« On est beaux, toute la gang. On est spécials », affirme Jean, « le plus beau puis le handyman » de L’Artisan, atelier où sont embauchés une quinzaine de travailleurs ayant une déficience intellectuelle. Véritable hommage à la différence, Les artisans de l’atelier propose une incursion dans le quotidien de cet établissement aux ouvriers aussi vaillants que colorés.
“We’re beautiful, the whole gang. We’re special,” says Jean of the 15-odd employees at The Artisan—a workshop employing people with intellectual disabilities. Jean is the self-described “handyman and best-looking” member of the group. A moving celebration of difference, The Artisans captures daily life at an organization where the workers are as courageous as they are colourful.
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.
A 105-year-old Acadian agrees to be filmed one Sunday as she goes about her daily routine and ruminates on life. Filmed by her great-grandson, Aldéa Pellerin-Cormier comments wisely on politics, sex and religion. From getting ready in the morning to drinking her nightcap before bed, every moment is punctuated with a witticism or existential thought. Respectful of the old woman's privacy, Daniel Léger's first documentary looks at wisdom, serenity and enjoyment of life. In French with English subtitles.
This documentary was made as part of the Tremplin program, with the collaboration of Radio-Canada.
This short documentary introduces us to Martin Langlois, an autistic 22 year-old who is transferred to Maison Emmanuel when his devoted parents can no longer care for him. Maison Emmanuel is an alternative therapeutic community in Quebec’s Laurentian mountains that offers residents the ability to develop their life skills and particular gifts and abilities. Run by Inge Sell and her team, it is now home to 20 children and young adults, and forms part of a worldwide network of similar communities.
This feature documentary offers a comparison of the care of two boys with Down syndrome. Danny lives at home with his brothers and sisters and attends a special neighborhood school for children with disabilities. Nicky lives in a large institution for persons with intellectual disabilities. This film clarifies common misconceptions about intellectual disabilities, and presents an intimate portrait of the families, staff, and communities that come together to assist Danny and Nicky in learning, playing, and living a fulfilling life.
In this installment of the Eye Witness series, we look at classrooms on rails, circa 1949. We visit Ontario forests north of Lake Superior, where children come from miles away to attend school in a school car. They receive a month's worth of homework at a time, to keep them busy until the next time the classroom comes around. In Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, we see a unique workshop that trains the physically-challenged as furniture makers and seamstresses, allowing them to earn a living and build self-reliance.
A story from Victoria, British Columbia, of one young man who, despite a crippling malady, is determined to experience as many of life's offerings as possible. Brian Wilson is spastic, confined to a wheelchair, but he works at a job, looks after himself, and moves about from place to place on his own. Every day has its challenges and victories, and sometimes defeats. With this example of personal courage, the film provides insight into the private and daily struggle of the disabled.
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 short documentary is a fascinating portrait of the Vancouver Mental Patients' Association (MPA), a unique, democratically-organized advocacy and support group for people who have sought care in the mental health system. While client-centred care and advocacy in mental health are relatively more common now, they were unfamiliar concepts in the 1970s, and this film sheds light on the birth of this nascent movement. The MPA provides support and a space for discussion, which helps those dealing with mental health problems to re-integrate into their communities after sojourns in hospitals or other institutions. Members' comments afford some insight into what has been called the "mental health industry."