This short film from The Petticoat Expeditions series follows artist Frances Hopkins to Canada, where she journeyed by canoe with the voyageurs during the final days of the fur trade in Canada.
The Petticoat Expeditions series, which uses the words and works of 3 extraordinary British women to recount their experiences in 19th-century Canada, paints an inspiring portrait of women who would not be constrained by convention.
Part of the Daughters of the Country series, this dramatic film features a young Ojibwa girl from 1770 who marries a Scottish fur trader and leaves home for the shores of Georgian Bay. Although the union is beneficial for her tribe, it results in hardship and isolation for Ikwe. Values and customs clash until, finally, the events of a dream Ikwe once had unfold with tragic clarity.
This feature-length film tells the story of the passion between Marie de l’Incarnation, a mid-seventeenth-century nun and God, her "divine spouse." Fusing documentary and acting by Marie Tifo, whom we follow as she rehearses for this demanding role, the film paints an astonishing portrait of this mystic who abandoned her son and left France to build a convent in Canada, where she became the first female writer in New France.
Part of the Daughters of the Country series, this film, set in the 1850s, unfolds against the backdrop of the Hudson's Bay Company's monopoly of the fur trade. In protest, some Métis engage in trade with the Americans. Madeleine, the Métis common-law wife of a Hudson's Bay Company clerk, is torn between loyalty to her husband and loyalty to her brother, a freetrader. Even more shattering, a change in company policy destroys Madeleine's happy and secure life, forcing her to re-evaluate her identity.
Richard Cardinal died by his own hand at the age of 17, having spent most of his life in a string of foster homes and shelters across Alberta. In this short documentary, Abenaki director Alanis Obomsawin weaves excerpts from Richard’s diary into a powerful tribute to his short life. Released in 1984—decades before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission—the film exposed the systemic neglect and mistreatment of Indigenous children in Canada’s child welfare system. Winner of the Best Documentary Award at the 1986 American Indian Film Festival, the film screened at New York’s Museum of Modern Art in 2008 as part of an Obomsawin retrospective, and continues to be shown around the world.
This short film tells the tale of the men who drove big freighter canoes into the wilderness in the days when the fur trade was Canada's biggest business. The film recreates scenes of the early 19th century with a soundtrack by an all-male chorus.
This short documentary from the Canadian Artists series presents the art of Emily Carr, the Canadian painter who found exciting subject matter on British Columbia's Pacific Coast, with its giant trees and its Indigenous villages, totems and carvings. When Carr visited the Ucluelet Indian Reserve on Vancouver Island in 1898, the Nuu-chah-nulth people gave her the name Klee Wyck, meaning “Laughing One.” Her canvases are shown here amidst the landscapes and places where they were painted. At the end of the film Tse-shaht painter George Clutesi is pictured as Carr left her paintbrushes and other materials to him.
Acclaimed Métis filmmaker Christine Welsh brings us a compelling documentary that puts a human face on a national tragedy – the epidemic of missing or murdered Indigenous women in Canada. The film takes a journey into the heart of Indigenous women's experience, from Vancouver's skid row, down the Highway of Tears in northern BC, and on to Saskatoon, where the murders and disappearances of these women remain unsolved.
This documentary follows Haida artist Bill Reid, from British Columbia. A jeweller and wood carver, he works on a traditional Haida totem pole. We watch the gradual transformation of a bare cedar trunk into a richly carved pole to stand on the shores of the town of Skidegate, in the Queen Charlotte Islands of B.C.
In 1920, a group of young Montreal women artists formed the nucleus of what would later become known as the Beaver Hall Hill Group. Together, they created an artistic environment of mutual support that lasted for more than three decades. By Woman's Hand explores this unique group through the eyes of Prudence Heward, Sarah Robertson and Anne Savage, its three most prominent members.
In this acclaimed 1994 documentary, Loretta Todd, a leading figure in Indigenous cinema in Canada, profiles four contemporary female artists—Doreen Jensen, Rena Point Bolton, Jane Ash Poitras and Joane Cardinal-Schubert—who seek to find a continuum from traditional to contemporary forms of expression. Each artist reveals her practice and journey in her own words. The film is a moving testimony to the vital role Indigenous women play in nurturing Indigenous cultures.