Ils sont originaires d’Algérie, du Cameroun, d’Iran, du Liban, de la Turquie. Ils résident au Québec depuis deux mois, deux ans ou douze ans. Au lac des castors, au-dessus des BBQ, ils se réunissent pour un repas familial, en pleine nature.
This feature documentary takes us to the heart of the Jane-Finch "Corridor" in the early 1980s. Covering six square blocks in Toronto's North York, the area readily evokes images of vandalism, high-density subsidized housing, racial tension, despair and crime. By focusing on the lives of several of the residents, many of them black or members of other visible minorities, the film provides a powerful view of a community that, contrary to its popular image, is working towards a more positive future.
A collaborative work made in the spirit of cinéma-vérité, St-Henri, the 26th of August was directed by Shannon Walsh and16 fellow documentary filmmakers. Chronicling life in a former working-class Montreal neighbourhood over a 24-hour period, St-Henri, the 26th of August follows several compelling stories and characters. The film is an homage to the 1962 Hubert Aquin classic À Saint-Henri le cinq septembre.
This documentary is a portrait of Point St. Charles, one of Montreal’s notoriously bleak neighbourhoods. Many of the residents are English-speaking and of Irish origin; many of them are also on welfare. Considered to be one of the toughest districts in all of Canada, Point St. Charles is poor in terms of community facilities, but still full of rich contrasts and high spirits – that is, most of the time.
Africville, a small black settlement, lay within the city limits of Halifax, Nova Scotia. In the 1960s, the families who lived there were uprooted and their homes demolished in the name of urban renewal and integration. Now, more than twenty years later, the site of the community of Africville is a stark, under-utilized park. Former residents, their descendants and some of the decision-makers, speak out and, with the help of archival photographs and films, tell the story of that painful relocation.
Just a stone’s throw from downtown Montreal is the largest social housing complex in Quebec. Built in 1959 where the red-light district used to be, Les Habitations Jeanne-Mance have retained something of the area’s seedy reputation for poverty, prostitution, drugs and violence. But who really knows the projects and the people who live there? Delving beneath the prejudices and stereotypes, director Isabelle Longtin ventured inside the buildings and met the residents. The result is The Downtown Project, a documentary that reveals a complex multi-ethnic reality made up of compelling personal stories and social movements.
This feature documentary presents a thoughtful and vivid portrait of a community facing imposed relocation. At the centre of the story is a remarkably astute and luminous 12-year-old black girl whose poignant observations about life, the soul, and the power of art give voice to those rarely heard in society. Unarmed Verses is a cinematic rendering of our universal need for self-expression and belonging.
This animated film about blind prejudice is based on a short story by Canadian author Wilma Riley. Mrs. Cherwak is Polish and owns a cow. Mrs. Meuser is a German with entrenched notions of cleanliness. She does not appreciate the cow's inevitable by-product. The film describes their conflict and its curious resolution over coffee and mincemeat pie. While the author chose to write about the Germans and the Poles she grew up with on the outskirts of Regina, the situation she describes could apply anywhere in the world.
This documentary examines the history and current reality of Toronto’s Flemingdon Park. Now a subsidized housing project, it was built in 1961 as a trendy urban utopia. A decade later it was sold, and Flemingdon became home to refugees and new immigrants. Once a model of urban planning, Flemingdon Park's flip side is a history of violence and racism that residents have fought to overcome. Yet despite challenges, the community succeeds in making people from around the world feel at home in a different kind of utopia–one where differences are celebrated and new visions are possible.
Julia Kwan’s feature-length documentary Everything Will Be captures a significant moment of time in Vancouver’s Chinatown, with the influx of condos and new, non-Chinese businesses. The film follows a year in the life of several Chinatown denizens, including a 90-year-old Chinese newspaper street vendor and a second-generation tea shop owner, as they navigate this community in flux.