I posted earlier regarding, the well-executed online video distribution service from the National Film Board. I subsequently emailed them with some feature requests, and I’ve received an email in reply, in which Matt (“Social Media Manager”) confirmed that the new version of their video player does everything I had hoped it would, and that furthermore they have recently gone into full release mode. The new site is thus simply, just as it should be. If you’re a public film institution, your principal online presence should be about getting film into the eyes of the public. Love it.

I’m hoping their next improvement is to implement a suggestion from Paul Coyle, who commented on my first post:

“My only criticism would be that it appears that they’re streaming the videos through Flash Media Server which is slightly restrictive in that it uses Adobe’s proprietary FLV format. I would love to see them post up some MPEG4 versions of the videos for direct download.”


Update — Matt Responds:

I totally agree. The problem with downloads is another rights issue. We were able to acquire the rights to the films (from music, actors unions, etc) for streaming but not downloads.

We’ll be offering paid downloads through iTunes soon and hopefully through the site in phase 2.

Cheers and please keep in touch,

Sometime in July the National Film Board opened up a test site for playing videos from their archives. There’s a lot of content, and much of it is feature length. It was all paid for by taxpayers back when it was made, so distributing it freely is exactly the right plan. There’s new stuff and old.

Video quality is excellent (multiple levels are available) and it’s embeddable, as above.

Publicly funded media is perpendicular to all worries about ownership and licensing and remixing and making sure there’s a profit transaction every time somebody look at it, and so on. The NFB and the CBC should be leveraging hell out of their archives, throwing it up on the web, getting it out of the vaults, giving people a chance to filter and tag and redistribute and build on it. This is a huge advantage that these public organizations have over their for-profit neighbours, and if they’re worried about their utility in some new information saturated age they should be exploiting it. Looks like the NFB is on it. CBC?

El Contrato: Mexican Migrant Labour in Southern Ontario

I’m too busy to watch this NFB documentary about Mexican migrant labourers in southern Ontario, but Jane’s watching it and it looks sooper interesting:

I used to work the friday night shift at the local office supply store in Collingwood, and for a certain stretch in the summer that’s when the Jamaican orchard pickers would roll into town, looking to buy stuff to take home with them. Cross-cultural perplexity inevitably ensued, good times to be sure. There were also local orchards that employed Mexicans under a similar arrangement, but for some reason they never showed up in towne. More recently, Vantreight farms employed a parallel Mexican migrant crew during daffodil picking season, but they never mingled them with us local pickers.

The particular legal exemptions that allow migrant agricultural workforces in Canada have always seemed murky and more than a little suspect. CBC Victoria once did a decent radio program on the Mexican workers at Vantreight, and the managers there had some reasonably reassuring things to say. I’m really looking forward to watching this doc, eventually.

Project Grizzly Streaming at NFB

Project Grizzly is up at NFB!

I can’t remember where I first saw this crazy thing. Afterwards, when people started talking about Herzog’s Grizzly Man, it took me a while to sort out that they meant a different movie. “Wait, in the grizzly man documentary you’re talking about, he doesn’t don homemade battle armour and search out bears for combat?”

Peter Lynch, 1996, 72 min
In this feature-length documentary, Troy James Hurtubise goes face to face with Canada’s most deadly land mammal, the grizzly bear. Troy is the creator of what he hopes is a grizzly-proof suit, and he repeatedly tests his armour – and courage – in stunts that are both hair-raising and hilarious. Directed by Peter Lynch, the film has become a cult classic in the United States and is rumoured to be a favourite of director Quentin Tarantino.”

Saturday Night at the YouTube

A collection of good pre-partying videos from the last few years.

In high-def where available, but I can’t be bothered to search up the youtube hack that allows embedding of HD clips, so you may have to click through for full quality.

Fatboy SlimPush The Tempo

I can’t believe I hadn’t seen this before.

Utah SaintsSomethings Good ’08

“It was the freshest move I’d ever seen”. Charming.

Eclectic MethodThe Colbert Report – Remix feat Lawrence Lessig

Also appears as the closing credits in Remix Manifesto (which I still haven’t seen, despite that I could see it if I were to click here). Can’t help noticing that all of these videos are either remixes or third-party alternate versions or make heavy use of sampling (except maybe the Fatboy Slim, ironically).

Flat EricFlat Beat – Mr. Oizo

Also new to me. I don’t know the story behind the video but I gather it was yet another sensation that I never heard about a few years back. Click through and read the info box for some background on the track.

Kanye WestCan’t Tell Me (Alternate Version) by Zack Galifianakis and Will Oldham

Still my favourite after all these months. Shot on Zack’s farm in South Carolina as a lark for his friend Kanye. Finally an HD version!

Kanye West “Can’t Tell Me Nothin” feat. Zach Galifianakis
by galifianakis

François MacréThriller (64 tracks a’cappella version)

Maybe a little sedate for Saturday night, but maybe not. Heck of a thing.

Lazza Gun Sound SystemWelcome 2 Treeplanting 2012

Met Lazza (Lars) at a BBQ last week and he obliged by laying down some fresh freestyle for us, but we forgot to ask him to make the lightning sound effects from the classic “Pound Mix 2007” that I played on a couple of my radio shows. A few days later he emailed me with this fresh material (warning, profanity and 10 minutes long, which is long by youtube standards). Lyrics and .mp3 download here.

Use a staff for your back if your a little taller, I put a twist on a D and grind of the kicker
Shovel in the right, Left is my trigger finger, 249 in a clip plus 1 one in the chamber
Thats not dirt on my hand, I call that gun powder, and I can open up your tarp like its a cash register
Step out on your peice and take out every dollar, see me LZ in my getaway car
And when i say getaway car I mean A-Star, Best decision special mission in a helicopter
I Got a Back Bagger Swagger , a nitridex-flex, I aint just top-dollar-ballin Im livin the upper deck!
Pump That, Cause every top-dollar-baller pumps that, you pocket turnd fat, cool cat,

Hells yeah.

And finally, this new any more but it really is that good:

KutimanMother of All Funk Chords — Thru-You project

If you liked that there is an entire album, all of which seems to be as conceptually and sonically vicked. Touching and rocking at the same time. Recommended.

Two Ways to Watch All of Carts Of Darkness

My prayers have been answered. You can now watch the entirety of Carts of Darkness, right now or very soon.

Option 1:

Open Cinema is doing a showing in Victoria, 5:30 tomorrow. The mayor and others will be there to discuss homelessness and such.

Options 2:

The whole thing is now available on Have I mentioned Oh right, repeatedly.

Some people might think that putting entire movies on the web for free in high quality might reduce the number of folks who will go watch it in on a big screen. And maybe those people would be right. Then again, even though it is available right here, on this web page, below this text, I’m going to wait 24 hours and pay $10 bucks to watch it in a room with other people tomorrow. So there you go.

Carts of Darkness

Extreme binning in North Vancouver.

Just the trailer, unfortunately (some excerpts here):

“I don’t really know where this film is going. Since we started I’ve had one man run over by a truck, another man die of alcohol poisoning, and the main character is Al… and he’s in jail.”