Long métrage documentaire sur les Habitations Jeanne-Mance. La réalisatrice Isabelle Longtin s’est introduite dans le plus grand HLM du Québec et elle en est revenue avec Le Plan, un film qui dévoile une réalité multiethnique complexe, faite de destins individuels touchants et de mouvements de solidarité. Aux prises avec les tensions de l’immigration et avec les questions de l’intégration culturelle, les habitants du Plan semblent fiers de la bonne entente qui règne entre eux.
Just a stone’s throw from downtown Montreal is the largest social housing complex in Quebec. Built in 1959 where the red-light district used to be, Les Habitations Jeanne-Mance have retained something of the area’s seedy reputation for poverty, prostitution, drugs and violence. But who really knows the projects and the people who live there? Delving beneath the prejudices and stereotypes, director Isabelle Longtin ventured inside the buildings and met the residents. The result is The Downtown Project, a documentary that reveals a complex multi-ethnic reality made up of compelling personal stories and social movements.
This feature documentary takes us to the heart of the Jane-Finch "Corridor" in the early 1980s. Covering six square blocks in Toronto's North York, the area readily evokes images of vandalism, high-density subsidized housing, racial tension, despair and crime. By focusing on the lives of several of the residents, many of them black or members of other visible minorities, the film provides a powerful view of a community that, contrary to its popular image, is working towards a more positive future.
This documentary is a portrait of Point St. Charles, one of Montreal’s notoriously bleak neighbourhoods. Many of the residents are English-speaking and of Irish origin; many of them are also on welfare. Considered to be one of the toughest districts in all of Canada, Point St. Charles is poor in terms of community facilities, but still full of rich contrasts and high spirits – that is, most of the time.
A collaborative work made in the spirit of cinéma-vérité, St-Henri, the 26th of August was directed by Shannon Walsh and16 fellow documentary filmmakers. Chronicling life in a former working-class Montreal neighbourhood over a 24-hour period, St-Henri, the 26th of August follows several compelling stories and characters. The film is an homage to the 1962 Hubert Aquin classic À Saint-Henri le cinq septembre.
This feature documentary presents a thoughtful and vivid portrait of a community facing imposed relocation. At the centre of the story is a remarkably astute and luminous 12-year-old black girl whose poignant observations about life, the soul, and the power of art give voice to those rarely heard in society. Unarmed Verses is a cinematic rendering of our universal need for self-expression and belonging.
This animated film about blind prejudice is based on a short story by Canadian author Wilma Riley. Mrs. Cherwak is Polish and owns a cow. Mrs. Meuser is a German with entrenched notions of cleanliness. She does not appreciate the cow's inevitable by-product. The film describes their conflict and its curious resolution over coffee and mincemeat pie. While the author chose to write about the Germans and the Poles she grew up with on the outskirts of Regina, the situation she describes could apply anywhere in the world.
In Handmade Mountain, Michèle Pearson Clarke explores the emotional fallout of being both early to gay marriage and early to gay divorce. Fifteen years after same-sex marriage became legal, she and friends reflect on its personal and political meaning in this experimental film.
This short documentary tells the intensely personal story of Namrata Gill – one of the many real-life inspirations for Deepa Mehta’s Heaven on Earth – in her own words. After six years, Gill courageously leaves an abusive relationship and launches a surprising new career.
This short documentary profiles Ukrainian-Canadian Ted Baryluk, whose grocery store has been a fixture in Winnipeg's North End for over 20 years. In this photo study, Ted talks about his store, the customers who have come and gone and the social changes his multicultural neighbourhood has seen. But most of all he wonders what will become of his store after he retires. He hopes his daughter will take over, but she wants to move away. The film is a wistful rendering of a shopkeeper's relationship with his daughter and a fascinating portrait of a neighbourhood and its inhabitants.
Filmmaker Paul Émile d'Entremont's documentary presents Reema, a lively and sensitive young girl confronted with difficult questions about her identity. After spending the first 16 years of her life with her Canadian mother, Reema re-connects with her Iraqi father by spending 2 months with him in Jordan. On returning home to Nova Scotia, she realizes she will always have a double identity, and that it is both a burden and a treasure.
This documentary recounts filmmaker Pierre Sidaoui’s immigration journey from the small Lebanese town of Abey to Montreal, the city he now calls home. Sidaoui had a carefree childhood, but civil war forced him and his family to flee Lebanon in 1982, the first in a series of moves that would ultimately separate him from his parents, brother and sisters. Two decades later, Sidaoui pauses to reflect. His precious family photos, carefully kept in a shoebox, bring forth a flood of memories - of family, landscapes, music and war. A touching meditation on the pursuit of happiness and the immigrant experience.