This feature documentary is an inspired, genre-twisting film directed by Oscar®-nominee Sarah Polley. Polley's playful investigation into the elusive truth buried within the contradictions of a family of storytellers paints a touching and intriguing portrait of a complex network of relatives, friends, and strangers.
This short film pays tribute to director, screenwriter and actress Sarah Polley. Her latest film, Stories We Tell, a feature length documentary about her family history, premiered at the 2012 Venice Film Festival, then screened to unanimous acclaim at the Telluride Film Festival, the Toronto International Film Festival, and the Sundance Film Festival. It was called “a brilliant film: an enthralling, exquisitely layered masterpiece” by Maclean’s film critic Brian D. Johnson. Here, a whimsical, playful film tells the story of the kinds of stories Polley tells. Using humorous, simple line animation, the film comments on the messiness of life and art.
Produced by the NFB in co-operation with the National Arts Centre and the Governor General's Performing Arts Awards Foundation on the occasion of the 2013 Governor General's Performing Arts Awards.
The NFB’s 11th Academy-Award winning film. This short animation follows Kasper, a poet whose creative well has run dry, on a holiday to Norway to meet the famous writer Sigrid Undset. Kasper attempts to answer some pretty big questions: can we trace the chain of events that leads to our own birth? Is our existence just coincidence? Do little things matter? As Kasper's quest for inspiration unfolds, it appears that a spell of bad weather, an angry dog, slippery barn planks, a careless postman, hungry goats and other seemingly unrelated factors might play important roles in the big scheme of things after all.
This revealing portrait of NFB filmmaker Alanis Obomsawin was shown at a gala ceremony in 2008, where Obomsawin received the Governor General's Performing Arts Award for Lifetime Artistic Achievement. Her work has captured some of the most startling events in Canadian history, including the armed standoff between the Canadian Army and Mohawk warriors in 1993. Her films cross a spectrum of social issues, but they are always human. Obomsawin explains in the interview, "For me, a real documentary is when you're really listening to somebody; they are the ones that will tell you what the story is, not you."
The NFB’s 10th Academy-Award winning film.
This Oscar®-winning animated short from Chris Landreth is based on the life of Ryan Larkin, a Canadian animator who produced some of the most influential animated films of his time. Ryan is living every artist's worst nightmare - succumbing to addiction, panhandling on the streets to make ends meet. Through computer-generated characters, Landreth interviews his friend to shed light on his downward spiral. Some strong language. Viewer discretion is advised.
The NFB's 64th Oscar®-nominated film.
In this animated short, Ruby the pig seeks affirmation in the city around her after witnessing the accidental death of a stranger… and finds it in surprising places. With deft humour and finely rendered detail, When the Day Breaks illuminates the links that connect our urban lives, while evoking the promise and fragility of a new day. Winner of over 40 prizes from around the world, the film also features singer Martha Wainwright.
In this feature drama, a wife takes the courageous decision to leave her 5 children at home and accompany her husband on his yearly summer tour as an itinerant photographer. This despite housework, routine and 14 years of marriage having created a mutual indifference. They travel through a turn-of-the-century countryside of narrow lanes and old-time weddings, but most importantly, to an eventual rediscovery of each other.
This feature-length Oscar®-nominated documentary focuses on Malcolm Lowry, author of one of the major novels of the 20th century, Under the Volcano. But while Lowry fought a winning battle with words, he lost his battle with alcohol. Shot on location in four countries, the film combines photographs, readings by Richard Burton from the novel and interviews with the people who loved and hated Lowry, to create a vivid portrait of the man.
The NFB’s 7th Academy-Award winning film. This short film is comprised of a lecture given to students by outspoken nuclear critic Dr. Helen Caldicott, president of Physicians for Social Responsibility in the USA. Her message is clear: disarmament cannot be postponed. Archival footage of the bombing of Hiroshima and images of its survivors seven months after the attack heighten the urgency of her message.
With quiet intelligence and wry humour, retired documentary filmmaker Kathleen Shannon takes us through the arc of her life and career. Beginning with childhood, moving through her formative years, to her overwhelming desire to give women a chance to tell their stories, this film paints a vibrant portrait of one woman who blazed the way. It's a story of struggle, persistence, and success… and of course, of the NFB's Studio D.
*In theatres October 2012*
Oscar®-nominated director Sarah Polley offers up a genre-twisting film that playfully excavates layers of myth and memory to reveal the truth at the core of a family of storytellers. The film premieres at Venice Days film festival, followed by a Special Presentation at the Toronto International Film Festival in September.
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Ages 15 to 18
Family Studies/Home Economics - Family Diversity and Challenges
Health/Personal Development - Healthy Relationships
Media Education - Documentary Film
Through a unique documentary approach, Stories We Tell highlights the unreliability of memory. The film also questions whether we tell personal stories for others or for ourselves, and whether our stories remain authentic when we know we are being filmed. How much does Sarah Polley know about the story she is about to be “told” when she sets out to make the film? Sarah’s mother Diane is the one character who does not have a “voice” in the film: How does this situation affect the story? Content guide: Language, mature themes