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  The Canadian National Filmboard/interactive - what illustrators could do in an interactive world
Nanette Hoogslag
posted on March 12, 2013 at 9:19

My research in editorial illustration in new media pushes me to look out for interesting formats and new usage of the ‘illustration language’ and editorial usage of illustration in digital media platforms. This being a rather long title for what I call online illustration.

‘It’s still a search with mixed results and great projects are few and far between’.  But every time again, I get drawn to the Canadian National Film Board and the interactive projects they produce: NFB/ Interactive.

An evolving collection of innovative, interactive stories exploring the world – and our place in it – from uniquely Canadian points of view

These works are not only at the far end of what is technologically possible, they are often stunning and intriguing with topical subjects and gripping narratives. Their active stimulation of experimental film and animation pushed them into developing an interactive media interest. They explore what interactive means, for audiences, for makers, for visual communication and in particular in terms of documentary experience.

Founded in 1939, the NFB has produced over 13.000 productions and works in collaboration with emerging and established filmmakers, creators and co-producers in every region of Canada and abroad and constantly pushes technological and narrative boundaries and many of the projects involve the language of illustration and visual design.

I would urge you to explore the entire collection, film, animation and interactive projects. Their archive is like a box of sweets you want to keep dipping in, -and you can. Most films are accessible online.

Welcome to Pine Point, by Paul Shoebridge & Michael Simons of The Goggles

But for illustrators, I think their interactive collection should be most inspiring. Here you can see what the language of illustration can bring when it meets technology and story engaged with current issues. In a project like Welcome to Pine Point, by Paul Shoebridge & Michael Simons of The Goggles; part book, part film, part family photo album, a quirky collage style is used to tell the story of a place frozen in time.

The Test Tube, by Sturla Gunnersson

Or The Test Tubeby Sturla Gunnersson‘; an interactive parable about our insatiable appetites’, part interview, part live tweeting and graphic animations with a stark message.

Bear 71, by Leanne Allison and Jeremy Mendes

But perhaps my favorite is Bear 71, by Leanne Allison and Jeremy Mendes. This is a very personal and intimate confrontation with the life of bears in the Canadian wilderness. Here are real-time media, info-graphics and video used mixed with evocative and beautiful graphics, images and storytelling, engaging you in the plight of bears.

Go ahead be inspired!