Bareback bronc riding is not for the faint of heart. The risk of serious and possibly fatal injury looms with each buck and kick. For Liam Marshall, it’s a thrill he’s always known growing up in the Big Muddy Valley, in rural Saskatchewan. Training to compete and become a bareback champion requires his complete focus. It’s clear that it fills his every waking moment (when he’s not checking his cellphone). Surrounded by family and providing inspiration to his three younger brothers, this brave teenager holds on tight to a tradition that’s been passed down through generations.
This captivating short documentary profiles the young Canadian long-distance runner Bruce Kidd at 19 years old. Kidd eventually went on to win a gold and bronze medal at the 1962 Commonwealth Games, and was a competing member of the 1964 Canadian Olympic team. Directed by Don Owen (Nobody Waved Good-bye, Toronto Jazz), the film is luminously photographed by John Spotton and features poetic commentary composed and spoken by the great Anglo-American poet W.H. Auden. The camera follows Kidd’s sprightly movements as he runs on piers, practice tracks, and finally, in an international race. Oblivious to the clapping crowds and the flash of cameras, he knows full well that in the long run it is the cold stopwatch that tells the truth.
This short documentary offers a ringside view of the chuckwagon race, star attraction of the world-famous Calgary Stampede. Once ponderous Percheron and Clydesdale draught thundered around the course. Now they are racers, and it takes a firm hand to guide such horsepower.
This short documentary offers a look at Stampede Week in Calgary and the show’s main performers – the cowboys and their horses. After the herds come thundering in, the focus shifts to one cowboy in particular, and we follow him as he travels from rodeo to rodeo, always reaching for the grand prize on the back of a bucking bronco.
A film about the people of Saigon told through the experiences of 3 young American journalists who, in 1970, explored the consequences of war and of the American presence in Vietnam. It is not a film about the Vietnam War, but about the people who lived on the fringe of battle. The views of the city are arresting, but away from the shrines and the open-air markets lies another city, swollen with refugees and war orphans, where every inch of habitable space is coveted.
This feature documentary is a portrait of Herbert Norman, the Canadian ambassador to Egypt who leapt to his death in 1957. During his remarkable career, Norman had been a trusted aide of General MacArthur in post-war Japan and later played a key role in the Suez crisis. But for years, a US Senate subcommittee probed his past while the FBI accumulated a huge file on him, refusing to accept an RCMP investigation that cleared him of being a communist spy. Interviews with key players and dramatizations help reconstruct Herbert Norman's life.
This feature documentary is a fascinating and spirited portrait of the life and times of the legendary Quebec politician and four-time mayor of Montreal Camillien Houde. Using rare archival footage and interviews with ex-colleagues, aides and friends, the film presents a comprehensive profile of this incredible, and, to some, infamous, man.
This short documentary follows several refugee families during their first 19 days in Canada, as they navigate an unfamiliar terrain that has suddenly become their home. Located in the quiet Calgary neighbourhood of Bridgeland, the Margaret Chisholm Resettlement Centre is the starting point for government-assisted refugees who arrive in the city. During the 19-day timeline established by the federal government, an initial assessment is done and refugees are assisted with everything from airport reception and orientation to referrals, documents, and counselling.
19 Days reveals the human side of the refugee resettlement process. A unique look at the global migration crisis and one particular stage of asylum, it lays plain the realities faced on the difficult road towards integration.
A film showing how the introduction of jet travel changed traditional ideas of space and time. The jet pilot in this film sped from northern cold to tropical heat in only a few hours. The film is a dramatic illustration of how high speed-travel shrinks the world and brings people together.
In The Mountain of SGaana, Haida filmmaker Christopher Auchter spins a magical tale of a young man who is stolen away to the spirit world, and the young woman who rescues him. The film brilliantly combines traditional animation with formal elements of Haida art, and is based on a story inspired by a old Haida fable.