This film recreates the true story of Tom Sukanen, an eccentric Finnish immigrant who homesteaded in Saskatchewan in the 1920s and 1930s. Sukanen spent ten years building and moving overland a huge iron ship that was to carry him back to his native Finland. The ship never reached water.
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.
In this drama, Lesia convinces her English-Canadian friend Sarah to perform a Ukrainian dance with her as part of their school's Christmas pageant. Sarah's father, angry at the growing number of Ukrainian settlers, won't allow his daughter to participate. Despite the prejudices of their parents, the girls' friendship remains strong, and they meet in Sarah's barn to celebrate Christmas Day together. Part of the Adventures in History series.
This drama tells the harrowing story of an immigrant family in the New World. On arrival in Canada, their hopes for a better life were dashed when immigration officials refused to grant entry to their daughter. During a routine medical examination it was found that Kasia had contracted an infectious eye disease. She is separated from her family and sent back to Europe alone.
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 drama portrays an immigrant family and the mingled feelings of hope and despair that characterize their life in a strange land. An Italian wife joins her husband in a large Canadian city. After two years in Canada the husband feels his dream of a better life is close to realization, but his wife feels that differences of language and custom are insurmountable. How such feelings are dispelled by simple gestures of friendship from Canadian-born neighbours gives a heartening conclusion to the film.
This documentary celebrates the vibrant culture and tenacious struggle of the Canadian Gypsy and introduces a new generation of Roma who claim their roots with pride. They call themselves by their rightful name, the Roma. Almost 80,000 call Canada home. Meet Julia Lovell, a passionate defender of Roma human rights, whose father is slowly gaining the confidence to reveal his heritage; and Karen Gray Boothroyd, a flamenco dancer just beginning to reclaim her Gypsy roots.
In this feature film, an engineer from Paris flies to Montreal (on Air Canada Flight YUL 871), partly on business, partly in search of parents displaced by World War II, and partly because of the prevailing restlessness of the age. He achieves little that is conclusive, but in the short time between his arrival and departure he has a love affair, enjoys a flight over Montreal and the Expo pavillions, and is adopted by a little girl.
For more background info on this film, visit the NFB.ca blog.
Claude Jutra's sweeping portrait of village life in 1940s Quebec has been called one of the greatest Canadian films of all time. Recalling a time when the local general store was the crossroads of life, the film illustrates the way a young boy sees the world and those closest to him – first through the eyes of a teenager, and later, as events change him, through the eyes of an adult. In French with English subtitles.
This short film is a dramatization of Canadian author W.O. Mitchell's penetrating story about the racial prejudice encountered by a Polish immigrant farmer in a rural Saskatchewan community. Presented with the incisiveness characteristic of Mitchell's Jake and the Kid radio series, this film story employs homespun events of a farming community to lay bare some universal truths about the unthinking discrimination practiced against a man who is different from his English-speaking fellow farmers.
Ages 12 to 18
Study Guide - Guide 1
Family Studies/Home Economics - Family Diversity and Challenges
Health/Personal Development - Mental Health/Stress/Suicide
History - Early Colonization/Settlement
History and Citizenship Education - Imperialism and Colonization (1800s-1900s)
Brief “lesson launcher type” activity or a series of inquiry questions with a bit of context:
A recreation of the story of Tom Sukanen, a Finnish man who spent 10 years making a ship to bring him back to Finland, which never reached the water. How would being separated from his wife and baby influence his desire to build this boat and continue over time? How might it have felt to be a Finnish immigrant in Saskatchewan during the 1920s? Conduct some research to determine how many immigrants came from Finland to Canada during this time period compared to today. Why do you think the numbers may have changed?