In A Quiet Girl, adopted Montreal filmmaker Adrian Wills discovers, on camera and in real time, the startling truths of his complex beginnings in Newfoundland. Shocking details drive Wills to the core of his birth mother’s resilience, and ultimately his own. In this moving feature documentary that combines 16mm footage and contemporary images with deeply personal conversations, Wills’ voyage transforms from an urgent search for identity into a quest to give a quiet girl her voice.
On August 31, 1995, tragedy struck the Guerrette family when Mona, a mother of two, died from breast cancer at age 42, leaving behind a husband and their daughters, Mylène and Marie-France. But she also left behind a stirring farewell message that would serve as a testament to her life.
A conservative Indo-Canadian family in small-town British Columbia must come to terms with a devastating secret: three sisters were sexually abused by an older relative beginning in their childhood years. After remaining silent for nearly two and a half decades, the sisters finally decide to come forward—not only to protect other young relatives, but to set an example for their daughters as well.
This short documentary transports us to the Saint-Félicien racetrack, where engines are running hot and excitement has reached a fever pitch. With its thunderous soundtrack, jarring backfires and choking clouds of smoke, Martin Bureau's Hell Runs on Gasoline! takes us deep inside a chaotic battle to the finish. Race cars hit the track, accidents pile up and the flames of burning engines wreak havoc - an infernal vision that soon dissipates into an eerily silent cemetery of abandoned carcasses.
This film is part of the The first edition. of the 5 Shorts Project, created by the National Film Board of Canada and produced in conjunction with Spirafilm, a Quebec cooperative dedicated to independent cinema.
The second edition can be found here.
The third edition can be found here.
Richard Cardinal died by his own hand at the age of 17, having spent most of his life in a string of foster homes and shelters across Alberta. In this short documentary, Abenaki director Alanis Obomsawin weaves excerpts from Richard’s diary into a powerful tribute to his short life. Released in 1984—decades before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission—the film exposed the systemic neglect and mistreatment of Indigenous children in Canada’s child welfare system. Winner of the Best Documentary Award at the 1986 American Indian Film Festival, the film screened at New York’s Museum of Modern Art in 2008 as part of an Obomsawin retrospective, and continues to be shown around the world.
He has just made his debut into the world. How does he shape up? In this first film, a pediatrician explains what he looks for when he gives a newborn infant his first physical checkup--testing reflexes, muscle tone, eye movement, etc. Three babies are observed, first in hospital, then at home in the care of their parents.
A poetic meditation by a man and a woman whose teenage son has threatened to end his lifee. What drives someone to that terrible extreme? In an effort to understand and demystify the phenomenon of suicide, the two parents search for answers within themselves. Their personal reflection is intercut with dramatic sequences, archival footage, animation, interviews and first-person accounts that look at suicide from an emotional, rational, cultural, social or medical perspective. Mireille Dansereau has made a sobering film that nevertheless expresses an abiding faith in life. In French with English subtitles.
With candor, humour and courage, a group of African-Canadian women challenge cultural taboos surrounding female sexuality and fight to take back ownership of their bodies. Combining her own journey with personal accounts from some of her radiant, endearing friends, co-director Habibata Ouarme explores the phenomenon of female genital mutilation and the road to individual and collective healing, both in Africa and in Canada.
This feature documentary tackles a taboo subject: the tragic effects of life-sustaining medical treatment on infants. Through the courageous testimony of a handful of doctors and therapists as well as the shocking stories told by devoted parents of disabled children, this film denounces the lack of support offered to science's little "miracles." Once saved, the children are more or less left to their fate by a medical system that does not give them the therapy needed to improve their quality of life and develop to their fullest potential.