The Ukrainian population of Winnipeg celebrates Christmas not only on the twenty-fifth of December, but also on January seventh, with religious ceremonies, banquets, songs and concerts.
Filmed in the Indian Himalayas and in Canada, A Song for Tibet tells the dramatic story of the efforts by Tibetans in exile, including the Dalai Lama, to save their homeland and preserve their heritage against overwhelming odds. Since the invasion of their territory by China in the late 1950s, Tibetans have been struggling for cultural and political survival.
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.
In this documentary, the age-old tradition of arranged marriages takes a modern twist when 3 second-generation South Asian young people decide to marry. Engaging and refreshingly candid in their opinions, they make it clear that arranged marriages aren't what they used to be.
This short documentary explores the realities of Canadian Jews dwelling in smaller urban centers. Filmed in the northern Ontario towns of Sudbury, Sault Ste. Marie and North Bay, The People of the Book provides insight into the ancient pattern of ceremony and belief practiced in the synagogue and shows the efforts of Jewish communities to perpetuate their culture and traditions.
Cut off from his loved ones due to the pandemic lockdown, a quadriplegic rabbi in a long-term-care facility is filmed remotely by his daughter. Offering powerful meditations on love and hope, Perfecting the Art of Longing shows us what it means to be alive in a state of profound isolation.
This short documentary offers a glimpse into the Ukrainian communities of the Canadian prairies during the 1940s, specifically their rituals surrounding Christmas. Still following the Julian calendar, they celebrate Christmas on the seventh of January. On Christmas Eve, they eat traditional foods as soon as the first star appears in the sky. They sing carols and dance in costume. And the next day, they gather in Greek Orthodox churches to worship in a solemn service.
This documentary is the story of two Mennonite brothers from Manitoba who were forced to make a decision in 1939, as Canada joined World War II. In the face of 400 years of pacifist tradition, should they now go to war? Ted became a conscientious objector while his brother went into military service. Fifty years later, the town of Winkler dedicates its first war memorial and John begins to share his war experiences with Ted.
This documentary tells the story of a Chinese cemetery in BC that became a National Heritage site. For Chinese pioneers who died in Canada, Victoria's Chinese Cemetery at Harling Point was a temporary resting place until their bones could be returned home. (Traditional Chinese belief says that the soul of a person who dies in a foreign place wanders lost until their bones are returned home.) This film traces the rich history of the Vancouver Island cemetery from controversy and neglect to its revival as a historic site. Told by those closest to it, the story of Harling Point is a metaphor for Canada, a country still working on making a home for all who live within its borders.
This extraordinary film introduces us to the Reutov family, part of an isolated northern Alberta community called the Old Believers. Adhering to the original Orthodox Christian dogma and rituals introduced to ancient Rus (present-day Ukraine, Byelorussia and Russia) by the Greeks of Byzantium, the Old Believers see themselves as the last Christians left on the face of the Earth. Here in North America, for the first time in their history, they are threatened not by persecution, but by economic bounty and the western notion of personal freedom. Shot over the four seasons, the film is both a beautiful rendering of timeless rituals and a fascinating exploration of the Old Believers' turbulent history.
This documentary reveals some of the hidden history of Blacks in Canada. In the 1930s in rural Ontario, a farmer buried the tombstones of a Black cemetery to make way for a potato patch. In the 1980s, descendants of the original settlers, Black and White, came together to restore the cemetery, but there were hidden truths no one wanted to discuss. Deep racial wounds were opened. Scenes of the cemetery excavation, interviews with residents and re-enactments—including one of a baseball game where a broken headstone is used for home plate—add to the film's emotional intensity.
In a quest to rediscover the spiritual values of his own people, an African filmmaker from the Gourmantche tribe of Burkina Faso visits the Atikamekw of Northern Quebec. The resulting documentary is a dialogue between those who divine the future in the sand with those who use snow-encased sweat lodges to reconnect with the spiritual world.