In March 1914, the Newfoundland set sail from Wesleyville, taking 132 men out sealing. Miles from shore, the ship got stuck in the ice so the men went over the side to walk to the sealing ground. When a terrible storm struck, they were stranded. It took rescuers 3 days to arrive; by then, 78 men were dead and another 9 missing. This tragic story is told through the words of men who were there and the haunting prints of David Blackwood.
The NFB's 33rd Oscar®-nominated film.
This short film studies the works of one of Canada's greatest contemporary etchers - Newfoundland-born David Blackwood. The artist himself guides viewers through a step-by-step explanation of the etching process. Scenes of his hometown, examples of his own work and vivid tales of an old mariner recall the tragic seal hunts and a way of life that has now vanished.
A taste of the sea and people who sail it from the ports of the Atlantic Bluenose coast. Some of the sailors seen and heard in this black and white film are famous: Bill Roue who designed the first Bluenose schooner (still on the Canadian dime) and Captain Angus Walter who brought her to victory.
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.
This short animation is a remarkably vivid account of the 1914 tragedy in which 132 men were stranded on the ice during a severe snowstorm off the coast of Newfoundland. 78 men froze to death on the pack ice. In the spring of 1914, the last of the wooden seal hunting ships in a steel-dominated industry was the Newfoundland, manned by men from across the province. The ship was unable to reach a seal pack due to its lack of ice-breaking power, and 132 men were ordered off the boat and onto the ice to hunt. The ship had no radio equipment, and the men spent two unbearable nights on the ice. Survivor testimony, striking archival materials, weather visualizations, inventive animation and puppetry are seamlessly blended to recreate this harrowing ordeal.
In this feature-length documentary by Alanis Obomsawin, it's the summer of 2000 and the country watches in disbelief as federal fisheries wage war on the Mi'kmaq fishermen of Burnt Church, New Brunswick. Why would officials of the Canadian government attack citizens for exercising rights that had been affirmed by the highest court in the land? Casting her cinematic and intellectual nets into history to provide context, Obomsawin delineates the complex roots of the conflict with passion and clarity, building a persuasive defence of the Mi'kmaq position.
Life in a north-shore village where everybody's name is Robertson and where everyone hunts for seal. In December the seals come in great herds from Greenland, and for two weeks in this peaceful village it's all hands to the lines.
On June 11 and 20, 1981, the Quebec Provincial Police (QPP) raided Restigouche Reserve, Quebec. At issue were the salmon-fishing rights of the Mi’kmaq. Because salmon has traditionally been a source of food and income for the Mi’kmaq, the Quebec government’s decision to restrict fishing aroused consternation and anger. Released in 1984, this groundbreaking and impassioned account of the police raids brought Alanis Obomsawin to international attention. The film features a remarkable on-camera exchange between Obomsawin herself and provincial Minister of Fisheries Lucien Lessard, the man who’d ordered the raid. Decades later, Jeff Barnaby, director of Rhymes for Young Ghouls, cited the film as an inspiration. “That documentary encapsulated the idea of films being a form of social protest for me... It started right there with that film.”
This short documentary from The Grasslands Project shows how small rural communities rely on volunteer firefighters to handle most emergencies. While the Eastend Fire Department responds to its share of barn and grass fires, they are only a call away from tragedy. Rural first responders are usually first on the scene of grisly farm and motor vehicle accidents, and in a small community the victims are often friends and family. The toll it takes on these volunteers creates its own tragedy.
During the short Arctic summer on Baffin Island, the native Inuit enjoys four months of continuous daylight. But it is no time for relaxation, for provision must be made for the long, cold winter night ahead. In this film Idlouk, an Inuit hunter, tells of his life in this northern land. We watch as he stalks the seal so vital to his existence, and as he and other hunters set out in kayaks to harpoon the white whale and the narwhal. At camp we meet his wife, children and aged parents, each of whom has work to do in the unceasing struggle for survival in this harsh land.
Please note that this is an archival film that makes use of the word “Eskimo,” an outdated and offensive term. While the origin of the word is a matter of some contention, it is no longer used in Canada. The term was formally rejected by the Inuit Circumpolar Council in 1980 and has subsequently not been in use at the NFB for decades. This film is therefore a time-capsule of a bygone era, presented in its original version. The NFB apologizes for the offence caused.
This short documentary looks at the deep gorge of the Fraser River, shadowed by the mountain ranges of British Columbia. It is a highway for the mysterious migration of the Pacific salmon. The river shallows appear red with the flailing fish as they push up-river to spawn and die. A natural wonder puzzling to the scientist, the fish migration of spring and summer provides renewed activity for fishermen and cannery workers.
In this documentary short, summer trippers line up for the famous local fried clams and whole families dig for the white mollusc in the tangy air of the sandbars. But as the clams dwindle, so do these tableaux from Maritime culture. For commercial fishermen it's the end of a livelihood; for others, it's the death of a tradition. Can this really be the end of a resource that used to be as plentiful as the air we breathe? In French with English subtitles.
This documentary was made as part of the Tremplin program, with the collaboration of Radio-Canada.