In 1983, fifteen Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, landowners went to court to stop the spraying of herbicides by the local subsidiary of a Swedish multinational on forests adjacent to their properties. They found that the testimony of scientists and the support of public opinion, both here and abroad, were not enough to win their case. The film shows their ordeal and the landmark Sydney trial. Concerns raised included potential conflict-of-interest situations where a government must protect citizens' health while supporting certain kinds of industry; the relative value of the political and judicial processes in mediating social problems; and the need for a public forum for debating environmental issues. The film contains outstanding footage from chemical-industry films of the 1950s and recent material about Vietnam veterans affected by Agent Orange.
In his new feature documentary Borealis, acclaimed director Kevin McMahon (Waterlife) travels deep into the heart of the boreal forest to explore the chorus of life in Canada’s iconic wilderness. How do trees move, communicate and survive the destructive forces of fire, insects, and human encroachment? Borealis offers an immersive portrait of the lifecycles of the forest from the perspective of the plants and animals that live there.
In Abitibi, hundreds of kilometres from the city, thousands of workers go North, as did Jos Montferrand and François Paradis. Working as brush cutters, these 21st-century lumberjacks discover Quebec's boreal forest. Far from their families, they spend 5 or 6 months a year in logging camps that mirror a new Quebec, those of French-Canadian descent and neo-Quebecers from Africa, Eastern Europe and Asia. All have come to earn a living in the forest. Filmmaker Stéphanie Lanthier invites us to spend an entire season inside this northern micro society. Using a direct cinema technique in the style of Pierre Perrault, she documents the lives of the brush cutters.
In this feature documentary, Richard Desjardins and Robert Monderie continue in the same provocative vein as their earlier Forest Alert, this time turning their lens on Canada's mining industry. Using striking images, rare archival footage and interviews, The Hole Story analyzes company profits and the impact of mining on the environment and workers’ health.
This documentary looks at the risks of a proposed sour gas well near Clearwater River, in Rocky Mountain House, Alberta. Farmers and landowners all share concerns. Residents opposed to the well fear a deadly hydrogen sulphide leak. Shell Canada says it must drill to meet energy needs. When mediation talks break down, both sides anxiously await a ruling from Alberta's Energy and Utilities Board.
Montreal’s Biodome, one of the most popular attractions in the city, features a microcosm of the Earth’s major ecosystems, from tropical rainforest to the Arctic. This feature-length doc shows the enthusiasm brought to the last stages of this undertaking and the magnitude of the challenge met by a young team of scientists who planned this unusual nature museum, home to thousands of animals and plants.
A film by Christopher Chapman, known for his lyrical films of countryside and wilderness. He turns his colour camera on the growing city and there finds cheering proof that despite concrete and bulldozer, the persistent seed prevails. The film is without commentary and the camera work is a constant delight, for Chapman has the gift of catching life smiling wherever he may look. Film without words.
This short film is a portrait of Tofino, BC intertidal artist Pete Clarkson as he crafts his most ambitious and personal project to date: a memorial to the 2011 Great East Japan earthquake and tsunami. He, like so many of us around the world, was deeply affected by the disaster. Years later, as splintered and mangled timber and other objects started to wash ashore, the disaster hit home again for Clarkson, and the inspiration for his memorial was born. In Clarkson’s caring hands, the remnants from the Tohoku region take on a life of their own as he shapes them into a unique public sculpture. The result is an evocative memorial that is a site of remembrance and contemplation, and an emotional bridge connecting an artist, his community and a people an ocean away.
Set in the coldest waters surrounding Newfoundland’s rugged Fogo Island, this short film follows a group of “people of the fish”—traditional fishers who catch cod live by hand, one at a time, by hook and line. Filmmaker Justin Simms takes viewers deep inside the world of these brave fishermen. Travel with them from the early morning hours, spend time on the ocean, and witness the intricacies of a 500-year-old tradition that’s making a comeback.