This short fictional film evokes rural life in Cape Breton’s Margaree Valley, with its rich colours, bright sunshine, and crystal-clear streams. The film tells the story of a young boy and his grandfather, a carpenter with a hearing impairment. The young boy frolics joyfully in the rural landscape, but eventually he’ll need to learn a lesson from his grandfather about safety, responsibility, and maturity. The film features original music by Maurice Blackburn, one of Canada’s foremost composers.
The followers of religious leader Jacob Hutter live in farm communities, devoutly holding to the rules their founder laid down four centuries ago. Through the kindness of a Hutterite colony in Alberta, this film, in black and white, was made inside the community and shows all aspects of the Hutterites' daily life.
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.
In this feature documentary, filmmaker Paul Cowan offers an innovative, moving account of the Westray coal mine disaster that killed 26 men in Nova Scotia on May 9, 1992. The film focuses on the lives of three widows and three miners lucky enough not to be underground that day when the methane and coal dust ignited. But their lives were torn apart by the events.
Meet some of the working men, who felt they had no option but to stay on at Westray. And wives, who heard the rumours, saw their men sometimes bloodied from accidents and stood by them, hoping it would all turn out all right. This is a film about working people everywhere whose lives are often entrusted to companies that violate the most fundamental rules of safety and decency in the name of profit.
This documentary looks at the hazards of uranium mining in Canada. Toxic and radioactive waste pose environmental threats while the traditional economic and spiritual lives of the Indigenous people who occupy this land have been violated. Given our limited knowledge of the associated risks, this film questions the validity of continuing the mining operations.
What happens to two dying coal towns in British Columbia when an American corporation provides a contract for millions of tons of coking coal? The film follows the consequences for the towns of Natal and Michel, suggesting that industrial growth has its price, especially with regard to the environment.
This short animation film tells the story of a family road trip across the Canadian prairies set in the 1970s. In an era before in-car movies and video games, 4 sisters squeeze into the back of the family car for a long journey. While the parents keep a steady watch on the road ahead, restlessness gradually gives way to mayhem in the car’s close quarters. Just before the ride becomes unbearable, the sisters are inspired to combine their creative energy and the big drive becomes an even bigger adventure.
This documentary takes an in-depth look at the witch hunts that swept Europe just a few hundred years ago. False accusations and trials led to massive torture and burnings at the stake and ultimately to the destruction of an organic way of life. The film questions whether the widespread violence against women and the neglect of our environment today can be traced back to those times. Part two of a series of three films on women and spirituality, which includes Goddess Remembered and Full Circle.
This short film is about the small town of Faro located in the Yukon wilderness. In the 1970s, Faro was poised for success as a mining town but when metal prices plummeted and the mine shut down, the place was destined to become a ghost town. But Murray Hampton, a mining engineer who became the mayor, was determined to bring things back to life.
This short documentary profiles a community engaged in developing sustainable living methods, including food production and small-scale solar and wind technology, on a farm in Massachusetts in the 1970s. Well before sustainability was a mainstream concern, these prescient innovators attempted to create a vision of a greener, kinder world. "Think small," say the New Alchemists. "Look what thinking big has done."
This animated short borrows A Christmas Carol’s storyline to sketch a satirical exposé on energy waste and conservation. In this version, Ebenezer "Stooge", a power company CEO, has a bold motto: to waste is to grow. After his midnight meeting with the spirits of Energy Past, Present and Future, however, that motto is up for thorough review.
This short animation uses appliqué and embroidered tapestries to recall a young girl's happy summers spent sailing with her family off the coast of British Columbia. Each tapestry, meticulously stitched by hand with brightly coloured yarns, evokes the memory of leisurely days at sea, drifting among the islands.
Ages 10 to 13
Geography - Human Geography
Geography - Natural Resources
Geography - Territory: Regional
Social Studies - Communities in Canada/World
Warnings: It is suggested that Grandfather spanks Duncan after he makes a poor decision.
While watching the film, take notes on the physical geography of this part of Cape Breton. Identify human impacts on the physical geography in this area by commenting on land settlement and possible industries of the area. Describe the relationship between Duncan and his grandfather. How is Duncan learning traditional skills from his grandfather? Contrast this mass production of items like chairs that would traditionally have been made in a millhouse.