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Classic Docs at the NFB Mediatheque

The National Film Board's lobby on John Street is filled with large screen video "booths" where anyone can wander off the street and catch a bit of Canadian filmmaking both past and present. Three dollars for the hour, or an annual membership of $12, gains access to over 3000 titles in the NFB's database and a spot in a cozy chair with adjustable speakers in the headrest.

I checked it out myself a couple weeks back when I'd read a Globe and Mail article titled "Classic docs sent back to the vault". The article opened by stating that we, the taxpayers, had paid for the making of the classic Canadian documentary "The Champions" but can longer access it because the NFB won't spend the money to clear the rights which have expired. According to the paper the doc is one of many Canadian classics going back into the metaphorical vault.

As soon as I'd sat down in my Mediatheque "booth" and searched through the massive database I was able to pull up the doc in question, which features Canadian political heavyweights Trudeau and Levesque. The NFB staffer who was with me excitedly pointed out that the three-parter would soon be released on DVD too.

So maybe the Globe didn't have the whole story, since it seems the NFB is more than willing to share the gems from its "vault" in an effort to ensure Canadian history is not lost and forgotten. That's why the NFB was created in the first place. Since 1939 the NFB has been producing Canadian films and docs and preserving them for us all to see, many of which are conveniently available just by walking through the doors of their Toronto headquarters.


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