Tom Perlmutter has been appointed to the top position at Canada's National Film Board (NFB).

Perlmutter, who joined the NFB in 2001 as the director general of the English programme, was elevated to the position of government film commissioner and chairman of the NFB. The appointment was made by Canadian Heritage minister Beverly Oda on Thursday. He replaces outgoing supremo Jacques Bensimon, whose term ended in December.

A veteran of the Canadian film scene before his NFB tenure, Perlmutter was the founding head of documentaries at Toronto production company Barna-Alper Productions and was a partner with Primitive Entertainment. He also partnered on several award-winning documentaries with celebrated filmmaker John Walker. Previous to that he was director of creative development at CineNova Productions.

Since joining the NFB, Perlmutter is credited with revitalizing the agency's documentary and animation programming, and forging international coproduction partnership. Under his aegis, the NFB has received its first Emmy nomination as well as four Oscar nominations and two Oscar wins.

'I am passionate about the National Film Board,' Perlmutter said in a statement. 'It is, I think, one of the most vital cultural institutions in the world today - a distinctive and original Canadian creation, loved at home and admired internationally. It has a unique role to play as a kind of cultural conscience and innovator for Canada - a role more urgent than ever before in a rapidly shifting digital media universe. I look forward to taking on the challenge and ensuring that the NFB remains a key cultural force for Canadians today and tomorrow.'

Perlmutter begins his five-year term on June 11, 2007.