This short documentary is a portrait of two remarkable old-timers of Vancouver Island's west coast. Both are in their 80s; both have an enviable zest for life. Chief David Frank teaches the ancient Indigenous songs and dances of his people to some 60 grandchildren. Bert Clayton still backpacks his prospector's gear through high mountain bush. From different cultures, these two men share a mutual life philosophy and over 40 years of friendship.
This short documentary offers an intimate portrait of Augusta Evans, an 88-year-old Secwépmec woman who has spent her life in the hills of the Williams Lake area of British Columbia, where she lives alone in a log cabin without running water or electricity. Born the daughter of a Chief, Augusta was forced to attend residential school and lost her treaty status when she wed her non-Indigenous husband. After seeing a woman lose her life in childbirth, Augusta taught herself midwifery from a book and delivered many babies, including her own daughter, whom she birthed alone in her cabin. Having lived through many losses and now surviving on a $250 monthly pension that barely covers wood and groceries, Augusta is a cherished member of her community, where she shares her knowledge and songs, and laments that the young people are not learning their language.
Peeling back the layers of her grandmother's life, filmmaker Linda Ohama discovers a painful, buried past in this feature-length documentary. Asayo Murakami, 103 years old, recalls life in Japan, her arrival in Canada as a "picture bride," her determination to marry a man of her choice, the bombing of Hiroshima and the forced relocation of her family during WWII. Beautifully rendered dramatic sequences are merged with an exquisite collection of memories, feelings, images and voices. Culminating in an emotional reunion with a long-lost daughter, this film is a personal reflection of Japanese-Canadian history and a testament to one woman's endurance and spirit.
This documentary short is an introduction to the Bella Bella (Heiltsuk) of Campbell Island, 500 km North of Vancouver on the Pacific Coast. Since the coming of settlers, these fishing people have watched their ancient Heiltsuk culture and their independence all but disappear. Today, in an energetic attempt to become self-sufficient, they are regaining both - successfully combining economic development with cultural revival.
We hear the Heiltsuk language spoken in the film (Haíɫzaqvḷa).
This short documentary features a group of seniors called the "U of Agers" who meet twice a week at the University of Alberta to do gymnastics. The U of Agers are just "ordinary" people trying to do "extraordinary" things and confirm that if they can do gymnastics, then others in Canada have the potential to excel at whatever inspires them.
Feisty, fiercely independent and firmly rooted in place, 90 year-old Mabel Robinson broke barriers back in the 40s when she became the first woman in Hubbards, Nova Scotia, to launch her own business—a hairdressing salon where she still provides shampoo-n-sets over 70 years later. Weaving animation and archival imagery with intimate and laugh out loud moments in the salon, the film celebrates the power of friendship, doing what you love and staying active. With no desire to retire anytime soon, Mabel gives voice to a generation who are not front and center of cinema or the pop hairstyles of the day, and subtly shifts the lens on our perception of beauty and the elderly.
This short film focuses on the legend of a lost gold mine and a river in the Northwest Territories that lured men to their doom. Albert Faille, an aging prospector, set out time and again to find hidden gold. His route took him through the wild and awesome land particularly suited to the mood of this Canadian odyssey.
Filmed at the Wing Fong Farm in Ontario, this documentary follows the tilling, planting and harvesting of Asian vegetables destined for Chinese markets and restaurants. On 80 acres of land, Lau King-Fai, her son and a half-dozen migrant Mexican workers care for the plants. For Yeung Kwan, her son, the farm represents personal and financial independence. For his mother, it is an oasis of peace. For the Mexican workers, it provides jobs that help support their children back home.
The NFB's 42nd Oscar®-nominated film.
This dramatic film introduces us to Tommy, a World War II veteran who rooms alone, waiting for his pension cheque to arrive, passing the time in the evenings with his cronies in the Legion Hall. Lennie can claim only a third of Tommy's years, but he prowls the same area of town, and the two have more in common than either of them realizes. Both their lives lack a sense of place and purpose. The story occurs early in November and leads up to an event that provides one of Tommy's few remaining moments of glory, the annual veterans' Remembrance Day parade.
Through 4 moving portraits, this short documentary sheds light on the tragedy of caregiver stress and elder abuse. The abuse takes many forms, ranging from wilful neglect and financial exploitation to physical assault. The film portrays the emotional complexity of family relationships that can lead to abuse of the elderly, the anguish and isolation of its victims, and the need for community understanding and support.
The story of an Italian immigrant, a widower living alone with his memories, his Bible and Dante, which he learned to read in English. In this black-and-white film from 1966 he talks about his past, his children and of good times and bad. What he tells and what the camera shows of his life make a warm, human portrait of an aging man who chooses freedom and independence even though it sometimes means solitude.
This short film tells the story of what happens when the world around you changes but you remain the same. Legault is an elderly gentleman whose aging cabin now sits in a new suburb of Montreal. No longer surrounded by fields and woods, it has become an eyesore in a newly developing neighbourhood. A warm and humorous story about learning to change with the times.