This documentary short is a visual portrait of “Prairie Sentinels,” the vertical grain elevators that once dotted the Canadian Prairies. Surveying an old diesel elevator’s day-to-day operations, this film is a simple, honest vignette on the distinctive wooden structures that would eventually become a symbol of the Prairie provinces.
This epic drama looks at the opening of the Canadian West and the drought that led to the Depression in the Thirties. It is the saga of a family who left Eastern Canada to stake their future in the Prairies. Principle roles are played by Frances Hyland and James Douglas.
For more background information about this film, please visit the NFB.ca blog.
In this short documentary from the Canada Vignettes series, a Saskatchewan grain elevator is moved across the snow-covered prairie to a new home after nearly a half-century of use; from Greenstreet to Marshall, Saskatchewan (about 20 miles away). The film follows the lifting and transporting of the 9-storey, 200-ton structure, and examines the feelings of the people as they witness the final passing of their town's one and only grain elevator.
The International Ox Pull, highlight of the Bridgewater, Nova Scotia, annual fair, is a holdover from the pioneer past when oxen cleared the land and tilled the soil. These beasts of burden have lost none of their pulling power, as demonstrated when they drag tons of weight loaded on sleds (the winner pulls up to 6 tons!). Competing teams come from various parts of the Maritimes and the Northeastern United States.
Western ballads played on guitar are the only sounds used in this romantic portrait of a cowboy. He rounds up wild horses, lassoing one of the high-spirited animals in the corral, and then goes for a glorious plunging ride across the spectacular Rocky Mountain foothills of Alberta.
The followers of religious leader Jacob Hutter live in farm communities, devoutly holding to the rules their founder laid down four centuries ago. Through the kindness of a Hutterite colony in Alberta, this film, in black and white, was made inside the community and shows all aspects of the Hutterites' daily life.
This short documentary illustrates rural French Canadian life in the early 1940s. The film follows Alexis Tremblay and his family through the busy autumn days as they bring in the harvest and help with bread baking and soap making. Winter sees the children revelling in outdoor sports while the women are busy with their weaving, and, with the coming of spring young and old alike repair to the fields once more to plough the earth in preparation for another season of varied crops. One of the first NFB films to be produced, directed, written and shot by women.
This short film serves as a cautionary tale to farmers who recklessly cut down trees on their land. When prairie farmers engaged in this practice to facilitate plowing, they discovered that the trees had served as windbreaks protecting top soil from erosion. The Dominion Department of Agriculture's experimental station at Indian Head, Saskatchewan, cultivated acres of young trees for distribution to farmers.
This film illustrates the struggles of Canadian prairies women to achieve a more just and humane society within the farm movement and at large. During the early 1900s, women on the prairies looked for ways to overcome their isolation. Out of the resulting farm women's organizations grew a group of women possessing remarkable intellectual abilities, social and cultural awareness, and advanced worldviews.
Here is a film showing how each spring, prairie farmers renew their gamble with wind, frost, drought, rust and hail to begin again the cycle that may bring a good, or a lean, year. This story of big-scale wheat farming is told by a farm woman whose sons represent the fourth generation to operate a Saskatchewan farm.
This documentary follows the migration of thousands of young Quebecers as they travel to British Columbia to harvest fruit in the lush Okanagan Valley. The camera follows several spirited youth into the orchards for seven weeks. As the rain sets in, reality unfolds: it's cold, the cherry crop is late, and money is short. But as they make friends and enjoy their independence, the promise of adventure is realized. Although their work is integral to the local economy, the youth find that the experience is not just about making money. It's about awareness, self-discovery and exploring the world.