded primarily through Parliamentary appropriations and revenue from the sale of films and other products.

Canada's government was elected on a platform of good governance of federal institutions and restoration of accountability. In the Federal Accountability Act, it puts forward specific measures to increase accountability, transparency and oversight of government activities. In addition, the Management Accountability Framework sets out all expectations for managing the Public Service in today's world to ensure superior organizational performance.

At the NFB, analysis and compliance with the government's sound management requirements are ongoing processes as well as organizational priorities. The NFB's business practices foster good governance and accountability, and help forge a bond of confidence with Canadians. The organization ensures that all activities comply with or exceed the highest standards in these areas.

Canada's Film and Television Production Industry

Statistics in the most recent Economic Report on the Canadian Film and Television Production Industry, Profile 2007, indicated that the total production for Canada's Film and Television production industry increased by 5.8 % to $4.8 billion. The Canadian theatrical production which includes feature films and short films made with movie theatres as the primary venue for initial release to the public, increased by 75.6% in 2005-2006 from the previous year, to reach $323 millions. The number of Canadian theatrical films rebounded from a two year decline in 2003-2004 and 2004-2005. Of the total of 80 theatrical-release films made in Canada in 2005-2006, 76 were feature-length films and four were short films. The recovery in Canadian theatrical production can be largely traced back to an increased number of productions at the higher end of the budget scales, particularly in the fiction feature-length genre, and the increase in foreign location productions. However, official international co-productions activity continued to drop with a $177 million decrease in 2005-2006. The international pre-sale market still has not rebounded to the exceptional levels seen in the late 1990s. The export value of the Canadian theatrical production tripled to reach $ 88 million.

Film and television production generated 124,300 full-time equivalents jobs including more than 8,600 directly and indirectly in theatrical films production. The real GDP in the motion picture and video production and post-production industry grew by 1.5% in 2005-2006.

The above factors will not only affect private-sector producers but also have an impact on NFB operations throughout the planning period covered in this report.

Documentary genre

Canada's reputation for excellence in the documentary field has been well established. In the last few years alone, a number of Canadian documentaries have received awards for their eloquence and their perspective on social issues. The total volume of documentary production has been increasing every year since the start of this decade, standing at $383 million at the end of the last fiscal year. Most Canadian documentaries are produced primarily for the television market.

While the vast majority of Canadian films made for theatrical distribution are works of fiction, 3% are documentaries, with production totalling $11 million. These figures explain why only 5 of 80 Canadian theatrical films were documentaries. Since 2003-2004, the volume of Canadian theatrical documentary production has been declining. It went from $24 million in 2003-2004 to $11 million in 2005-2006 - hence the 50% decline in the number of theatrical documentaries released between 2003-2004 and 2005-2006. At first glance, these numbers may seem surprising, given the increased global interest in documentary after the success of such films as Bowling for Columbine, An Inconvenient Truth and the Canadian Les Voleurs d'enfance and Manufactured Landscapes. However, feature-length documentaries do not benefit from the same financial resources as dramas. In 2005-2006, Telefilm Canada introduced a fund for theatrical feature-length documentaries as a pilot project. Those in the documentary industry estimate that it takes a budget of over $1 million to make a feature-length documentary and do the necessary publicity required in order to draw an audience. According to conclusions drawn by the industry, "If we want to make [documentaries] a permanent element in Canadian film - and continue the long tradition of excellence the country has enjoyed in this genre - it will be essential to establish a dedicated [financing] program to support the production of a list of films each year."3

Similarly, the NFB is drawing attention to the importance of documentary within the Canadian film industry, and is taking concrete steps to support the creation of Canadian works. The organization plays a unique and essential role distributing the films (documentary and other) it produces and co-produces, and serving as a distributor for many independent producers. The NFB offers the industry a unique combination of creativity and technological innovation. It has made point-of-view documentaries one of its operational priorities, because people are interested in seeing films that help them understand the issues that affect them. The NFB's documentaries are an important way of encouraging discussion among Canadians and various political, economic and social stakeholders.

In this environment, the NFB plays a unique and essential role in documentary distribution, among other things by distributing the films it produces and co-produces with or acquires from private-sector producers. For the industry, the NFB provides a unique brand of expertise that combines creativity and technological innovation. Point-of view documentaries are an operational priority at the NFB, because Canadians want to see films that help them gain a better understanding of the issues that affect them. NFB documentaries are important in encouraging a process of reflection among Canadians and among stakeholders in the political, economic and social arenas.

Digital transition

On May 17, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) introduced changes to the way it regulates conventional television broadcasters and established August 31, 2011, as the date by which television licensees will only broadcast digital signals. In the OTA Notice, the Commission stated that the pace of HD/Digitial transition in Canada has been slow, particularly in comparison with the U.S. which has set 17 February 2009 as the date by which analog transmission will cease and all OTA television signals must be transmitted digitally. In the EU, individual member states are selecting switch-off dates for analog terrestrial broadcasting between 2008 and 2012 In the United Kingdom, analog service will begin to be switched off in 2008, with all analog service discontinued by 20124.

The Commission also expressed concern that Canadian viewers were finding little Canadian programming offered in HD. Such viewers may turn to foreign services, and it may be difficult to repatriate them to Canadian services even when more Canadian HD programming is available.

As a public producer, the NFB must be thoroughly prepared by the time a deadline is established for Canada. Since the production cycle takes about eighteen months, the NFB must be producing all documentaries and animated films in HD by 2008-2009 to be ready by 2009-2010.

New distribution plateform

Digitization will make it possible for Canadians to watch films and television shows on the platform of their choice - DVD, digital music player, mobile video player, webcasts and other means - regardless of where they are. Yet even though the digital revolution provides a wealth of extraordinary opportunities for producers and distributors, it also brings enormous problems with it. The NFB has been preparing for a number of years, creating partnerships and conducting research on image quality, innovative modes of transfer, accessibility and broadcasting in order to make the shift to digital technology.

Over the next few years, the NFB will face many challenges rooted in the proliferation of digital formats. HD will become the unchallenged standard for shooting, broadcasting and distribution in Canadian and internationally. Without HD production and distribution capacity on multiple platforms, the NFB could jeopardize its distribution activities and its revenues could drop precipitously.

The NFB must quickly adjust its production chain, distribution strategies and collection management methods to meet its program objectives and maintain its leadership role among its partners and Canadians generally. Costs, however, are important both to the independent industry and to the organization. The transition represents a considerable challenge.