Crisis, Lonely Boy, Chronicle of a Summer. You may not know these films, but you see their influences every day--in everything from TV news to music videos to Webcams. The cinéma vérité (or direct cinema) movement of the '50s and '60s was driven by a group of rebel filmmakers tired of stilted documentaries. They wanted to show life as it really is: raw, gritty, dramatic. Rich in excerpts from vérité classics, Cinéma Vérité: Defining the Moment is the first film to capture all the excitement of a revolution that changed movie-making forever. Director Peter Wintonick's Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media is one of the bestselling documentaries of all time; co-producer Éric Michel won the Cannes Palme d'or for 50 ans, by director Gilles Carle, and co-producer Adam Symansky won an Oscar for Flamenco at 5:15.
This Emmy-nominated feature film is an intimate and evocative journey into the hearts, minds and eyes of Georgia O’Keeffe, Emily Carr and Frida Kahlo - 3 of the 20th century’s most remarkable artists. The film uses the women’s own words, taken from their letters and diaries, to reveal 3 individual creative processes in all their subtle and fascinating variety.
This feature doc tells the story of the improbable friendship between acclaimed Quebec singer Félix Leclerc and the intriguing Frank Randolph Macpherson. A chemical engineer from Jamaica, Macpherson immigrated to Quebec in 1917 and was the inspiration for the popular song that Leclerc named after him. But this is also a story about memory: it was animator Martine Chartrand’s memory of this song that compelled her to create the striking animated short MacPherson, made by filming paintings on glass using 35mm film. A sympathetic look at an artist at work, Finding Macpherson takes audiences on a personal journey, exploring the imperceptible yet powerful connections that bind us to each other.
It’s the opportunity of a lifetime for artist Phil Richards, who’s been commissioned to create Canada’s official portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II for her Diamond Jubilee. Academy Award®-nominated filmmaker Hubert Davis follows Richards over months of painstaking preparations, as he works to capture Her Majesty’s likeness and spirit on canvas.
In this feature-length film on the art of the documentary, director Pepita Ferrari interviews 33 leading documentarians and shows clips from over 50 films. From cinéma-vérité pioneers like Albert Maysles and Michel Brault to mavericks like Errol Morris and Nick Broomfield, it explores the challenges of capturing reality on film. Directors as diverse as Pakistani feminist Sabiha Sumar and new media guru Peter Wintonick reflect on ethical issues and the contested status of the “truth.”
Featured interviews include German iconoclast Werner Herzog; Chilean filmmaker Patricio Guzmán; British director Kim Longinotto and Alanis Obomsawin, the First Lady of First Nations cinema. Visit Capturing Reality for additional interviews and background.
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.
This feature film uses Michael Crummey’s seminal piece of Newfoundland literature to examine cultural change and modern relationships. As in Crummey’s collection of poems and stories, there is a decisive theme of the artist investigating his ancestors to discover himself. Filmmaker Justin Simms offers viewers a timely reflection on compassion, storytelling and identity.
Danny Williams was the charismatic and unflinching Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador from 2003 to 2010. By the time he left office, he had become the most popular—and controversial—Canadian politician of his era.
Laced with humour and revealing back-room anecdotes, Danny is the story of how Williams turned a “have not” into a “have” province. Known as a fighter, Williams famously took on prime ministers and Big Oil to ensure that benefits from the province’s abundant natural resources flowed back to its people. His mantra “no more giveaways” was key to his unprecedented popularity, but pride in his province made Williams a hero to its people.
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.
This documentary marks the 100th anniversary of the Royal 22e Régiment, the only French-speaking Canadian battalion to fight in the First World War. Widely known by its colloquial name, “The Van Doos”, the battalion served with distinction on several fronts, including both world wars, the Korean War, and in numerous U.N. peacekeeping operations. This film offers a moving tribute to both the living veterans and the lost soldiers of the Van Doos. Their personal stories and narratives bring a little-known page of our history books to life. This vibrant elegy features a moving score by Claude Naubert performed live by the regimental formation La Musique du Royal 22e Régiment.
A feature documentary on Nigeria’s successful movie industry. The creative duo of Ben Addelman and Samir Mallal – the same team who made Discordia – profile the Lagos-based dream machine. Operating on low budgets and tight schedules, “Nollywood” specializes in a unique form of African B-movie that draws upon both traditional voodoo stories and contemporary urban themes.
This short documentary investigates a perceived threat in the rural Maritimes following a deadly coyote attack in the Cape Breton wilderness. Locals react to the attack by concluding that a new super-species is infiltrating their communities: part coyote and part wolf. But is there any truth to this suspicion, or is the response the result of fear and rumours?
Ages 12 to 17
Arts Education - Visual Arts
Media Education - Documentary Film
Social Studies - Contemporary Issues
Technology Education - Society and Technology
Introduce your students to the birth and development of cinéma vérité. How did it differ from traditional documentary filmmaking? Who was behind it and how did they contribute to the movement? What role did the NFB play? How has cinéma vérité evolved over time and space? Is it used more diversely nowadays? This is a great opportunity to explore one important piece of our cultural heritage in the classroom.