The film was inspired by Laganière’s own personal story, of the inevitable estrangement of her mother, whose memory is slowly being consumed by Alzheimer’s disease. This “anticipated separation” serves as a bridge to the film’s other subjects as they pursue their own personal quests: Ines, an immigrant who returns to her country of birth, Croatia, to find the mother who abandoned her; Deni, an American author who is finally able to search for his Quebec roots; and Nathalie, who is desperately looking for her missing sister. Through their stories, Absences explores the deepest regions of the psyche, where our sense of loss and resiliency co-exist.
In this feature documentary, 50 people decide to bare all about their personal lives and discuss a multitude of subjects on camera, ranging from funny anecdotes to heartbreaking experiences. From their stories emerges a human mosaic with which we can all identify, one that celebrates the diversity of human experience. This inventive, free-form ensemble film breathes new life into the documentary genre.
This two-part series explores ancient teachings on death and dying. It was filmed over a four-month period on location in the Himalayas where the original text still yields an essential influence over people's views of life and death. A Way of Life contains footage of the rites and liturgies surrounding and following the death of a Ladakhi elder. The Dalai Lama explains his own feelings about death, while other scenes within a palliative care hospice in San Francisco depicts the use of the texts to counsel dying AIDS patients. This film, by revealing ancient teachings on how to think about death and dying, can be a valuable source of counsel and comfort.
This feature documentary by renowned director and cinematographer Vic Sarin is a personal yet global investigation into the history and current state of colourism: the discrimination within one ethnicity based on differences in skin tone. Sarin travels the globe to discuss this complex cross-cultural social issue with individuals whose lives it affects, including a Filipina entrepreneur whose business has flourished within the billion-dollar skin-whitening industry. Hue leads viewers on a thoughtful and surprising journey to the heart of a painful and pervasive social issue that not only polices appearance, but also class, gender, and geography.
Feminism has shaped the society we live in. But just how far has it brought us, and how relevant is it today? This feature documentary zeroes in on key concerns such as violence against women, access to abortion, and universal childcare, asking how much progress we have truly made on these issues. Rich with archival material and startling contemporary stories, Status Quo? uncovers answers that are provocative and at times shocking.
Over 200,000 people in Canada are deaf. For deaf francophones, Quebec Sign Language is essential to both their identity and their connection to the deaf community. In the past decades, parents and doctors have pushed for hearing aids, cochlear implants and a mainstream education for deaf kids. Yet this thrust into the hearing world has come at a price for some deaf students, who may have trouble following classroom activities and end up being marginalized.
The Dance of Words features young artists who have embraced their deaf identity in adulthood after spending a difficult childhood in the grey zone between hearing culture and deaf culture. These emerging artists show how they are using the arts to build a deaf culture that makes them proud. They shine a spotlight on their community while promoting and advancing deaf culture with a keen sensitivity.
This feature documentary offers an intimate portrait of living with bipolar disorder. Filmmaker Pierre Goupil (Celui qui voit les heures, La vérité est un mensonge) reveals his uneasy relationship with his illness and his journey as an artist in a society that struggles to accept those on the fringe. A product of the 1960s intellectual scene, Goupil continues to question the world and fight for global solidarity. The Wind at My Door celebrates life amid suffering, while reaffirming the importance of social ties and political commitment. An ode to the freedom of individuals over the powers that would enslave them, Goupil's film acknowledges both the terrible winter and the long-awaited spring of renewed creation.
In their small country home in New Brunswick, Jean-Paul and Anne, who suffer respectively from physical and intellectual impairments, share an unwavering love for each other. Declarations of love, little gifts, jokes and affectionate nicknames highlight their deeply moving relationship, a relationship that transcends difference. Together, they look after Jean-Paul’s ailing parents. With great respect for those who confide in him, Daniel Léger presents love through the eyes of two people with disabilities, and in so doing, creates an inspiring lesson in happiness.
This feature documentary follows Canadian actress Babz Chula to Kerala, India, where she is to undergo treatment by a renowned Ayurvedic healer in an effort to manage her 6-year battle with cancer. The bare-bones Indian clinic at first disappoints, but Babz is uplifted as her condition seemingly shows marked signs of improvement following treatment and introspection. Returning home, however, it is revealed that her cancer has actually advanced. Amazingly, the irrepressible actress invites filmmaker Anne Wheeler to continue bearing witness to her journey into the unknown.
This feature documentary explores the world of adolescence in rural teenagers' interactions with various authority figures. Outside the classroom, though, the teens enjoy more control of their world; in this playground, they can test the limits of their temporary freedom. A work of patient observation relying mostly on uninterrupted long takes,Guidelines emphasizes the contrast between adult and adolescent, between the regulated classroom and the great outdoors, gradually revealing the interior drama of adolescence with its shifts from fragility to reckless abandon.
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-length documentary from Inuvialuit filmmaker Dennis Allen is an emotional and revealing exploration of addiction among Indigenous people in Canada.After years of struggle and shame, 5 Indigenous Canadians bravely come forward with their stories of substance abuse, presenting the sensitive topic of alcoholism in an honest and forthright manner. Alex, Paula, Desirae, Stephen, and Dennis himself maintain a deep and devoted commitment to their traditional culture to achieve long-term sobriety. Through their voices, this insightful doc offers an inspirational beacon of hope for others.