This short documentary portrays the complex effects of incarceration on individuals. Prisons, the film shows, lock men within themselves, depriving their minds of normal life experiences, confiscating their humanity.
This feature documentary tells the story of Diane Charron, a young woman who began a life sentence behind bars in 1981 when she was entangled in a friend's act of revenge and ended up stabbing a stranger to death. She had just turned 19. The film follows the story of Diane's life, from her own testimony and that of corrections officers, prison caseworkers and psychiatrists. Many show remarkable sympathy and affection for a troubled woman whose early life was marked by abuse. Sentenced to life is a strong film that raises difficult questions about prisoners with mental health problems.
This documentary takes us inside the walls of Grand Valley Institution—one of five federal prisons for women in Canada. Here, most residents live in small shared houses, in an environment that is supposed to be female-friendly. The film features three unforgettable women over age 50 doing time in a system that can seem designed to frustrate and baffle. Vietnamese Kim struggles with translation and awaits a parole board hearing that seems to never come, while Pearl relies on her faith in God to stay positive throughout the hard reality of prison life. Finally, T.A.'s larger-than-life outlook serves her well, whether she's fighting for greater access and rights for prisoners or composing and performing her own country-tinged musical compositions. While the film doesn't idealize these flawed characters, it also advances the notion that those who have committed crimes deserve to be treated with dignity.
Part of the Canada Carries On series, this short documentary reports on the conditions in a Canadian penitentiary, focusing on the treatments developed to reduce the amount of recidivism. Prisoners spend the majority of their days in cells, but they also work—in quarry gangs, on farms, and as tailors and shoe-repairmen. Monthly visitors are allowed, but movements within the prison are tightly controlled. This film is a revealing portrait of the criminal justice system and its philosophies on recidivism in the middle of the 20th century.
This documentary looks at various Indigenous spirituality programs that run in western Canadian federal penitentiaries, as well as in some provincial institutions. These programs are led by elders, with assistance from liaison officers. They include workshops, ceremonies, and other traditional methods that help put the incarcerated back in touch with themselves, their culture, and their spirituality. A unique glimpse of the lives of Indigenous inmates.
Filmed in cinéma vérité style, this feature-length doc follows a group of incarcerated men with troubled pasts as they undergo treatment based on Indigenous philosophy at the Waseskun Healing Center. Director Steve Patry spent a full year with these men, gaining their trust and confidence. The result is a remarkable and gripping film about learning to overcome suffering and finding balance.
This short documentary is a portrait of Stephen Reid, a man sentenced for 18 years for bank robbery. A notorious member of the "Stopwatch Gang," Reid who once lived out the crazy, frantic life of the outlaw bandit. Now confined to a prison cell, he has a lot of time to reflect on the journey that brought him to this moment, something that has made him acutely conscious of the here and now.
This gripping documentary takes a powerful look at the lives of people with substance use disorder in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. Filmmaker Veronica Alice Mannix follows Constable Al Arsenault and six other police officers on their daily beat, documenting their unique relationships with people who speak candidly about their painful past experiences, their drug addiction, and life on the street.
10–7 for Life is a funny, raw and occasionally violent chronicle of the last two weeks of Carol Banks's career as a cop in Parkdale, Toronto. Exploring the contrasts and absurdities of patrolling the streets, the film looks at everything from the now-almost-routine gang shootings to a colleague's shocking murder, while also capturing what Banks describes as "babysitting" – officers trying to help people who can't look after themselves. Filmed by Carol's sister, Cindy Banks, this film offers a rare inside look at a police force struggling to cope with an increasingly violent city, and an intimate portrait of one burnt-out cop who has to get out for her own peace of mind.
This short film is a portrait of Nora Fenton, a 15-year-old girl who is sent to a home for problem teens because of her persistent defiance of parental authority and self-injurious behavior. Typifying the problems of emotional adjustment experienced by many adolescents, this story of conflict and rebellion shows how understanding, affection and firm parental guidance are the factors most needed in helping teens weather their most turbulent years.
This documentary is an inquiry into what came to be known as Saskatoon's infamous "freezing deaths," and the schism between a fearful, mistrustful Indigenous community and a police force harbouring a harrowing secret.One frigid night in January 2000 Darrell Night, an Indigenous man was dumped by two police officers in -20° C temperatures in a barren field on the city outskirts. He survives the ordeal but is stunned to hear that the frozen body of another Indigenous man was discovered in the same area. Days later, another victim, also Native, is found. When Night comes forward with his story, he sets into motion a chain of events: a major RCMP investigation into several suspicious deaths, the conviction of the two constables who abandoned him and the reopening of an old case, leading to a judicial inquiry.