Jump to page content
Small text Medium text Large text Terms and Concepts Site map Adjust text size Text and printable version Home
Sponsored Films
Marc St-Pierre has studied film, theatre, and philosophy. He has been a collection analyst at the National Film Board of Canada since 2004.

In the 1960s and 1970s, over half the films about the environment were sponsored. They were ordered by various federal departments and all had a propaganda angle. Some are of high quality and over time have become classics.

A Monopoly
Sponsored films made up almost a quarter of all films produced and distributed by the NFB from its founding until 1980. For more than 40 years, the NFB was the exclusive producer of films for the federal government. From 1981 on, most sponsored films would be made by private-sector producers.

Well-Defined Goals and Target Audience
Foresters (view an excerpt) is a good example of the kinds of sponsored films produced by the NFB in the 1960s. Made for the Ministry of Fisheries and Forests, Foresters had three clear goals: emphasizing the importance of forest conservation, fostering understanding of the work foresters do, and encouraging young people to go into the profession. While the issues raised in the film could be of interest to all, it is clearly aimed primarily at youth.

A Clear Message
Foresters (view an excerpt) does not offer a critical look at the forestry industry, and doesn’t attempt to cloak its purpose. The film seeks to persuade viewers that the forester, who works for the Ministry of Fisheries and Forests, is doing his job well. He is an effective guardian of the forest with a powerful tool at his disposal: modern science. The idea of controlling nature through science recurs frequently in sponsored films of this era.

Previous page Next page 1 - 2 - 3
See film excerpts
Operation Conservation
Excerpt (3:17)
Tomorrow Is Too Late
Excerpt (1:33)
Excerpt (1:26)
Tomorrow Is Too Late



Internet connection

Each film on this site is available for viewing at low speed or high speed.

  • Low speed: recommended if your Internet connection uses a dial-up modem (56 kbps or slower). Low-speed viewing results in lower quality image and sound.
  • High speed: recommended if you have high-speed Internet (DSL, cable modem) or are connected to an institutional network. Viewing in high-speed mode may cause occasional jerky images and sound interruptions if the speed of your connection is not fast enough.

If you're not sure which speed to use for viewing the films, try high speed first. If the results are not satisfactory, switch to low speed.



Films can be available for viewing in either Macromedia Flash or QuickTime. Image and sound quality are similar for all these formats.

  • Flash: lets you view the film directly in the Web page without launching an external application. Requires the Flash plug-in (download for free at Macromedia Flash Player).
  • QuickTime (alternative format): requires QuickTime, version 7 or more recent (download for free at QuickTime).

Closed captions (CC)

Translation of the audio portion of a film into subtitles, for example, dialogue, narration, sound effects, etc. These captions let hearing-impaired viewers read what they cannot hear. Closed captions are available for a few films. To access them, you must select QuickTime (under Format) and With closed captions (under Accessibility).


Described video (DV)

A narrated description of a film's key visual elements to enable the vision-impaired to form a mental picture of what is happening on screen. Described video is available for a few films. To access them, you must select QuickTime (under Format) and With described video (under Accessibility).

Excerpt  (1:33) 1974, production : Bané Jovanovic, Douglas Kiefer, Don Virgo
This film attempts to show that Environment Canada's Fisheries and Marine Services is doing its job well. The government has raised standards for salmon conservation and agents of the ministry conduct frequent and thorough surveys.