About our collection

An impressive archive of Canadian perspectives 

The National Film Board (NFB) is Canada’s award-winning public producer and distributor of documentaries, animation, interactive stories and participatory experiences. The NFB is also one of the few public agencies in the world that manages its own audiovisual collection. The descendant of two government film departments (the Exhibits and Publicity Bureau, 1918–1923, and the Canadian Government Motion Picture Bureau, 1923–1941), the NFB was created in 1939 and has been instrumental in developing and modernizing Canada’s national cinema. The NFB’s collection now comprises more than 13,000 titles. This impressive archive consists of newsreels, Second World War propaganda films, films commissioned by other federal departments, and socially engaged documentaries made by or about members of a diverse range of communities and groups across the country—anglophones, francophones, Indigenous Peoples, women, youth, Black and racialized Canadians, and 2SLGBTQI+ people, as well as individuals from European, Latin American, African, Asian and Middle Eastern communities, among many others. The collection includes experimental films, web documentaries, interactive experiences and auteur animation, created using an endless variety of animation techniques (some developed entirely or partly at the NFB), in addition to short, mid-length and feature-length fiction films made for television or theatrical release. These works tell the stories of people and communities in every region of the country and around the world, from authentically Canadian perspectives. The films in this collection have been winning national and international awards since the NFB’s inception, for a total of more than 7,000 honours, including 1 Golden Bear (Berlin), 1 Golden Lion (Venice), 4 Cristals (Annecy), 4 Palmes d’Or (Cannes), 4 Webbys (New York), 4 Iris Awards (Montreal), 12 Oscars® (Los Angeles) and 100 Genies (Toronto).

A brand-new search tool

April 2023— We recently launched our new search tool for the NFB collection, which allows users to navigate through the institution’s entire collection of works. This tool replaces the one that used to be accessible from the old nfb-onf.gc.ca website:

Unlike the previous search tool, which only allowed users to search by exact title, the new tool was inspired by best online practices and the most efficient search engines, such as Google and IMDb. Users can now search using any keywords and they’ll get all relevant results, including results generated by related terms. For example, if you enter the name of the legendary filmmaker Alanis Obomsawin, you’ll not only find all the films she’s ever directed but also all the works that have been made about her or that she’s been involved with in any way. Underneath the search bar, you’ll also find multiple filters to better refine your results. Please know that the NFB’s Infrastructure team has placed redirection links between the old collection and the new one to make sure that no reference links were left broken after the move. Lastly, please rest assured that no data was erased or lost during the transition. If you can’t find important information that you used to have access to, it’s very likely that it’s on the way. Our team continues to work on the new collection tool and will do its best to improve it over time. For any additional information, please contact us.