This short documentary gives us insight into the singing prowess of renowned tenor Ben Heppner, one of Canada’s pre-eminent musical ambassadors. Revealing his intimate connection to the power of performance, the film plays with scale and layers of sound, revisiting the architectural and sonic spaces that Heppner’s voice has inhabited throughout his remarkable career—from country churches to the major opera houses of the world.
Produced by the National Film Board of Canada in co-operation with the National Arts Centre and the Governor General's Performing Arts Awards Foundation on the occasion of the 2016 Governor General's Performing Arts Awards.
Folk music icon Buffy Sainte-Marie became internationally renowned with her protest song "Universal Soldier." In this short documentary, she candidly discusses her hopes, creative vision and songwriting skills, as well as her role as an Aboriginal activist. Still a vibrant artist fifty years into her career, she keeps her eyes set on the future.
The son of a humble Italian immigrant, E. Noël Spinelli has dedicated most of his life to making music accessible to his blue-collar community of Lachine, Quebec. This short film offers a poignant emotional journey into his deep love of opera and Puccini, quietly revealing what music has given to Mr. Spinelli, and why he is so passionately committed to sharing its magical gifts.
This 1959 feature documentary is a foray into Canada’s art milieu. What is it like to be a Canadian artist? Answering this central question are Teresa Stratas, winner of Metropolitan Opera auditions; acclaimed lyric tenor Léopold Simoneau and his talented wife, soprano Pierrette Alarie; the National Ballet Company of Canada’s artistic director, Celia Franca and leading male dancer, David Adams; as well as jazz pianist Oscar Peterson, whom we visit at 3 o'clock in the morning at Boston's Storyville Club. The film also includes interviews with radio and television actor John Drainie, Christopher Plummer and Jean Gascon, director of Montreal's Théâtre du Nouveau Monde.
In this concise portrait, director and art director Brigitte Haentjens talks about what inspires her work in theatrical creation. Her artistic choices are a response to a deep, dark need to rummage through a text until light bursts forth. Known for being outspoken and for her unconventional artistic approaches, Haentjens has left an indelible mark.
This short documentary follows Manitoba's annual Musical Festival, profiling several of the young people whose talents made the festival a leading event in the Canada of the mid-20th century. Featuring boys' and girls' choirs, violin and piano solos, an excerpt from Gilbert and Sullivan's The Pirates of Penzance, and songs by a soprano and a contralto, the film is an idyllic and melodic portrait the prairies of over half a century ago.
All his life, Michel Pagliaro (Pag) has been on a quest for the perfect 3:15 minute song. Following in the tradition of rockers like Eddy Cochran, Bo Diddley and Chuck Berry, Pagliaro's songs belie their initial simplicity. Director Eric Tessier captures Pag in all his ragged glory, from the wicked glint in his eye to his razor sharp suit.
In this short documentary about The Tragically Hip, director David Battistella uses a split-screen and acid-etched colours to distil the iconic Canadian band’s essence. After decades together, through hotels, highways, gigs and recording sessions, The Hip’s members have forged a powerful brotherhood. "These guys are my life partners, musically" says bass guitarist Gord Sinclair. The Hip's brand of straight-ahead rock and roll has catapulted the band to international stardom, and ensured them a place in Canadian musical history, but at heart, they remain a bunch of guys from Kingston, Ontario, making music together just for fun.
This film was produced for the 2008 Governor General's Performing Arts Award.
Walter Homburger helped bring Glenn Gould and a succession of other great musicians to the attention of the world. Using shadow puppets and silhouettes, this short documentary captures the irrepressible spirit of a great impresario, manager and orchestra administrator who has devoted his life to furthering classical music in Canada.
This short film pays tribute to beloved Canadian country rock band Blue Rodeo. They've been traveling the highways and back roads of Canada for almost 30 years, bringing their music to audiences far and wide, and building a passionate and dedicated fan base. The expressions on the faces in the crowd say it all: concert-goers are transported to moments in their lives that remain vital in their hearts. Blue Rodeo: On the Road follows this iconic band on the last leg of their 2014 tour, and revisits their early days through found footage. The film captures the essence of a band that is forever moving forward—and always finding inspiration for their songs in the landscapes and people of Canada.
This film was produced by the NFB in co-operation with the National Arts Centre and the Governor General's Performing Arts Awards Foundation on the occasion of the 2014 Governor General's Performing Arts Awards.
This short film tells the story of how actor, singer, producer, and activist Tom Jackson came to use his gift of song to contribute millions of dollars to the fight against poverty and homelessness. With a rich soundtrack of music and Tom's spoken word, the film focuses on the importance of using our talents and skills to give back to society.Produced by the NFB in co-operation with the National Arts Centre and the Governor General's Performing Arts Awards Foundation on the occasion of the 2014 Governor General's Performing Arts Awards.
In this evocative short documentary, Inuk singer-songwriter and humanitarian Susan Aglukark weaves together stories of artistry, family, and belonging as she explores the complex cultural shifts of the last 50 years of Inuit life. Turning her lens on the turbulence of colonial transition, director Nyla Innuksuk examines the forces that shaped Aglukark's voice and how that voice is now being translated for a new generation of Inuit artists.Produced by the National Film Board of Canada in co-operation with the National Arts Centre and the Governor General's Performing Arts Awards Foundation on the occasion of the 2016 Governor General's Performing Arts Awards.