Men of the Deeps is a moving portrait of a group of former Cape Breton miners gathered together by their love of song. They are all members of the Men of the Deeps chorus, whose performances of traditional and contemporary songs evoke their working lives as miners.
New Life for Ghost Town Miners: Aided by the provincial government, jobless mine workers of Alberta move from Nordegg and other abandoned coal-mining areas to obtain new work elsewhere in Canada. School for Frogmen: Officers and men of the Royal Canadian Navy's Operational Diving Unit at Halifax undergo rigorous training courses to equip them for sub-surface duties.
In this feature documentary, filmmaker Paul Cowan offers an innovative, moving account of the Westray coal mine disaster that killed 26 men in Nova Scotia on May 9, 1992. The film focuses on the lives of three widows and three miners lucky enough not to be underground that day when the methane and coal dust ignited. But their lives were torn apart by the events.
Meet some of the working men, who felt they had no option but to stay on at Westray. And wives, who heard the rumours, saw their men sometimes bloodied from accidents and stood by them, hoping it would all turn out all right. This is a film about working people everywhere whose lives are often entrusted to companies that violate the most fundamental rules of safety and decency in the name of profit.
Filmed in the town of Normétal in northern Québec, this short documentary provides a first-hand introduction to life in a frontier mining community where all roads lead to the pithead. Dweller of two worlds, the copper miner's life is one of contrasts. A mile underground are the rock face, the clattering drills, the dust of explosions; above ground, all the familiar activities of a small town.
What happens to two dying coal towns in British Columbia when an American corporation provides a contract for millions of tons of coking coal? The film follows the consequences for the towns of Natal and Michel, suggesting that industrial growth has its price, especially with regard to the environment.
This short documentary examines the changing relations between labour and management in the long-established company town of Trail, BC, in which 90% of the workforce is employed by Cominco, the world’s largest lead-zinc smelter. The metal workers in the town are outspoken about the health risks associated with their line of work, and a debate about unionization ensues. The days of paternalistic management are gone, and the emphasis is now on participation and involvement. An eventual strike over dissatisfaction with labour relations turns violent when management, union executives, and workers clash over competing interests.
Folk music icon Buffy Sainte-Marie became internationally renowned with her protest song "Universal Soldier." In this short documentary, she candidly discusses her hopes, creative vision and songwriting skills, as well as her role as an Aboriginal activist. Still a vibrant artist fifty years into her career, she keeps her eyes set on the future.
This short documentary is a portrait of the town of Stewart, British Columbia. Situated near the tip of the Alaska panhandle, Stewart has slowed down considerably since its heyday during the gold rush of the 1920s. But the Granduc copper mine still runs there, and the town is blessed with some of the most spectacular scenery of the province. Old-timers stay as long as they can shovel the snow, but younger miners often leave because of the isolation and boredom. Here, Stewart residents open up about the ups and downs of frontier living.
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 hazards of uranium mining in Canada. Toxic and radioactive waste pose environmental threats while the traditional economic and spiritual lives of the Indigenous people who occupy this land have been violated. Given our limited knowledge of the associated risks, this film questions the validity of continuing the mining operations.
This documentary celebrates the achievements of men who toiled in the harsh wilderness of northern Quebec to lay the steel tracks that helped bring the Ungava region’s rich iron ore to market. It is a story of strength and determination, as every man, machine and piece of equipment had to be airlifted in or transported by tractor caravan over the 575-kilometre route. Bit by bit, we follow their progress through forest, over muskeg and across rivers, until at last the first ore train snakes its way to the seaport of Sept-Îles.
Ages 15 to 17
Arts Education - Music
Geography - Natural Resources
Geography - Territory: Regional
Social Studies - Labour Studies
In the film, folk music communicates life events and cultural motifs (camaraderie, heroism, family). Discuss why the men are attached to dirty, dangerous work. Students address the following topics using essays, music, art or drama: 1) The human value and cost of coal mining; 2) The role of music in portraying mining; 3) Call centre work versus mine work; 4) How miners’ rights were achieved; 5) The representation of Cape Breton – realistic or romantic?