TORONTO—The National Film Board of Canada has launched an iPhone application that lets users watch hundreds of free, full-length films, documentaries, animations, and trailers on the mobile phone.
The application streams the films to iPhones but users can also preload a film to view up to 24 hours later without the need for a network connection. There are options to search the NFB collection, explore films by themes, and save a list of favourites.
Close to 2,000 people had downloaded the app by press time, with an average rating of 4.5 out of 5 and rave reviews from those who took the time to post a comment.
"The NFB app seems to work flawlessly and is well thought out. Thank you NFB for all your efforts over the years and thank you very much for bringing access to those inspired projects to a 'mobile' audience," wrote Nikc Naemm in his review on the iTunes store.
NFB, Canada's public film producer and distributor, has created over 13,000 productions and won over 5,000 awards, including 12 Oscars and more than 90 Genies in the 70 years it has been in existence.
In January, NFB marked seven decades in operation with the launch of NFB.ca which offers access to much of its rich collection of films online with free viewing from anywhere in the world. Two months later, NFB made the site iPhone compliant.
The new iPhone application is a continuation of a strategy the NFB is working on to make their content widely available to Canadians—part of a strategic plan begun two years ago.
"New technology allows us to do that. We're really just harnessing new tech," said Deborah Drisdell, director general for the agency's digital enterprises department.
While the evolution of the Internet has been a nightmare for the bottom lines of other media companies, the NFB, which is publicly funded and charged with producing and distributing films important to Canadians, saw it as an opportunity, she said.
"When we started in the 1930s and 40s, people put film cans under their arms and actually went out to communities to show films."
Now people can keep a documentary like Being Caribouin their pocket and watch it at their leisure. For those without an iPhone or who want a larger screen, visit www.NFB.ca.