This feature documentary is a profile of one of the most fascinating and innovative men in popular entertainment today: Todd McFarlane. MacFarlane is a legend to legions of fans. His fictional superhero Spawn has made him the most successful comic book artist in history. He is driven, controversial, relentless in the pursuit of his dreams - yet lives a happy suburban life married to his childhood sweetheart, a level-headed beauty who helps him manage a multi-million dollar entertainment empire. The Devil You Know charts this enigmatic man and explores some of his most intimate thoughts.
This feature documentary is a portrait of Montreal political cartoonists Aislin and Serge Chapleau. In the pages of The Montreal Gazette and La Presse, respectively, they’ve been skewering politicians for 30 years. But who are these biting satirists? The film seeks to answer this question through interviews with the cartoonist's friends, families, colleagues, and even a few of their favourite victims, including Gilles Duceppe and Louise Beaudoin. Featuring many of their classic cartoons, Nothing Sacred pays tribute to gifted iconoclasts whose hilarious characters have seeped into our collective consciousness.
In this feature-length documentary, Troy James Hurtubise goes face to face with Canada's most deadly land mammal, the grizzly bear. Troy is the creator of what he hopes is a grizzly-proof suit, and he repeatedly tests his armour – and courage – in stunts that are both hair-raising and hilarious. Directed by Peter Lynch, the film has become a cult classic in the United States and is rumoured to be a favourite of director Quentin Tarantino.
This short documentary profiles cartoonist, painter, humorist, publisher, iconographer, and teacher Jacob Maydanyk. Part of the first wave of Ukrainian immigrants who arrived in Canada between 1896-1914, Maydanyk was an imaginative artist who created the beloved comic strip character Shteef Tabachniuk, a hapless and endearing galoot who became a folk hero to Ukrainian immigrants. Laughter in My Soul is a tribute to the dignity and heroism of those early pioneers and to those whose spirit lives on, to those who had laughter in their souls.
This feature-length documentary introduces viewers to Ken Carter, a Montreal-born stunt driver who made a living by risking his life. The film shines a light on the intense preparation that led to Carter’s first attempt to jump a car across a mile-wide stretch of the St. Lawrence River – a 5-year period during which the dare-devil raised a million dollars, erected a 10-storey take-off ramp and built a rocket-powered car.
For more background information on this film, please visit the NFB.ca blog.
In this feature-length documentary, director Paul Jay was given unprecedented access to the world of Bret Hart and pro wrestling as his camera followed Bret "the Hitman" Hart for one year. Going behind the tightly guarded walls of wrestling's spectacle and theatre, the film explores the meaning of today's wrestling morality plays. As fantasy crosses into real life, the true story of Bret Hart's struggle with Vince McMahon, the legendary owner of the WWE, is revealed. Hitman Hart: Wrestling with Shadows climaxes with the tale of the biggest double-cross in pro wrestling.
This documentary follows the rodeo circuit as experienced by Canadian world-champion cowboy Kenny McLean. The film follows him on the stampede trail from Texas to Alberta, with scenes of bronco busting, calf roping and steer wrestling. It is what he does for a living, but his real life is with his wife and infant son on his ranch in British Columbia.
In this short documentary about The Tragically Hip, director David Battistella uses a split-screen and acid-etched colours to distil the iconic Canadian band’s essence. After decades together, through hotels, highways, gigs and recording sessions, The Hip’s members have forged a powerful brotherhood. "These guys are my life partners, musically" says bass guitarist Gord Sinclair. The Hip's brand of straight-ahead rock and roll has catapulted the band to international stardom, and ensured them a place in Canadian musical history, but at heart, they remain a bunch of guys from Kingston, Ontario, making music together just for fun.
This film was produced for the 2008 Governor General's Performing Arts Award.
This documentary offers a witty and engaging view of Canada's history through the unique perspectives of its political cartoonists. Duncan Macpherson, Robert LaPalme, Aislin, and others chime in on the most notable cartoons from more than 50 artists while we also enjoy the reactions of the targets. As one cartoonist proclaims, "A picture is worth a thousand words. A cartoon, well done, is worth a thousand pictures."
This informal black-and-white portrait of Leonard Cohen shows him at age 30 on a visit to his hometown of Montreal, where the poet, novelist and songwriter comes "to renew his neurotic affiliations." He reads his poetry to an enthusiastic crowd, strolls the streets of the city, relaxes in this three-dollar-a-night hotel room and even takes a bath.
When William Shatner gets a Lifetime Achievement Award from Canada's Governor General, he shows appreciation as only Shatner can. In this short film, the most famous space cadet in showbiz takes helm of our heritage and treats us to a memorable rendition of Canada's national anthem.
Produced by the National Film Board of Canada in co-operation with the National Arts Centre and the Governor General's Performing Arts Awards Foundation on the occasion of the 2011 Governor General's Performing Arts Awards.
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Ages 14 to 18
Media Education - Documentary Film
Media Education - Media Violence
Media Education - Popular Culture
Warnings: [Swearing. Artistic depiction of violence. Mild references to drugs and alcohol. References to hanging and capital punishment.]
A documentary about Canadian comic book creator Todd McFarlane. Ideal for classroom discussions centred around Canadian creators, comic books, commercialization, and media. What is the relationship between art and business as depicted in the film? To what degree is this portrayal positive or negative, and what are your own thoughts on the subject? Research the legal disputes Todd McFarlane has had with other artists and creators over intellectual property rights since the film’s release, and then discuss how those cases relate to ideas explored in the film. In the documentary, McFarlane speaks of how his interests, hobbies, and personal experiences influenced his creation of Spawn; write a short story or draw a comic that combines your own interests and experiences.