When death haunts a high school in a small town in the late 1990s, everyone is forever transformed. In this gentle, prismatic film, Samara returns to the town she fled as a teen to re-immerse herself in the memories still lurking there, in its spaces and within the dusty boxes of diaries, photos and VHS tapes. 1999 is not a ghost story, but the ghosts are palpable at every turn. The snow-covered streets, the school’s hallways and lockers are preserved as in a dream. The absences left by the relentless teenage suicides still shimmer with questions, trauma and regret. Samara encounters people who are as breathtaking as they are heartbroken, and, finally, 16 years later, the community strengthens itself by sharing the long-silenced memories. Ultimately the film weaves together multiple voices in a collective essay on how grief is internalized—and how, as children, we so painfully learn to articulate our desire to stay alive.
This feature documentary tells the story of 2 teens who head out west in search of self. Like a quarter of Vancouver’s itinerant youth population, Mélo and Ti-criss made the trip from Quebec, hopeful for a better life. Still minors, the pair seeks escape and adventure, perhaps the meaning of life. From east to west, from the streets to a hotel, with a welcome interlude in the country, they seek their place in society.
This documentary looks at how children deal with a parent who has died by suicide. Meet 3 people who lost their fathers to suicide at an early age but learned the truth much later, after years of confusion, grief and guilt. In French with English subtitles.
WARNING: This film discusses the topic of OCD. Viewer discretion is advised.
This feature documentary explores the daily lives of individuals living with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), a misunderstood anxiety disorder characterized by intrusive thoughts, nagging fears and ritualistic behaviour. From the outside, its sufferers have no physical disabilities and have every appearance of being as functional as the next person. But inside, a daily war is waged for survival.
Musician Catherine MacLellan—the daughter of Canadian singer/songwriting legend Gene MacLellan—grew up surrounded by her father’s music. He died by suicide when she was 14. Two decades after his loss, Catherine is finally ready to confront the hurtful mystery of her absent parent and embrace his musical legacy.
The Song and the Sorrow follows Catherine as she journeys to understand her father and face her own struggles with mental illness. Through archival footage and intimate interviews with friends, family members, and musicians who knew and played with Gene—including Anne Murray, Lennie Gallant, and the late Ron Hynes—the film reveals a troubled and loving man who was never at ease with fame or money.
Catherine is determined to lift the oppressive burden of silence that accompanies the stigma of mental illness and hopes that others can take strength and solace from her story.
TRIGGER WARNING: This film contains the following subject matter: Suicide and self harm.
If you are affected by the topics addressed in the film, we encourage you to reach out to someone you trust.
If you’re in need of crisis support, please visit Crisis Services Canada
Shannon Amen unearths the passionate and pained expressions of a young woman overwhelmed by guilt and anxiety as she struggles to reconcile her sexual identity with her religious faith. A loving elegy to a friend lost to suicide.
Directed by John Kastner, this feature documentary about violence, mental illness, and the rights of victims tells the story of a troubled young man who stabbed a complete stranger 6 times in a crowded shopping mall while gripped by psychosis. Twelve years later, his victim, who miraculously survived, is terrified to learn that he’s out, living in the community under supervision. He’s applying for an absolute discharge, and if he succeeds, he’ll no longer be required to take the anti-psychotic drugs that control his mental illness. With unprecedented access to the patient, the victim, and the mental institution, the film looks at both sides of the debate and puts a human face on the complex ethical issues raised.
This feature documentary tells the stories of 5 asylum seekers who flee their native countries to escape homophobic violence. They face hurdles integrating into Canada, fear deportation and anxiously await a decision that will change their lives forever.
In this short documentary, a succession of black and white photographs provides a gritty look at juvenile prostitution and at the young people, male and female, struggling to get off the streets. Highlighting the links between being sexually abused as a child, loss of self-esteem, and turning to the streets, the film quickly dispels the images of glamor and big money usually associated with prostitution, and shows the positive efforts of child-care workers to help juvenile prostitutes find a way out.
Beauty explores the lives of five gender-creative kids, each uniquely engaged in shaping their own sense of what it means to be fully human. Whether it’s dealing with bullies, explaining themselves to their parents, or navigating the uncharted waters of relationships, Bex, Lili, Fox, Tru and Milo talk about their experiences and struggle to live in authenticity.
Illuminating a new paradigm for domestic-violence prevention, A Better Man offers a fresh and nuanced look at the healing and revelation that can happen for everyone involved when men take responsibility for their abuse. It also empowers audience members to play new roles in challenging domestic violence, whether it’s in their own relationships or as part of a broader movement for social change.
To Learn more about A Better Man and access additional resources, visit A Better Man project
When Phillip Wong died by suicide, his family thought that silence would end their pain. But his sister, filmmaker Michelle Wong, needed to make sense of her brother's death. What drove him to end his life at age 36?
Weaving together intimate conversations with those closest to Phillip, as well as her own candid reflections, Wong embarks on a personal journey. Gently peeling away layers of silence, she uncovers her brother's story of gambling addiction and his lonely spiral into desperation, isolation and depression.
Filmed against the backdrop of the noisy casinos of Las Vegas and the quiet town of St. Paul, Alberta, the documentary lays bare the grief of family and friends. Sifting through feelings of guilt, sadness and shame, the once-fragmented family begins to discover a new closeness. This heart-wrenching film is a sister's uncompromising search for the truth and healing--for herself, her family, and others struggling with addiction.