On the way to school, a boy is confronted by an enormous man whose hand grabs hold of his school bag and tosses it into the air. The hand pushes him towards a huge padlock, then forces him to enter through the keyhole: the schoolboy is imprisoned in a hazardous lock factory. Like the other children inside, he finds himself forced to operate a high-speed punch press. Struggling to follow the movements of the machine, he cuts off a finger. He tries to run away, but is recaptured.
Back at the factory he starts to cough up blood after inhaling iron particles that will prove lethal: the child dies on the job. Coldly, the hand picks up his body and drops it in the box the padlocks are shipped in, symbol of his murdered innocence. How can we live with forced child labour? This India/Canada co-production is inspired by Article 32 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the child, which particularly upholds the child's right to be protected from economic exploitation. An animated film without words for 12- to 17-year olds.
On summer vacation a young teenager finds himself hanging out alone on the streets of his neighbourhood, all his friends having gone to the country with their parents. Near his home he meets a disturbing character, a drug pusher looking for clients, who introduces him to an artificial paradise. The teenager discovers a seductive and terrifying world that frequently draws him back to his neighbour.
In this short animation, we meet a young boy leads such a regimented life that he has no more time just to be a kid. Between school, tennis lessons, swimming lessons, art classes, homework and piano practice, he can barely get any rest. Inspired by Article 31 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, this short animated film by Claude Cloutier pleads for children’s right to rest and leisure.
In 1937, tens of thousands of Haitians and Dominicans of Haitian descent were exterminated by the Dominican army on the basis of anti-black racism. Fast-forward to 2013: the Dominican Republic’s Supreme Court stripped the citizenship of anyone with Haitian parents, retroactive to 1929, rendering more than 200,000 people stateless. Director Michèle Stephenson’s new documentary follows the grassroots campaign of a young attorney named Rosa Iris, as she challenges electoral corruption and fights to protect the right to citizenship for all people.
Celebrate Black Canadian cinema with the NFB. Explore our collection of films from Black filmmakers across Canada.
This 1996 documentary takes a nostalgic ride through history to present the experiences of Black sleeping-car porters who worked on Canada's railways from the early 1900s through the 1960s. There was a strong sense of pride among these men and they were well-respected by their community. Yet, harsh working conditions prevented them from being promoted to other railway jobs until finally, in 1955, porter Lee Williams took his fight to the union.
Claiming discrimination under the Canada Fair Employment Act, the Black workers won their right to work in other areas. Interviews, archival footage and the music of noted jazz musician Joe Sealy (whose father was a porter) combine to portray a fascinating history that might otherwise have been forgotten.
This short animation tells the story of Saoussan, a young girl struggling to adjust to life in Canada after being uprooted from her wartorn homeland. She has come to seek a quieter and safer life, although memories of war and death linger, memories that are awakened when the children at her new school prepare for a scary Halloween. From Far Away speaks to the power within us all to adapt like Saoussan and to welcome a newcomer.
Part of the Talespinners collection, which uses vibrant animation to bring popular children’s stories from a wide range of cultural communities to the screen.
This feature documentary zooms in on a Grade 6 class in Quebec where a teacher is implementing an experimental teaching method aimed at preparing children to take up environmental challenges. Over the course of a year, Dominique Leduc’s students will learn to identify, analyze and resolve a problem that exists in their world. They also learn about the uncertainty faced by those who want change.
This animated short follows an unwanted baby who is passed from house to house until he is taken in and cared for by two homeless men. The film is the Canadian contribution to an hour-long feature film celebrating UNESCO's Year of the Child (1979). It illustrates one of the ten principles of the Declaration of Children's Rights: every child is entitled to a name and a nationality. The film took home an Oscar® for Best Animated Short Film.
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.
This short film from director Donald Brittain tackles the subject of racial prejudice in employment, in a particularly witty fashion. It takes the form of a fantasy in the mythical country of Adanac, featuring arch bigot Jonathan Mole, Mrs. Platitude, Professor Short Sight and other characters.
Prompted by the filmmaker, nine teenagers individually act out their secret dreams and, between times, talk about their world as they see it. Babette conceives of herself as an abbess defending her fortress, a convent; Michelle is transported in a dream of love where all time ceases; Philippe is the revolutionary, defeating all the institutions that plague him, and so on, through all their fantasies. All the actual preoccupations of youth are raised: authority, drugs, social conflict, sex. With English subtitles.
The rights of First Nations children take centre stage in this monumental documentary. Following a historic court case filed by the Assembly of First Nations and the Child and Family Caring Society of Canada against the federal government, Alanis Obomsawin exposes generations of injustices endured by First Nations children living on reserves and their families. Through passionate testimony and unwavering conviction, frontline childcare workers and experts including Cindy Blackstock take part in a decade-long court battle to ensure these children receive the same level of care as other Canadian children. Their case against Canada is a stark reminder of the disparities that persist in First Nations communities and the urgent need for justice to be served.
Also available on the Alanis Obomsawin, A Legacy DVD box set