Elizabeth Bagshaw was a forerunner of the women's movement. As one of the first women to practise medicine in Canada, she had to overcome society's bias against women in medicine. During her seventy-year career she helped to instigate change in public opinion on that issue, as well as the issue of birth control. The film captures the personality of this remarkable woman through a contemporary interview and re-enactments of episodes from her youth. The sepia tones of the re-enactments are in keeping with the film techniques of the time, giving the viewer a strong sense of the period. The film is of special interest to persons interested in the evolution of women's roles in Canadian society.
This short documentary offers an intimate portrait of two women in their mid-sixties—one homosexual, the other heterosexual—whose love for one another and the music they create together transcends differences. Florence and Shirley's lifelong attachment is a heartwarming connection that defies categorization.
Paul Cowan's film captures the spirit of the legal battle over abortion waged by Dr. Henry Morgentaler in Quebec and in federal courts between 1970 and 1976. Using a combination of newsreel footage, interviews and re-enactments, this docudrama unravels the complexities of the case that began as a challenge to Canada's abortion laws and turned into a precedent-setting civil rights case.
Feminism has shaped the society we live in. But just how far has it brought us, and how relevant is it today? This feature documentary zeroes in on key concerns such as violence against women, access to abortion, and universal childcare, asking how much progress we have truly made on these issues. Rich with archival material and startling contemporary stories, Status Quo? uncovers answers that are provocative and at times shocking.
This feature documentary explores the state of prostitution laws in Canada. It captures the complexity of the issue by listening to the frequently conflicting voices of sex workers, policy-makers, lawyers, and even the male buyers who make their argument for why prostitution is good for society. Warning: This film deals with mature subject matter. Viewer discretion is advised.
Following the release of Buying Sex, Professor Alan Young, counsel for the applicants in Bedford v. Canada and a participant in the film, contacted the NFB to complain that the film provides an incomplete and inaccurate account of the case. The NFB acknowledges that the constitutional challenge is not the focus of the film. Rather, the aim of the film is to examine the current controversy in Canada around the decriminalization of prostitution, of which the Bedford case is one aspect. The goal is to create a film which encourages Canadians to engage in an informed debate about sex work from a national and international perspective. The NFB believes the film achieves this purpose. In the spirit of furthering an informed debate on these issues, including the constitutional challenge, and in response to Prof. Young's concerns, the NFB provides below links to the legal briefs filed by the parties before the Supreme Court of Canada as well as links to the judgments of all three Canadian Courts. The third judgment, from the Supreme Court of Canada, was released in December 2013, following the completion of the film. The Supreme Court struck down as unconstitutional the three prostitution related laws challenged by Prof. Young, but suspended its judgment for one year to allow Parliament to consider whether to enact new laws, thus ensuring that the debate surrounding the decriminalization of prostitution will continue in Canada for some time.
Legal Briefs Filed by the Parties in the Supreme Court of Canada
Judgments from the Trial Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court of Canada
Canada (Attorney General) v. Bedford, 2013 SCC 72 (Supreme Court of Canada)
Canada (Attorney General) v. Bedford, 2012 ONCA 186 (Court of Appeal for Ontario)
Bedford v. Canada, 2010 ONSC 4264 (CanLII) (Superior Court of Ontario)
In 1980, Linda M. was the subject of a film about prostitution directed by Norma Bailey (Nose and Tina). It's 16 years later, and Linda renews her relationship with the filmmaker, inviting her back into her life. Now in rehab, Linda introduces her family and various boyfriends in a funny, sometimes upsetting, but always riveting account of day-to-day life.
Tahani Rached’s powerful documentary enters the doors of an AIDS clinic in Montreal. We meet a group of dedicated doctors struggling to provide health care to their patients. This 1994 film explores legal and ethical problems surrounding HIV/AIDS and the struggle against fear, rumours and prejudice. It is still relevant today. In French with English subtitles.
A conservative Indo-Canadian family in small-town British Columbia must come to terms with a devastating secret: three sisters were sexually abused by an older relative beginning in their childhood years. After remaining silent for nearly two and a half decades, the sisters finally decide to come forward—not only to protect other young relatives, but to set an example for their daughters as well.
This award-winning documentary presents Mark Nowaczynski, a physician who photographs the lives of many of his elderly patients. "Who in the world would want to see a bunch of pictures of me? Junk," says Connie, 93. Yet "Dr. Mark" has been photographing her and other patients to raise awareness about the lack of home care in this growing segment of the population. His black-and-white pictures reflect faces that convey fragility and vulnerability but also quiet strength as these seniors struggle to live with dignity.
Marguerite Paquin lives in a seniors’ home where 14 nuns from her religious congregation have succumbed to COVID-19. The film takes us from the grandeur of the landscapes of Côte-Nord, Quebec, where Marguerite has worked for 47 years, into the room where she sits confined today, finding a sort of liberation through prayer and unshakeable solidarity with her sisters who are suffering.
Bevel Up follows street nurses as they reach out to people working in the sex trade, and people who use drugs in the alleys and hotels of Vancouver’s inner city. Most importantly the nurses reflect on the attitudes they bring to their work—attitudes that can make or break their relationships with the people to whom they provide practical, non-judgemental health care on a daily basis.
The Bevel Up Educational Playlists offer viewers a dynamic way to learn through more than four hours of additional footage, interviews and a Teachers Guide. The interactive resource gives students and instructors in the healthcare field access to the experiences of practitioners who work with people who use drugs in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.
For more information, images, and clips, click here.
This two-part series explores ancient teachings on death and dying. It was filmed over a four-month period on location in the Himalayas where the original text still yields an essential influence over people's views of life and death. A Way of Life contains footage of the rites and liturgies surrounding and following the death of a Ladakhi elder. The Dalai Lama explains his own feelings about death, while other scenes within a palliative care hospice in San Francisco depicts the use of the texts to counsel dying AIDS patients. This film, by revealing ancient teachings on how to think about death and dying, can be a valuable source of counsel and comfort.