Part of the Daughters of the Country series, this dramatic film set in 1929 depicts how Canada's West, home to generations of Métis, was taken over by the railroads and new settlers. As a result, the Métis became a forgotten people, forced to eke out a living as best they could. At the forefront is Rose, a woman determined to provide her children with a normal life and an education despite the odds. But due to their harsh circumstances, a devastating and traumatic event transpires instead.
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.
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.
Fifteen-year-old Buckley (Buckley Petawabano) attends residential school, where he longs for his home and dreams of fishing and hunting. Yet when he returns to the reserve for the summer he feels like a stranger, unable to speak his Cree language or live off the land like his father and brothers. Johnny (Johnny Yesno), an Indigenous caretaker at the school, takes Buckley under his wing, introducing him to Indigenous history, culture, and knowledge. After finding Buckley’s frozen body in the snow, Johnny pieces together the events of the boy’s short life and tragic death, which left him unable to find a place for himself between the white and Indigenous worlds.Featuring the soulful music of Willie Dunn, Cold Journey's narrative is similar to the true story of Charlie Wenjack, a young Anishinaabe boy who froze to death running away from residential school in 1966. The film was made with members of the Indian Film Crew and features Chief Dan George.
In this feature film, 7 elderly women find themselves stranded when their bus breaks down in the wilderness. With only their wits, memories and some roasted frogs' legs to sustain them, this remarkable group of strangers share their life stories and turn a potential crisis into a magical time of humour, spirit and camaraderie. Featuring non-professional actors and unscripted dialogue, this film dissolves the barrier between fiction and reality, weaving a heart-warming tale of friendship and courage.
Renowned Métis author and screenwriter Maria Campbell explores themes of cultural identity, sexual assault and the familial impact of colonialism in The Red Dress, echoing the themes of her seminal memoir, Halfbreed.Kelly is a Métis man without treaty or hunting rights, struggling to sustain his traditional life. His daughter Theresa longs for a red dress from France that she believes will give her power and strength, as the bear claw once did for her great-grandfather Muskwa. When Theresa escapes an assault and Kelly turns his back on his daughter, he realizes that he must reconnect with his culture in order to make things right. Today, the red dress is a powerful symbol recognizing over 1000 missing and murdered Indigenous women in Canada.
The setting for this drama is a logging community, focusing on a man who chooses the unfettered life and uncertain income of an itinerant bush worker, even though it means that his family lives poorly as a result. The film is a study of the effects on family life of isolation and deprivation. Features a wonderful performance from a young Margot Kidder.
This epic drama looks at the opening of the Canadian West and the drought that led to the Depression in the Thirties. It is the saga of a family who left Eastern Canada to stake their future in the Prairies. Principle roles are played by Frances Hyland and James Douglas.
For more background information about this film, please visit the NFB.ca blog.
From Gerald Potterton (director of the cult classic Heavy Metal), this short film depicts the daydream of a chauffeur awaiting his employer. On a hot summer day, he begins to imagine that it's winter—the residential street where he's parked transforms into snowy mountains, and a series of comic misadventures begin. As the car is replaced by a toboggan, it carries the tycoon away on a dizzying ride. The chase includes some unforgettable antics in the snow, including a piggyback ride on an incredulous skier.
This short film from director Gerald Potterton (Heavy Metal) stars Buster Keaton in one of the last films of his long career. As "the railrodder", Keaton crosses Canada from east to west on a railway track speeder. True to Keaton's genre, the film is full of sight gags as our protagonist putt-putts his way to British Columbia. Not a word is spoken throughout, and Keaton is as spry and ingenious at fetching laughs as he was in the old days of the silent slapsticks.
For more background information about this film, visit the NFB.ca blog.
This documentary from Martin Duckworth features young adults from two distinct Winnipeg neighbourhoods on either side of the Red River who struggle to overcome geographical and cultural barriers. High school students from the predominantly Indigenous North End and their peers from the Francophone district of St. Boniface work together to produce a play on the origins of the Métis.
Their collaboration raises questions about how these youths foresee their role and place within their respective communities and how these minority communities co-exist with the predominant culture. The film also tackles issues of intolerance, racism and discrimination.