In this short documentary about autism, director Anna Barczewska examines the complex challenge of raising autistic children. Through the voice of Jan's devoted mother and the comments of specialists, the film offers an introduction to this neurological disorder that reduces one’s ability to communicate with the outside world.
WARNING: This film discusses the topic of OCD. Viewer discretion is advised.
This feature documentary explores the daily lives of individuals living with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), a misunderstood anxiety disorder characterized by intrusive thoughts, nagging fears and ritualistic behaviour. From the outside, its sufferers have no physical disabilities and have every appearance of being as functional as the next person. But inside, a daily war is waged for survival.
This feature documentary offers a comparison of the care of two boys with Down syndrome. Danny lives at home with his brothers and sisters and attends a special neighborhood school for children with disabilities. Nicky lives in a large institution for persons with intellectual disabilities. This film clarifies common misconceptions about intellectual disabilities, and presents an intimate portrait of the families, staff, and communities that come together to assist Danny and Nicky in learning, playing, and living a fulfilling life.
This feature documentary tackles a taboo subject: the tragic effects of life-sustaining medical treatment on infants. Through the courageous testimony of a handful of doctors and therapists as well as the shocking stories told by devoted parents of disabled children, this film denounces the lack of support offered to science's little "miracles." Once saved, the children are more or less left to their fate by a medical system that does not give them the therapy needed to improve their quality of life and develop to their fullest potential.
This short film follows a group of teenage boys eager to emulate the muscle-filled bodies of their media heroes. Revealing the lengths these boys are willing to go to achieve their goal, this film explores the use of supplements and the temptations of steroids. The boys relate their experiences, desires and motivations to the audience, who are left to draw their own conclusions.
The film is designed to provoke discussion among teenagers about body image and where lines should be drawn between healthy and dangerous behaviour.
This Oscar®-winning documentary presents Nadia, a 9-year-old girl with spina bifida. Her dream is to attend a regular school, even though she knows other kids will tease her. Wise for her young age, Nadia simply decides that she'll "find a way to deal with it." Despite having to overcome many obstacles, Nadia's got spunk and makes it clear she's not looking for sympathy. This film is part of the Children of Canada series.
In this short documentary, a succession of black and white photographs provides a gritty look at juvenile prostitution and at the young people, male and female, struggling to get off the streets. Highlighting the links between being sexually abused as a child, loss of self-esteem, and turning to the streets, the film quickly dispels the images of glamor and big money usually associated with prostitution, and shows the positive efforts of child-care workers to help juvenile prostitutes find a way out.
Meet Tony Rossi, a 10-year-old boy who can only distinguish light from shadow. Despite this difficulty, he leads a very active life. The short documentary shows the ingenious ways in which Tony manages his life. This film is part of the Children of Canada series.
This short documentary is a fascinating portrait of the Vancouver Mental Patients' Association (MPA), a unique, democratically-organized advocacy and support group for people who have sought care in the mental health system. While client-centred care and advocacy in mental health are relatively more common now, they were unfamiliar concepts in the 1970s, and this film sheds light on the birth of this nascent movement. The MPA provides support and a space for discussion, which helps those dealing with mental health problems to re-integrate into their communities after sojourns in hospitals or other institutions. Members' comments afford some insight into what has been called the "mental health industry."
This feature documentary is a portrait of Luke Melchior (1973-2021) who, at 26, had already lived longer than most people with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, a progressive wasting of the muscles. Knowing his life would be relatively short had made Luke feel an urgency about making a lasting contribution. Living independently, with the help of 3 homecare workers, he ran a web-based business selling outdoor gear, and chaired the board of the Disability Resource Centre in Victoria, BC, where he was a passionate advocate for the rights of the disabled.
Bearing Witness consists of 3 films, each approximately one hour long, on people with life-threatening illnesses. The series also profiles Jocelyn Morton, who died of liver cancer at 44, and Robert Coley-Donohue, who died of ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease) at age 74.
In this personal documentary, award-winning photographer and filmmaker Nance Ackerman invites us into the lives of a determined family for a profound experience of child poverty in one of the richest countries in the world. 20 years after the House of Commons promised to eliminate poverty among Canadian children, 8-year-old Isaiah is trying hard to grow up healthy, smart and well adjusted despite the odds stacked against him. Isaiah knows he's been categorized as "less fortunate," and his short life has seen more than his share of social workers, food banks and police interventions. His parents struggle to overcome a legacy of stereotypes, abuse and dysfunction. More than anything, they want Isaiah and his siblings to have access to opportunities they never had. Ackerman spent 2 years with Isaiah and his family. As her portrait of the family unfolds with the help of Isaiah's creative input, curiosity and zest for life, so do Ackerman's own feelings about the responsibilities of Canadians to raise all children as our best investment in the nation's future.
This documentary follows Rick Zakowich as he faces his lifelong struggles with his weight and body image. Child therapist by day and blues singer by night, Rick's charisma and talent are undeniable, yet he remains fixed within the definition of a narrow label. The film takes on appearance-based oppression and fat-shaming by examining the ways in which society treats people whose bodies don’t necessarily match a narrow, unrealistic ideal of attractiveness. Instead of losing weight, Rick gains valuable insight, transformative new friendships, and a profound sense of self-confidence.
Ages 14 to 17
Ethics and Religious Culture - Ethical Values
Family Studies/Home Economics - Family Diversity and Challenges
Health/Personal Development - Human Growth and Development
Media Education - Film and Video Production
students research support of disabled children while journaling personal
responses. Using Four Corners, Thinking Hats or Value Lines, have students
explore society’s responsibility for disabled children. Ask groups to
prioritize and develop ways to solve society’s challenges regarding disabled
children, sharing in multimedia or dramatic presentations (mock trials,
interviews, case studies, debates, skits). Media students can explore the ways
the film emphasizes the parents’ point of view.