I already knew about this. Quite cool, from a storyboarding perspective. Can't say I can really think of an application in making a final movie (beyond story-boarding) that wouldn't be better served in other ways though.
All of the grease pencil improvements are in the current official release, so you could try those out whenever you want. Basically they just expand the grease pencil from being a simple colored line drawing mechanism to being a full per-frame painting system. Basically, a grease pencil "drawing" is divided into layers. Each layer is able to be redrawn on any frame and when played back, the layer automatically changes on that frame. It is basically a decent 2d (actually even more, really, since the drawing are in 3d space...) animation tool now.
As for the DoF, it isn't part of BI, it is part of the viewport project (see here). It is actually a pretty big project that has been in the works for a while now. Promises a lot of viewport enhancements that, if they finish it, will really boost Blender's viewport in terms of features and usability.