This feature-length documentary is an on-the-spot record of the student protests that shook the Université de Moncton in 1968-69. Led by students desiring greater recognition of the French fact in New Brunswick, the protests spawned street marches, petitions and a sit-in, but also many discussions among students seeking to re-establish an Acadian identity.
This feature documentary pays homage to the special character of an enduring people: the Acadians. Two hundred years after Expulsion of the Acadians by the British (1755–1764), Acadian culture is still very much alive. But why do Acadians—whose ancestors founded the first colony in North America—have to keep making a racket to tell the world they're still here?
In this documentary, striking political science students concerned with the democratization of their university occupy the offices of the Political Science Department at McGill University. The issue: greater student control over the hiring of faculty. The film crew lives with the students and follows their action through confusion, argument, dissent, and negotiations with faculty. The result is an intimate view of a student political action.
On September 9, 2002, a scheduled appearance by former Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu sparked heated debate at Montreal's Concordia University. By the end of the day, the "Concordia riot" had made international news, from CNN to Al-Jazeera. This film documents the fallout from that eventful day, following three young campus activists as they negotiate the most formative year of their lives. Filmmakers Ben Addelman and Samir Mallal jump into the fray with street-smart bravado and a handheld camera. Buoyed by the songs of hip-hop artist Buck 65, this film offers a tonic reflection on the current state of Canadian student activism and the enduring value of tolerance.
This feature documentary tells the story of the Notre-Dame-du-Sacré-Cœur Congregation which was formed in 1924 when 53 French-speaking nuns separated from their unilingual English community, forming a new religious community that immediately began to campaign for the preservation of Acadian language, faith and culture. Convinced that education was essential for Acadian women, in 1943 the Congregation founded Collège Notre-Dame d’Acadie, where young women were able to study in French for the first time in New Brunswick.
This short documentary links family memories to the evolution of Acadian French. Bittersweet Blues reveals the dilemma that Acadians face: do they adopt normative French in order to be better understood, or proudly continue to use their own language, which reflects the colourful flavour of their own authentic culture?
This film was made as part of the Tremplin program, in collaboration with Radio-Canada.
This feature documentary by Alanis Obomsawin is a thoughtful tribute to Norman Cornett, a McGill University professor celebrated by scores of students appreciative of his unconventional yet powerful teaching methods who was controversially dismissed from his teaching duties in 2007.
This documentary is an inquiry into what came to be known as Saskatoon's infamous "freezing deaths," and the schism between a fearful, mistrustful Indigenous community and a police force harbouring a harrowing secret.One frigid night in January 2000 Darrell Night, an Indigenous man was dumped by two police officers in -20° C temperatures in a barren field on the city outskirts. He survives the ordeal but is stunned to hear that the frozen body of another Indigenous man was discovered in the same area. Days later, another victim, also Native, is found. When Night comes forward with his story, he sets into motion a chain of events: a major RCMP investigation into several suspicious deaths, the conviction of the two constables who abandoned him and the reopening of an old case, leading to a judicial inquiry.
Taking the form of a conversation between a young teacher at a French school in Moncton and her students, the film shows how hard it is for francophones to preserve their language in a society where English is everywhere and has been for centuries. In French with English subtitles.
Stories of resistance, strength and perseverance are laid bare in this examination of a dark day in Canadian history. At the height of tensions at Oka, Quebec, in 1990, Kanien’kehá:ka (Mohawk) women, children and Elders fled their community of Kahnawake out of fear for their safety. Once past the Canadian Army that surrounded their home, they were assaulted by angry non-Indigenous protesters who pelted their convoy with rocks. This visceral display of hatred and violence – rarely seen so publicly in Canada – shocked the nation and revealed the severity of the dangers that faced the Kanien’kehá:ka in their struggle to defend a sacred site.
This film is the fourth in Alanis Obomsawin’s landmark series on the Mohawk resistance at Oka that would become a pivot point in contemporary relationships between Indigenous nations and Canada.
This feature-length documentary is the unrehearsed story of what happened when old-timers from Île-aux-Coudres, a small island in the St. Lawrence River, were persuaded to revive a local whale-catching practice. Through the magic of words and the mystery of the catch, the film uncovers a spirituality rooted in the moon and the rhythm of the tides. More than a documentary, it is a fresco of the myths and legends among the traditional fishing communities of Quebec. In French with English subtitles.
This film was made by Pierre Perrault, Michel Brault and Marcel Carrière.
For more background info on this film, visit the NFB.ca blog.
This feature-length documentary recounts the events that surrounded and led to the Oka Crisis of the summer of 1990. The film focuses on the Mohawk territory of Kahnawake, in Quebec, but also reflects on the relationship between Canada and Indigenous peoples at a particular time in history.