Alphée has a rare genetic disorder that hampers her development. Yet she continues to defy medical expectations. In a moving declaration of love for his daughter, filmmaker Hugo Latulippe and his family steal away for a year, focusing on his daughter's learning, so that she can integrate into a regular classroom when they get home.
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.
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 explores the state of prostitution laws in Canada. It captures the complexity of the issue by listening to the frequently conflicting voices of sex workers, policy-makers, lawyers, and even the male buyers who make their argument for why prostitution is good for society. Warning: This film deals with mature subject matter. Viewer discretion is advised.
Following the release of Buying Sex, Professor Alan Young, counsel for the applicants in Bedford v. Canada and a participant in the film, contacted the NFB to complain that the film provides an incomplete and inaccurate account of the case. The NFB acknowledges that the constitutional challenge is not the focus of the film. Rather, the aim of the film is to examine the current controversy in Canada around the decriminalization of prostitution, of which the Bedford case is one aspect. The goal is to create a film which encourages Canadians to engage in an informed debate about sex work from a national and international perspective. The NFB believes the film achieves this purpose. In the spirit of furthering an informed debate on these issues, including the constitutional challenge, and in response to Prof. Young's concerns, the NFB provides below links to the legal briefs filed by the parties before the Supreme Court of Canada as well as links to the judgments of all three Canadian Courts. The third judgment, from the Supreme Court of Canada, was released in December 2013, following the completion of the film. The Supreme Court struck down as unconstitutional the three prostitution related laws challenged by Prof. Young, but suspended its judgment for one year to allow Parliament to consider whether to enact new laws, thus ensuring that the debate surrounding the decriminalization of prostitution will continue in Canada for some time.
Legal Briefs Filed by the Parties in the Supreme Court of Canada
Judgments from the Trial Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court of Canada
Canada (Attorney General) v. Bedford, 2013 SCC 72 (Supreme Court of Canada)
Canada (Attorney General) v. Bedford, 2012 ONCA 186 (Court of Appeal for Ontario)
Bedford v. Canada, 2010 ONSC 4264 (CanLII) (Superior Court of Ontario)
This feature documentary tells the story of 2 Inuit communities of the circumpolar north—one on Canada’s Baffin Island, the other in Northwest Greenland—that are linked by a migration led by an intrepid shaman. Navarana, an Inughuit elder and descendant of the shaman, draws inspiration and hope from the ties that still bind the 2 communities to face the consequences of rapid social and environmental change.
Click here for the Inuktitut version, Katinniq
Click here for the Greenlandic version, Katinngat
The people of the Attawapiskat First Nation, a Cree community in northern Ontario, were thrust into the national spotlight in 2012 when the impoverished living conditions on their reserve became an issue of national debate. With The People of the Kattawapiskak River, Abenaki director Alanis Obomsawin quietly attends as community members tell their own story, shedding light on a history of dispossession and official indifference. “Obomsawin’s main objective is to make us see the people of Attawapiskat differently,” said Robert Everett-Green in The Globe & Mail. “The emphasis, ultimately, is not so much on looking as on listening—the first stage in changing the conversation, or in making one possible.” Winner of the 2013 Donald Brittain Award for Best Social/Political Documentary, the film is part of a cycle of films that Obomsawin has made on children’s welfare and rights.
Also available on the Alanis Obomsawin: A Legacy DVD box set
This feature-length documentary tells the story of jockey Ron Turcotte, who, along with his legendary horse Secretariat, won the prestigious American Triple Crown in 1973. Follow along as we witness Turcotte’s rise to fame, the fall in 1978 that left him a paraplegic and his emotional journey back to the people and places that marked his life. This is a road movie that delves deep into the thrilling and dangerous world of horseracing, featuring never-before-seen footage of Secretariat and appearances by Triple Crown winners Steve Cauthen and Jean Cruguet.
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.
This feature documentary is an inspired, genre-twisting film directed by Oscar®-nominee Sarah Polley. Polley's playful investigation into the elusive truth buried within the contradictions of a family of storytellers paints a touching and intriguing portrait of a complex network of relatives, friends, and strangers.
In this feature documentary-musical by Chelsea McMullan, indie singer Rae Spoon takes us on a playful, meditative and at times melancholic journey. Set against majestic images of the infinite expanses of the Canadian Prairies, the film features Spoon crooning about their queer and musical coming of age. Interviews, performances and music sequences reveal Spoon’s inspiring process of building a life of their own, as a trans person and as a musician.
Official selection at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival.
Critic-turned-filmmaker Katherine Monk trains her lens on DJ Rhiannon Rozier in this short film about breaking the glass ceiling in a music industry dominated by men. The Vancouver-raised, university-educated Rozier was so intent on making a career in the Electronic Dance Music (EDM) scene that she did something she never thought she’d do: she posed for Playboy.
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.
Ages 12 to 16
Diversity - Identity
Family Studies/Home Economics - Adolescent Development
Health/Personal Development - Healthy Relationships
Alphée’s father’s letters provide a framework for the story; discuss the message of each entry. What can we learn about ourselves by watching Alphée’s journey? Notice that Alphée mentions Neverland right before her time in the classroom (63:45–68:30). How can school be seen as Neverland? What does Alphée have “that our world is missing” (71:15)? How do fellow students benefit because she is in the classroom with them?