I was really excited to learn (via BoingBoing) that the National Film Board of Canada has posted over 700 films, trailers, and clips up to their website. Many NFB documentaries are now available for free online viewing. They have also created special thematic “playlists” highlighting important films in their collection. Gil Cardinal has put together one entitled: “The Aboriginal Voice: the National Film Board and Aboriginal Filmmaking through the Years,” and NFB collections expert Albert Ohayon has put together one called “Canada’s Diverse Cultures,” both of which look very interesting.
Other good sources for free documentary films online are: moviesfoundonline.com, bodocus.com, freedocumentaries.org, and teachpeace.com all of which seem to list many of the same movies. Even more can be found at the internet archive, although it’s a little hard to find things there unless you already know what you are looking for.
UPDATE: Looking through the internet archive I discovered the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology Films collection, which has some interesting historical materials.