The NFB Web Team’s Top 10 Films of 2011


Part of our daily jobs – we the NFB’s web team – is to make the Film Board’s collection accessible to people online. To this effect, we publish every week films old and new on our terrific viewing site, I say “old and new” because this year alone, we added to the site films from 1950 (Gentlemen Jekyll and Driver Hyde) all the way to 2011 (The Van Doos in Afghanistan).

What this means, is that for us web teamers, “new” often means “new on the site”, which is the parameter we chose for this year’s Staff Pick. So here are our favourite films added to in 2011 (irrespective of production year), with the reason why we liked them so much.

Merry film-watching and happy holidays!

Julie Matlin, NFB social media strategist:

A Year at Sherbrooke – “This is the kind of film that makes me proud to work here. It reaches far beyond the everyday to bring us beautiful, life-affirming stories that remind us of what’s important.”

A Year at Sherbrooke, Thomas Hale, provided by the National Film Board of Canada

Stéphane Bousquet, director, Digital Entreprises:

Bob’s Birthday – “Hilarious. A true classic. I’m so proud we finally got the chance to get this film out to Canadians.”

Bob's Birthday, David Fine & Alison Snowden, provided by the National Film Board of Canada

Albert Ohayon, NFB Collection analyst:

The Universal Clock- The Resistance of Peter Watkins – “A complex, multi-layered exploration of how television programming is tightly controlled and how Peter Watkins has managed to create works of art for an otherwise vapid medium.”

The Universal Clock – The Resistance of Peter Watkins, Geoff Bowie, provided by the National Film Board of Canada

Matthieu Stréliski, ONF social media strategist:

YUL 871 – “A lovely take on a Frenchman’s arrival in the swinging Montreal of the 1960s. It was directed by Jacques Godbout, and it features pretty much every Québécois movie star of the era.”

YUL 871 , Jacques Godbout, provided by the National Film Board of Canada

Marc St-Pierre, ONF Collection analyst:

Jack Kerouac’s Road – A Franco-American Odyssey – “A portrait of the famous beat writer that delves into Kerouac’s French Canadian roots. Worth a watch even if only to see or rediscover Kerouac’s interview – in French – with Fernand Seguin on Le sel de la semaine in 1967.”

Jack Kerouac's Road – A Franco-American Odyssey, Herménégilde Chiasson, provided by the National Film Board of Canada

Catherine Perreault, web writer (

Louise – “Like’s most watched film, Sunday at 105, Louise is a movie about a day in the life of a grandmother. The 97-year-old Louise is an active women who has a great sense of humour, an adorable French accent and what she calls “busy hands”. You can’t help but fall in love with her.”

Louise, Anita Lebeau, provided by the National Film Board of Canada

Kate Ruscito, NFB community manager:

Vive la Rose – “Everything about this animation is folksy, charming, and unbelievably romantic.”

Vive la rose, Bruce Alcock, provided by the National Film Board of Canada

Émilie Nguyen, ONF community manager:

Synchromy – “Norman McLaren’s genius is at play in this 7-minute film that offers perfect symmetry between sight and sound. The music your hear isn’t produced by instruments. To make this film, McLaren used optical techniques to compose the sound track which he then moved, in multicolor, onto the picture area of the screen. So what the eye sees, the ear hears. Magic!”

Synchromy, Norman McLaren, provided by the National Film Board of Canada

Julie Charbonneau, coordinator, business development:

A Composer’s Dream – “It was great to be afforded a look inside Howard Shore’s studio – a serene and inspiring place. I also loved watching the great composer write, and hear him explain how his greatest source of inspiration is nature.”

A Composer's Dream, Barbara Willis-Sweete, provided by the National Film Board of Canada

Carolyne Weldon, NFB web writer (and yours truly):

The Devil’s Toy – Delicious 1966 skateboarding doc by Claude Jutra. It depicts “young rebels” shredding down the posh hills of Westmount, in turtlenecks and trenchcoats, more often lying on their boards than standing on them. There are cops, boards being confiscated, views of Mout Royal, an awesome soundtrack. This film made me super nostalgic for a Montreal I never knew and reignited my eternal crush on skaters. Those guys have it.

The Devil's Toy, Claude Jutra, provided by the National Film Board of Canada