English Program

English Program is the NFB’s largest production pole with 5 studios from coast to coast. Across our studios, we produce and co-produce a national slate of linear, immersive and interactive documentary and animation projects by talented emerging, mid-career and senior creators that reflect stories, places, perspectives, and people from all parts of Canada.

With a production culture anchored in a unique blend of art and public service, English Program studios provide the context, infrastructure, team and resources to enable and encourage:

  • a crafted approach to storytelling (including development and post production timelines that are rarely available in private sector contexts);
  • creative risk-taking and experimentation with new ways of telling stories that expand the canvas of documentary and animation storytelling;
  • the centering and privileging of stories and perspectives from groups that are and have been typically underrepresented in mainstream channels.

We embrace a rich variety of creative approaches, a multiplicity of voices, perspectives and storytelling styles. We produce work in various formats and lengths and for a range of platforms – online, television, theatrical and non-theatrical settings, community screenings, public spaces, museums, classrooms, etc.

Every year, English Program production studios work with hundreds of freelancers from every province and territory in the country – directors, cinematographers, sound recordists, animators, compositors, editors, researchers, writers, composers, sound designers, foley artists, developers, coders etc – on our projects.

In recent years, English Program productions and co-productions have been nominated for and won dozens of national and international awards including the Oscars, Emmys, Peabodies, Webbies and CSAs. English Program titles are consistently part of prestigious showcases like the TIFF Top 10.

Documentary

We produce singular, passion projects based on a strong creative vision, a clear and original perspective, deep access to and understanding of a given story. We work primarily with one-offs. We produce documentaries that reflect on contemporary realities and strive to build understanding.

Our documentary slate breaks down into four main categories :

  • Best of class creative feature docs that will shine on the national and international stage.
  • Challenge for Change inspired community engagement documentaries.
  • Short docs.
  • Interactive/immersive projects that experiment with new forms, platforms, technologies and approaches to documentary storytelling.

The English Program produces documentaries out of its BC & Yukon; North West; Ontario and Quebec-Atlantic Studios.

Animation

Our hallmark is world class short form auteur animation and the (very) occasional feature using a wide range of animation techniques.

We also produce interactive/immersive projects that experiment with new forms, platforms, technologies and approaches to animation storytelling.

Founded by Norman McLaren, the legendary Montreal based Animation Studio works with animators from across the country. We also produce animation out of our BC & Yukon; North West and Quebec-Atlantic Studios.

Who’s Telling the Story

For a myriad of historical and structural reasons, not all groups of Canadians have had equitable access to public and private resources to tell their stories on screen.  This has resorted in a distorted and frankly impoverished cultural landscape where the voices and perspectives of certain groups of people are omnipresent while others are barely heard.

Our slate reflects Canadian society and perspectives not just in the stories we tell but in who tells them and how they’re told.

As a program, we recognize that “who tells the story” is of fundamental importance and when producing stories that engage with the realities of groups that have been historically marginalized, underrepresented and misrepresented in Canada, we privilege insider storytellers.

We embrace the fact that Canada is a country with many immigrants, that our directors trace their roots to all corners of the world, and that as a result many of our films/projects engage with international issues framed through a uniquely Canadian lens.

Given the systematic attempts made over the course of Canada’s history to eradicate the cultures and languages of Canada’s Indigenous peoples, we recognize and embrace our responsibility as Canada’s public producer and distributor to proactively create space for stories by Indigenous creators. A minimum of 15% of our production dollars go to projects by Indigenous directors.

Production Volume

In English Program, we have approximately 100 projects underway at any given time and complete between 30-40 productions a year.

At present, about 30% of our projects are co-productions and 70% are fully funded NFB productions.

Over 50% of our production dollars go towards linear creative documentary projects – shorts, mid-length and features.

20 – 25% of our production dollars go towards linear animation, mainly short form and the occasional feature.

20 – 25% of our production dollars go towards more emergent forms of interactive and immersive documentary and animation storytelling.

Michelle van Beusekom
Executive Director, English Program
John Christou
Director of Operations, English Program

Projects in release

Projects in production

Projects in development