When Doctors without Borders, the humanitarian medical aid agency, won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1999, Dr. Claudette Picard was in Liberia. Her first mission with the agency had begun in this small country of West Africa six years before. In the meantime, she had practised medicine in other wartorn countries such as Zaire and Afghanistan, always in extremely hazardous conditions.
What impels women and men like Dr. Picard to leave their easy lives behind and go off to do what little they can to alleviate human suffering? Whatever the motivation, the doctors are in the field, providing medical care and helping to draw attention to distant places often forgotten by the world's media. Places like Harper, a small town in Liberia devastated by a decade of civil war. This is where we follow Dr. Picard on her rounds. With her halting English, her comforting presence and a few scarce drugs, she sometimes manages to do the impossible. But not always...
Set in the northern region of Afghanistan, this feature drama tells the story of a young bride-to-be who strays from local customs after befriending an Afghan-Canadian translator. Part lament against injustice, part testament to the spirit of a people who have survived decades of war, this film is a compelling drama in which East and West, love and honour, modernity and custom clash with tragic consequences.
On March 2, 2004, Bernard Lord's Conservative government announces that the hospital in Caraquet, New Brunswick, will be converted to a community health centre. Considering the government's decision unfair, the people of the region rally to save the health care services to which they feel entitled. Despite their year-and-a-half-long struggle, the Hôpital de l'Enfant-Jésus is closed. In recording the chronology of the events, Renée Blanchar plunges into the heart of the action with an urgent need to speak out against injustice. The result is a very human film about solidarity. In French with English subtitles.
10–7 for Life is a funny, raw and occasionally violent chronicle of the last two weeks of Carol Banks's career as a cop in Parkdale, Toronto. Exploring the contrasts and absurdities of patrolling the streets, the film looks at everything from the now-almost-routine gang shootings to a colleague's shocking murder, while also capturing what Banks describes as "babysitting" – officers trying to help people who can't look after themselves. Filmed by Carol's sister, Cindy Banks, this film offers a rare inside look at a police force struggling to cope with an increasingly violent city, and an intimate portrait of one burnt-out cop who has to get out for her own peace of mind.
This documentary presents a before-and-after picture of people in a large-scale public housing project in Toronto. Due to a housing shortage, they were forced to live in squalid, dingy flats and ramshackle dwellings on a crowded street in Regent Park North; now they have access to new, modern housing developments designed to offer them privacy, light and space.
In 1937, tens of thousands of Haitians and Dominicans of Haitian descent were exterminated by the Dominican army on the basis of anti-black racism. Fast-forward to 2013: the Dominican Republic’s Supreme Court stripped the citizenship of anyone with Haitian parents, retroactive to 1929, rendering more than 200,000 people stateless. Director Michèle Stephenson’s new documentary follows the grassroots campaign of a young attorney named Rosa Iris, as she challenges electoral corruption and fights to protect the right to citizenship for all people.
Celebrate Black Canadian cinema with the NFB. Explore our collection of films from Black filmmakers across Canada.
Director Mina Shum makes her foray into feature documentary by reopening the file on a watershed moment in Canadian race relations – the infamous Sir George Williams Riot. Over four decades after a group of Caribbean students accused their professor of racism, triggering an explosive student uprising, Shum locates the protagonists and listens as they set the record straight, trying to make peace with the past.
This 1957 documentary short offers an analysis of South Africa's acute race problem, an issue that causes dissension not only within its borders but within the Commonwealth and beyond. In South Africa, a country of 14 million people, 4 out of 5 people are black. The film gives a dispassionate appraisal of the motivations behind the policy of apartheid and of whether the practice of segregation provides a satisfactory, long-term solution.
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.
One Sunday in Canada visits an Italian community in the northwest sector of Montreal, where about half of the city's 150,000 Italians live. In the new suburbs where they are settling, the streets may have names like Venice, Naples, Genoa; and wherever men and women gather, there is the ebullience characteristic of the Latin. This is a Sunday on which special observances are held at the Italian church of Madonna della Difesa, and it is also the Sunday when Montreal's Cantalia soccer team challenges Toronto's Italia. A very human story of people adapting to life in a new environment.
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.