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.
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.
We must protect our forests, this film tells us, because they provide us with primary resources and are popular with vacationers. Images shot from a plane in flight, with an employee of the Ministry of Fisheries and Forestry on board, serve to drive home the message that foresters are effectively watching over and guarding the forest.