A vignette on the travelling calliope (also known as steam organ), a musical instrument that produces sound by sending steam through large locomotive whistles.
Easily one of the most often-requested films in the NFB collection, this lighthearted animated short is based on the song “The Log Driver’s Waltz” by Wade Hemsworth. Kate and Anna McGarrigle sing along to the tale of a young girl who loves to dance and chooses to marry a log driver over his more well-to-do competitors.
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This short documentary profiles an imaginative inventor and craftsman who makes whimsical stringed instruments out of unlikely items. In his hands, shovels, rakes, baseball bats, and stop signs become beautiful and functional guitars, violins, banjos, and fiddles.After a near-death experience, retired machinist Lorne Collie embarked on his creative journey, and this heartening film offers a folksy, one-of-a-kind portrait of Collie's spirit and talent. Through weathered doc footage and hand-crafted animation, the film shows that Collie is having more fun than he’s had in a long time and feeling more than alive.
This documentary celebrates the vibrant culture and tenacious struggle of the Canadian Gypsy and introduces a new generation of Roma who claim their roots with pride. They call themselves by their rightful name, the Roma. Almost 80,000 call Canada home. Meet Julia Lovell, a passionate defender of Roma human rights, whose father is slowly gaining the confidence to reveal his heritage; and Karen Gray Boothroyd, a flamenco dancer just beginning to reclaim her Gypsy roots.
The NFB's 33rd Oscar®-nominated film.
This short film studies the works of one of Canada's greatest contemporary etchers - Newfoundland-born David Blackwood. The artist himself guides viewers through a step-by-step explanation of the etching process. Scenes of his hometown, examples of his own work and vivid tales of an old mariner recall the tragic seal hunts and a way of life that has now vanished.
Filmed at the Wing Fong Farm in Ontario, this documentary follows the tilling, planting and harvesting of Asian vegetables destined for Chinese markets and restaurants. On 80 acres of land, Lau King-Fai, her son and a half-dozen migrant Mexican workers care for the plants. For Yeung Kwan, her son, the farm represents personal and financial independence. For his mother, it is an oasis of peace. For the Mexican workers, it provides jobs that help support their children back home.
This epic drama looks at the opening of the Canadian West and the drought that led to the Depression in the Thirties. It is the saga of a family who left Eastern Canada to stake their future in the Prairies. Principle roles are played by Frances Hyland and James Douglas.
For more background information about this film, please visit the NFB.ca blog.
This short documentary traces the history of the fiddle’s arrival in Canada 300 years ago via Scottish traders from Orkney Island. The Cree population of what is now Northern Québec adopted the instrument, and many contemporary Cree residents are master fiddlers. In this film, two Cree fiddlers travel to the Orkney Islands, the birthplace of the music they learned from their fathers and grandfathers. The film captures the warmth and good will of this reunion.
The International Ox Pull, highlight of the Bridgewater, Nova Scotia, annual fair, is a holdover from the pioneer past when oxen cleared the land and tilled the soil. These beasts of burden have lost none of their pulling power, as demonstrated when they drag tons of weight loaded on sleds (the winner pulls up to 6 tons!). Competing teams come from various parts of the Maritimes and the Northeastern United States.
Ages 13 to 11
Arts Education - Music
Geography - Human Geography
History - World History
History and Citizenship Education - Imperialism and Colonization (1800s-1900s)
Students can research uses of steam engine, history and how it changed civilization, written or visual report - uses of steam engine and/or inventions from industrialization. Students can research other "alternative" musical genres and report (to class or individual) history, cultural influence. Students can research history of steam engine in Canada and uses.