Martine Chartrand’s animated short dives into the heart of Black culture with an exhilarating trip though history. Watch as a young boy traces his roots through the stories his grandmother shares with him about the events that shaped their cultural heritage.
This documentary reveals some of the hidden history of Blacks in Canada. In the 1930s in rural Ontario, a farmer buried the tombstones of a Black cemetery to make way for a potato patch. In the 1980s, descendants of the original settlers, Black and White, came together to restore the cemetery, but there were hidden truths no one wanted to discuss. Deep racial wounds were opened. Scenes of the cemetery excavation, interviews with residents and re-enactments—including one of a baseball game where a broken headstone is used for home plate—add to the film's emotional intensity.
The NFB’s 10th Academy-Award winning film.
This Oscar®-winning animated short from Chris Landreth is based on the life of Ryan Larkin, a Canadian animator who produced some of the most influential animated films of his time. Ryan is living every artist's worst nightmare - succumbing to addiction, panhandling on the streets to make ends meet. Through computer-generated characters, Landreth interviews his friend to shed light on his downward spiral. Some strong language. Viewer discretion is advised.
The NFB’s 70th Oscar®-nominated film.
This stop-motion animated film takes viewers on an exhilarating existential journey into the fully imagined, tactile world of Madame Tutli-Putli. As she travels alone on the night train, weighed down with all her earthly possessions and the ghosts of her past, she faces both the kindness and menace of strangers. Finding herself caught up in a desperate metaphysical adventure, adrift between real and imagined worlds, Madame Tutli-Putli confronts her demons.
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In their predominantly white high school in Halifax, a group of black students face daily reminders of racism, ranging from abuse (racist graffiti on washroom walls), to exclusion (the omission of black history from textbooks). They work to establish a Cultural Awareness Youth Group, a vehicle for building pride and self-esteem through educational and cultural programs. With help from mentors, they discover the richness of their heritage and learn some of the ways they can begin to effect change.
This 1996 documentary takes a nostalgic ride through history to present the experiences of Black sleeping-car porters who worked on Canada's railways from the early 1900s through the 1960s. There was a strong sense of pride among these men and they were well-respected by their community. Yet, harsh working conditions prevented them from being promoted to other railway jobs until finally, in 1955, porter Lee Williams took his fight to the union.
Claiming discrimination under the Canada Fair Employment Act, the Black workers won their right to work in other areas. Interviews, archival footage and the music of noted jazz musician Joe Sealy (whose father was a porter) combine to portray a fascinating history that might otherwise have been forgotten.
The NFB’s 2nd Academy-Award winning film.
In this short film, Norman McLaren employs the principles normally used to put drawings or puppets into motion to animate live actors. The story is a parable about two people who come to blows over the possession of a flower.
For more background info on this film, visit the NFB.ca blog.
The NFB's 64th Oscar®-nominated film.
In this animated short, Ruby the pig seeks affirmation in the city around her after witnessing the accidental death of a stranger… and finds it in surprising places. With deft humour and finely rendered detail, When the Day Breaks illuminates the links that connect our urban lives, while evoking the promise and fragility of a new day. Winner of over 40 prizes from around the world, the film also features singer Martha Wainwright.
The NFB’s 11th Academy-Award winning film. This short animation follows Kasper, a poet whose creative well has run dry, on a holiday to Norway to meet the famous writer Sigrid Undset. Kasper attempts to answer some pretty big questions: can we trace the chain of events that leads to our own birth? Is our existence just coincidence? Do little things matter? As Kasper's quest for inspiration unfolds, it appears that a spell of bad weather, an angry dog, slippery barn planks, a careless postman, hungry goats and other seemingly unrelated factors might play important roles in the big scheme of things after all.
This short animated film features the sandman and the creatures he sculpts out of sand. These lively creatures build a castle and celebrate the completion of their new home, only to be interrupted by an uninvited guest. Cleverly constructed with nuance, the film leaves interpretation open to the viewer. The film took home an Oscar® for Best Animated Short Film.
This animated film by Martine Chartrand (Black Soul) recounts the friendship between a young Félix Leclerc and Frank Randolph Macpherson, a Jamaican chemical engineer and university graduate who worked for a pulp and paper company. An inveterate jazz fan, Macpherson inspired Leclerc, who wrote a song about the log drives and entitled it “MacPherson” in honour of his friend. Paint-on-glass animation shot with a 35mm camera.
This film goes to Dresden, Ontario, to sample local attitudes towards racial discrimination against black people that brought this town into the news. After a round-up of the opinions of individual citizens, white and black, commentator Gordon Burwash joins two discussion panels, presenting opposite points of view. The rights and wrongs of the quarrel are left for the audience to decide.
Ages 12 to 17
Arts Education - Visual Arts
Diversity - Black Studies
Social Studies - Communities in Canada/World
Trace the defining moments of Black history as depicted in the film. Research any one of the following topics: the ancestry of the pharaohs in Egypt, the history of slavery in North America, or the migrations of Africans throughout the world.