This short documentary looks at the Norwegian explorer Helge Ingstad, who uncovered the remains of a Viking settlement at l'Anse aux Meadows in Newfoundland in 1960. His search for traces of Norse settlements took him from the Sierra Madre Mountains of Mexico to the Far North of Canada. His numerous expeditions, many of them recorded on film and narrated by Ingstad, form the basis of this fascinating film about a man who is said to have discovered America in a way that few have or ever will.
This short documentary depicts the search, discovery and authentication of the only known Norse settlement in North America - Vinland the Good. Mentioned in Icelandic manuscripts and speculated about for over two centuries, Vinland is known as "the place where the wild grapes grow" and was thought to be on the eastern coast between Virginia and Newfoundland. In 1960 a curious group of house mounds was uncovered at l'Anse aux Meadows in northern Newfoundland by Drs. Helge Ingstad and Anne Stine Ingstad of Norway. Added to the United Nations World Heritage List, l'Anse aux Meadows is considered one of the most important archaeological sites in the world.
Evidence of Viking presence in North America has challenged archaeologists and historians for years. Did the Vikings come to northern Canada nearly 1,000 years ago? Did they later migrate inland? This film explores the legends of the Viking visits to North America, which remain shrouded in mystery, but continue to be the subject of much debate.
This feature documentary tells the story of Akhenaten, an ancient pharaoh who was almost lost to history. The film follows Canadian archaeologist Dr. Donald Redford, who uncovered the foundation of one of the pharaoh’s many temples, in his attempt to finally piece together this great Egyptian ruler’s enigmatic story.
Viewer Advisory: This film contains scenes of animal slaughter.
This historical drama tells the story of Qin Shihuang, who unified China’s vast territory and declared himself emperor in 221 B.C. During his reign, he introduced sweeping reforms, built a vast network of roads and connected the Great Wall of China. From the grandiose inner sanctum of Emperor Qin's royal palace, to fierce battles with feudal kings, this film re-creates the glory and the terror of the Qin Dynasty, including footage of Qin's life-sized terra cotta army, constructed 2,200 years ago for his tomb. The First Emperor of China was shot entirely in IMAX.
This feature documentary is a biography of Dr. Norman Bethune, the Canadian doctor who served with the loyalists during the Spanish Civil War and with the North Chinese Army during the Sino-Japanese War. In Spain he pioneered the world's first mobile blood-transfusion service; in China his work behind battle lines to save the wounded has made him a legendary figure.
Monika Delmos's documentary captures a year in the life of two teenage refugees, Joyce and Sallieu, who have left their own countries to make a new life in Ontario. Joyce, 17, left the Democratic Republic of Congo to avoid being forced into prostitution by her family. Sallieu, 16, had witnessed the murder of his mother as a young boy in wartorn Sierra Leone.
Delmos follows them as they bear the normal pressures of being a teenager while simultaneously undergoing the refugee application process. She shows how the guidance and support of a handful of people make a real difference in the day-to-day lives of these children.
In this documentary, the members of the University of British Columbia's Thunderbirds hockey team travel to China to demonstrate their skills to the new teams in the East. While hockey there still has a long way to go, this film leaves no doubt that the Chinese players are up to the challenge. A film propelled by discoveries, it goes a long way to providing insight into the differences between East and West.
For more background information about this film, please visit the NFB.ca blog.
A moving and graphic portrait of the people of wartorn Beirut in their day-to-day struggle to survive in the rubble and despair. Filmed shortly after the 1982 massacres at Sabra and Chatila, the film gives a vivid picture of the plight of these people and of any people who are too poor to escape the ravages of war.
This feature-length documentary from 1974 takes viewers inside Fidel Castro's Cuba. A movie-making threesome hope that Fidel himself will star in their film. The unusual crew consists of former Newfoundland premier Joseph Smallwood, radio and TV owner Geoff Stirling and NFB film director Michael Rubbo. What happens while the crew awaits its star shows a good deal of the new Cuba, and also of the three Canadians who chose to film the island.
This documentary by Michael Rubbo (Waiting for Fidel) offers candid glimpses of Indonesia and its people. Filming in and around the capital of Jakarta, the cameras follow where chance leads, capturing the flavour of life in this fertile crescent of tropical islands. Throughout the film, the focus is on a society caught between the past and the conflicting options for the future - to change or not to change from long-established patterns of life to ones more influenced by western technology.
Filmed in the Indian Himalayas and in Canada, A Song for Tibet tells the dramatic story of the efforts by Tibetans in exile, including the Dalai Lama, to save their homeland and preserve their heritage against overwhelming odds. Since the invasion of their territory by China in the late 1950s, Tibetans have been struggling for cultural and political survival.