National Film Board of Canada


Documentaries, animations, and short fiction for kids.

The other day my friend Jason pointed to a series of how-to videos on Youtube sponsored by the National Film Board of Canada. With a few clicks, I arrived at their site, a veritable gold mine of shorts, documentaries, animations, experimental films, stop-motions, and works of fiction produced by Canadian filmmakers over the last many decades. They’ve neatly organized their films by playlists and channels as well as by directors and titles. It’s an easy site to peruse and find yourself quickly excited by how much you’d like to watch (and show your kid(s)).

The Kids’ Movies channel is a good place to start. I loved the 1988 Oscar-nominated animated short of The Cat Came Back, based on the folk song of the same name (dating back to the late 1800s). Perspectre/Perspectrum is a delight; it’s a conceptual animated short where geometric forms take new shape to the sound of a 13-stringed Japanese instrument called the koto. For animal lovers there’s also F.Q & Ingmar Remmler’s 1966 interpretation of the famous Aesop’s Fable, The Lion and the Mouse, recreated with 60s humor and voiceovers as The Bear and the Mouse.

Many of the shorts incorporate elements of Canadian culture (including lots of hockey references), but there’s lots here for kids (and adults) with far-reaching interests from magic to ballet to polar bears to music and art.