In an undisclosed location in rural Nova Scotia, retired blacksmiths John and Nancy Little live a peaceful life, tending to their beautiful vegetable garden and crafting ethereal musical sculptures out of scrap metal. Occasionally, their special skills are put to use by the local police in an effort to protect the daily lives of all Canadians. Steeped in the atmospherics of a taut spy thriller, Gun Killers portrays two ordinary citizens as gentle national heroes.
This short documentary offers an Indigenous perspective on the devastating experience of searching for a loved one who has disappeared. Volunteer activist Kyle Kematch and award-winning writer Katherena Vermette have both survived this heartbreak and share their histories with each other and the audience. While their stories are different, they both exemplify the beauty, grace, resilience, and activism born out of the need to do something.
This short documentary investigates a perceived threat in the rural Maritimes following a deadly coyote attack in the Cape Breton wilderness. Locals react to the attack by concluding that a new super-species is infiltrating their communities: part coyote and part wolf. But is there any truth to this suspicion, or is the response the result of fear and rumours?
This feature documentary profiles four residents of the Brockville Mental Health Centre, a forensic psychiatric hospital for people who have committed violent crimes. Four patients—two men and two women—struggle to gain control over their lives so they can return to a society that often fears and demonizes them. Shrouded in stigma, institutions like this one are places into which patients disappear from public view for years.
Four-time Emmy winner John Kastner was granted unprecedented access to the Brockville facility for 18 months, allowing 46 patients and 75 staff to share their experiences with stunning frankness.
For more background information on this film, please visit the NFB.ca blog.
This feature documentary follows the Chief Prosecutor through the first trials of the newly formed International Criminal Court. Luis Moreno-Ocampo investigates and prosecutes some of the world's worst criminals for some of the world's worst crimes. He's a hero to genocide survivors, but has bitter enemies on both the Right and the Left. Is the ICC a groundbreaking new weapon for global justice or just an idealistic dream?
This gripping documentary takes a powerful look at the lives of people with substance use disorder in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. Filmmaker Veronica Alice Mannix follows Constable Al Arsenault and six other police officers on their daily beat, documenting their unique relationships with people who speak candidly about their painful past experiences, their drug addiction, and life on the street.
Directed by John Kastner, this feature documentary about violence, mental illness, and the rights of victims tells the story of a troubled young man who stabbed a complete stranger 6 times in a crowded shopping mall while gripped by psychosis. Twelve years later, his victim, who miraculously survived, is terrified to learn that he’s out, living in the community under supervision. He’s applying for an absolute discharge, and if he succeeds, he’ll no longer be required to take the anti-psychotic drugs that control his mental illness. With unprecedented access to the patient, the victim, and the mental institution, the film looks at both sides of the debate and puts a human face on the complex ethical issues raised.
This feature documentary takes us through the twists and turns of judicial proceedings pitting Canadian mining companies Barrick Gold and Banro against author Alain Deneault, his co-writers and publisher Éditions Écosociété, following the 2008 release of the book Noir Canada, which raised troubling questions about the controversial practices of Canadian mining companies in Africa. Silence is Gold is a legal and political thriller that captures years of intense psychological tension.
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)
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.
Ages 15 to 18
Civics/Citizenship - Citizen Responsibilities
Media Education - Documentary Film
Social Studies - Law
This short uses only recordings of 911 calls to share the story of two individuals and their role in disposing of illegal guns in Nova Scotia. Use as an introduction to gun-control research, debate or essays. Study filmmaking techniques: How does the filmmaker tell a story without scripted dialogue? What visuals were chosen to tell the story? What visual techniques and conventions of documentary film are used to create the story?