This feature documentary follows Canadian actress Babz Chula to Kerala, India, where she is to undergo treatment by a renowned Ayurvedic healer in an effort to manage her 6-year battle with cancer. The bare-bones Indian clinic at first disappoints, but Babz is uplifted as her condition seemingly shows marked signs of improvement following treatment and introspection. Returning home, however, it is revealed that her cancer has actually advanced. Amazingly, the irrepressible actress invites filmmaker Anne Wheeler to continue bearing witness to her journey into the unknown.
This feature documentary by renowned director and cinematographer Vic Sarin is a personal yet global investigation into the history and current state of colourism: the discrimination within one ethnicity based on differences in skin tone. Sarin travels the globe to discuss this complex cross-cultural social issue with individuals whose lives it affects, including a Filipina entrepreneur whose business has flourished within the billion-dollar skin-whitening industry. Hue leads viewers on a thoughtful and surprising journey to the heart of a painful and pervasive social issue that not only polices appearance, but also class, gender, and geography.
In this feature documentary, director Hélène Choquette sheds light on the phenomenon of early-onset puberty in girls. Today, it isn't unusual to see the earliest signs of puberty in girls younger than the age of 9, though this was not the case a few decades ago. A number of causes are suspected: could obesity and exposure to environmental contaminants, for instance, be to blame? The physical, psychological and psychosocial repercussions on young girls results in a disconnect between their physical and emotional maturity. Far from being a marginal issue, early-onset puberty is fast becoming a worldwide public health concern. Little Big Girls alerts us to the need to adapt, as a society, so as to minimize the impact of this phenomenon on our children.
This feature documentary tells the stories of 5 asylum seekers who flee their native countries to escape homophobic violence. They face hurdles integrating into Canada, fear deportation and anxiously await a decision that will change their lives forever.
This feature documentary exposes the little-known tragedy of girl soldiers in Uganda. How can they learn to live normal lives again after being abducted and trained to become killing machines? Clinging to their dreams, Grace, Milly and Lucy are trying to restore meaning to their lives and break the silence surrounding the fate of a sacrificed generation.
Over 200,000 people in Canada are deaf. For deaf francophones, Quebec Sign Language is essential to both their identity and their connection to the deaf community. In the past decades, parents and doctors have pushed for hearing aids, cochlear implants and a mainstream education for deaf kids. Yet this thrust into the hearing world has come at a price for some deaf students, who may have trouble following classroom activities and end up being marginalized.
The Dance of Words features young artists who have embraced their deaf identity in adulthood after spending a difficult childhood in the grey zone between hearing culture and deaf culture. These emerging artists show how they are using the arts to build a deaf culture that makes them proud. They shine a spotlight on their community while promoting and advancing deaf culture with a keen sensitivity.
This feature documentary profiles four residents of the Brockville Mental Health Centre, a forensic psychiatric hospital for people who have committed violent crimes. Four patients—two men and two women—struggle to gain control over their lives so they can return to a society that often fears and demonizes them. Shrouded in stigma, institutions like this one are places into which patients disappear from public view for years.
Four-time Emmy winner John Kastner was granted unprecedented access to the Brockville facility for 18 months, allowing 46 patients and 75 staff to share their experiences with stunning frankness.
For more background information on this film, please visit the NFB.ca blog.
This feature-length documentary from Inuvialuit filmmaker Dennis Allen is an emotional and revealing exploration of addiction among Indigenous people in Canada.After years of struggle and shame, 5 Indigenous Canadians bravely come forward with their stories of substance abuse, presenting the sensitive topic of alcoholism in an honest and forthright manner. Alex, Paula, Desirae, Stephen, and Dennis himself maintain a deep and devoted commitment to their traditional culture to achieve long-term sobriety. Through their voices, this insightful doc offers an inspirational beacon of hope for others.
In this feature documentary, Richard Desjardins and Robert Monderie continue in the same provocative vein as their earlier Forest Alert, this time turning their lens on Canada's mining industry. Using striking images, rare archival footage and interviews, The Hole Story analyzes company profits and the impact of mining on the environment and workers’ health.
Directed by John Kastner, this feature documentary about violence, mental illness, and the rights of victims tells the story of a troubled young man who stabbed a complete stranger 6 times in a crowded shopping mall while gripped by psychosis. Twelve years later, his victim, who miraculously survived, is terrified to learn that he’s out, living in the community under supervision. He’s applying for an absolute discharge, and if he succeeds, he’ll no longer be required to take the anti-psychotic drugs that control his mental illness. With unprecedented access to the patient, the victim, and the mental institution, the film looks at both sides of the debate and puts a human face on the complex ethical issues raised.
This feature documentary explores the world of adolescence in rural teenagers' interactions with various authority figures. Outside the classroom, though, the teens enjoy more control of their world; in this playground, they can test the limits of their temporary freedom. A work of patient observation relying mostly on uninterrupted long takes,Guidelines emphasizes the contrast between adult and adolescent, between the regulated classroom and the great outdoors, gradually revealing the interior drama of adolescence with its shifts from fragility to reckless abandon.
This two-part series explores ancient teachings on death and dying. It was filmed over a four-month period on location in the Himalayas where the original text still yields an essential influence over people's views of life and death. A Way of Life contains footage of the rites and liturgies surrounding and following the death of a Ladakhi elder. The Dalai Lama explains his own feelings about death, while other scenes within a palliative care hospice in San Francisco depicts the use of the texts to counsel dying AIDS patients. This film, by revealing ancient teachings on how to think about death and dying, can be a valuable source of counsel and comfort.
Ages 16 to 18
Family Studies/Home Economics - Aging/Death and Dying
Health/Personal Development - Disease Prevention
Media Education - Documentary Film
How does the opportunity to share her story help Babz deal with her difficult condition? Anne Wheeler has to balance her demands as a filmmaker and as a friend (38:10). How does this affect the documentary? What does it mean that “the actor has left the stage” (50:00)? Ask students to study the lyrics of “Closer to the Light” by Bruce Cockburn. Why is this an appropriate choice to end the movie?