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NFB Films for Apple TV

Delivering award-winning films and animations in your living room with the AppleTV

The NFB’s mission is to support Canadian filmmakers and to make their content available to viewers of all ages. When Apple announced the opening of the latest AppleTV to third-party developers, we worked in collaboration with the NFB to re-create their “Best of iPad apps” for this new device.

The challenge

The opening of the Apple TV to third-party developers was announced only a couple of weeks before the introduction of the Apple TV to the public and the opening of the Apple TV Store. Wherecloud had the challenge to rapidly and efficiently write a brand new version of the NFB Films application for the Apple TV UI paradigms.

Coupled with the very tight deadline, the new interaction paradigm forced us to rethink the navigational UX of the application to support a more up-down and left-right navigational path.

The solution

We decided to tackle this challenge by using the latest development language from Apple: Swift 2.0. We divided the workload in 1-week sprints and delivered incremental versions of the Apple TV application to the NFB for validation and testing.

Our collaborative process of integrating NFB’s graphical elements with our latest sprint deliverables produced a final version of the application exactly on the promised delivery date… and Apple approved it on the first submission.



Instead of listing movies only via defined categories, we grouped similar movies within a hub, each hub having a number of defined channels. This new grouping mechanism enables the usage of the Apple TV Top Shelf in the home page to quickly access the hubs.


The application leverages the Apple TV movie player component that understands Siri commands. Asking Siri to “rewind 30 seconds” will automatically move the selected NFB movie 30 seconds backwards.


NFB movies are available in French and English. The integration of the language selection toggle within the search screen provides the user with the ability to quickly search for either French or English movies regardless of the language setting of their Apple TV.