NFB takes up a new residence in Toronto’s downtown

How changing needs and increased inter-studio collaboration prompted the National Film Board to relocate its Ontario operations after 25 years.

After 25 years in its office on Toronto’s John Street, the National Film Board today bids farewell to the workplace that has served as the centre of its Ontario operations since 1991.

While the NFB’s new space – located on Wellington Street – is only a 10-minute walk away, the organization believes it will allow the NFB to cover a far greater distance in the development and creation of content.

The relocation, spearheaded by executive producer Anita Lee and producers Lea Marin, David Oppenheim and Justine Pimlott, will see the NFB move into a custom-designed space that includes six digital editing suites, a 20-seat screening room and a virtual reality lab.

Lee describes the move as a “landmark shift” for the NFB’s Ontario operations, and said the new space greatly enhances its production capabilities, especially in the sense that it will be able to collaborate more readily with other studios and creators working outside of the office itself. Over the past 12 months, the NFB has also ramped up its focus on VR, which will continue to be an area of focus.

The new lease was signed in January of this year, with the film body then setting to work on design and construction planning of the 968 square-metre space. In total, 22 full-time employees will use the space, in addition to a roster of freelancers, editors and other personnel that will use the office on a more temporary basis. The new office is also where René Bourdages, NFB’s director general of creation and innovation, will be based. Previously, this role has always been based out of Montreal, though Bourdages felt it was important to have a member of senior management be a part of and accessible to the Toronto film and media industries, as well as being able to travel more readily between the NFB’s various branches.

The organization’s Edmonton and Montreal offices will also be moving into new locations, with the Alberta location set to transition later this winter, while the Quebec headquarters will relocate in 2018.

Projects developed and produced through the previous Toronto office include Sarah Polley’s Stories We Tell and Tiffany Hsiung’s The Apology, as well as upcoming releases in the form of Charles Officer’s Unarmed Verses and Attiya Khan and Larry Jackman’s A Better Man. Also in the works are a number of VR projects, including Randall Okita’s Machinations and Jordan Tannahill’s Draw Me Close.