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Free iPhone app streams short films, documentaries, cartoons, and more.

23 October 2009
Like indie films? Documentaries? Animation? Ho, boy, have I got an app for you: NFB Films lets you watch over a thousand movies on your iPhone. For free.

The "NFB" stands for National Film Board, a kind of Canadian PBS. The app taps the NFB's mammoth library of documentaries, animated films, trailers (for upcoming NFB releases), and more.

All the movies are streamed to your iPhone, but there's also an ingenious "watch later" option that downloads a selected movie for later viewing. However, these downloads expire after 24 hours, not unlike App Store movie rentals, but that hardly seems unfair.

NFB Films includes a Channels section where you can browse various categories, including Documentaries, Kids Cartoons, History & War, and Environment. There's a search option, natch, and you can add movies to a favorites (sorry, "favourites") list for easier access.

If you come across a film you want to share with friends, the app lets you send an e-mail that includes a link to the Web version.

A while back I went to see 10 Oscar-nominated short films--five animated, five live-action. They were all tremendously entertaining. Since then I've been a lot more open-minded to non-mainstream movie fare like this. So for me, NFB Films is pure iPhone gold. I reckon you'll love it, too.
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