Hopscotch is universal. Girls around the world trace squares on the ground, then hop through them, trying hard to reach the end. Girls share other interests too; they all like to talk about school, what they want to be when they grow up, who they will marry, how many children they will have, their hopes for a better life for themselves and their family.
But all too often, through poverty, perversion, spite, ignorance or superstition, adults shatter these dreams by denying girls the right to an education, entering them into forced labour, subjecting them to mutilation, sexual abuse and other injustices.
Soni, Kamlesh, Mou, Yui, Dalal, Esmeralda, Fatou, Adiaratou, Safi and Maude range in age from 8 to 14. Some are frail, some strong; all are beautiful. Whether they live in India, Thailand, Yemen, Peru, Burkina Faso or Haiti, they all speak of having much of their childhood stolen from them. Because they are girls. With subtitles.
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.
A conservative Indo-Canadian family in small-town British Columbia must come to terms with a devastating secret: three sisters were sexually abused by an older relative beginning in their childhood years. After remaining silent for nearly two and a half decades, the sisters finally decide to come forward—not only to protect other young relatives, but to set an example for their daughters as well.
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.
This short documentary explores homophobic language and its consequences among teenagers. Name-calling and cruel language hurt, say the teens who speak in this video. Homophobic language is a common verbal put-down among young people, but many adults feel uncomfortable responding. This video is a tool for teachers, counsellors and youth groups to explore the origins of the words, how young people feel about them and how to overcome the pain they cause.
This inspiring film is the story of how one woman has come to terms with her life as a survivor of incest. Sexually abused by her father from infancy to early adolescence, Shirley Turcotte is now in her thirties and has succeeded in building a rich and full life. In To a Safer Place, Shirley takes a further step to reconcile her past and present. The film accompanies her as she returns to the people and places of her childhood. Her mother, brothers and sister, all of whom were also caught up in the cycle of family violence, openly share their thoughts. Their frank disclosures will encourage survivors of incest to break through the silence and betrayal to recover and develop a sense of self-worth and dignity.
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.
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.
This short documentary features children aged 5 to 12 talking about their experiences with bullying and discrimination because they or their families do not fit into traditional gender and family roles. This film explores the contemporary diversity of families from kids' points of view, while featuring short animated sequences about the history of derogatory slang.
This feature documentary is considered to be the forerunner of the NFB's Challenge for Change Program. The film offers in inside look at 3 weeks in the life of the Bailey family. Trouble with the police, begging for stale bread, and the birth of another child are just some of the issues they face. Through it all, the father tries to explain his family's predicament. Although filmed in Montreal, the film offers an anatomy of poverty as it occurs throughout North America.
This feature documentary by renowned director and cinematographer Vic Sarin is a personal yet global investigation into the history and current state of colourism: the discrimination within one ethnicity based on differences in skin tone. Sarin travels the globe to discuss this complex cross-cultural social issue with individuals whose lives it affects, including a Filipina entrepreneur whose business has flourished within the billion-dollar skin-whitening industry. Hue leads viewers on a thoughtful and surprising journey to the heart of a painful and pervasive social issue that not only polices appearance, but also class, gender, and geography.
Beauty explores the lives of five gender-creative kids, each uniquely engaged in shaping their own sense of what it means to be fully human. Whether it’s dealing with bullies, explaining themselves to their parents, or navigating the uncharted waters of relationships, Bex, Lili, Fox, Tru and Milo talk about their experiences and struggle to live in authenticity.