NFB Launches ‘Circa 1948’ iOS App, a Look into Post-War Vancouver


Nfb circa 1948

The National Film Board of Canada has launched a new interactive story world called Circa 1948, in partnership with internationally acclaimed artist Stan Douglas and Canada’s award-winning Digital Studio in Vancouver.

Circa 1948 for iOS will take you through a 3D interactive world through two communities in post-war Vancouver that no longer exist: an old hotel in Vancouver’s affluent West Side and Hogan’s Alley in the working-class East Side.

Screenshot 2014 04 22 11 02 58

The 3D iOS app uses binaural sound along with various touch controls that include gyroscope-driven navigation modes, running on a Canadian-made, open-source rendering engine for a unique art experience.

Circa 1948 is one of only five projects selected from around the world for the Tribeca Film Festival’s second annual Storyscapes program and can be seen from April 23 to 26 at the Bombay Sapphire House of Imagination at 121 Varick Street in Soho, in New York City.

You can watch the film trailer below (requires Mac/PC):

Click here to download Circa 1948 for iOS—it’s free.


  • Braden

    Does anyone know what the “Canadian-made open source rendering engine” they used is?

  • We’ll find out. BRB

  • The NFB tells us it’s Autodesk Maya.

  • Kearwood Gilbert

    The assets were modelled in Maya, but the app is using the Open Source “Kraken Engine” to render them in real-time and output 3d spatial audio:

    – Kearwood

  • Braden

    Looks awesome – I’ll check it out! Thanks, Kearwood.

  • Thanks for personally chiming in Kearwood 🙂

  • Mixmaddest

    It is a superb app and looked perfect on my iPad 3 — but on my new iPad Air 2, many surfaces are blacked out. I hope this is fixed either by the developers or Apple because I love this app and I already miss it. Or is the problem just me?