What is fatphobia and what can be done to overcome it? With poetic illustrations and painful, compelling testimony, Tales of Ordinary Fatphobia offers multiple examples of the psychological effects of weight-based discrimination and bullying on adolescent girls.
This documentary follows Rick Zakowich as he faces his lifelong struggles with his weight and body image. Child therapist by day and blues singer by night, Rick's charisma and talent are undeniable, yet he remains fixed within the definition of a narrow label. The film takes on appearance-based oppression and fat-shaming by examining the ways in which society treats people whose bodies don’t necessarily match a narrow, unrealistic ideal of attractiveness. Instead of losing weight, Rick gains valuable insight, transformative new friendships, and a profound sense of self-confidence.
This short film from 1948 introduces Canadians to the Physical Fitness Act and the birth of the National Physical Fitness Council and Office. Through the federal government, provinces and communities assisted in the building of recreation centres and playgrounds, with the aim of creating a healthier and better-adjusted population.
Some dreamers have the power to inspire us, bring us together, and help us reconnect with our humanity. Alain Philoctète, a Haitian artist and activist who settled in Quebec, returns to the country of his birth to develop a permaculture project with local farmers. There, he has an emotional reunion with family members and his former comrades in arms, whose ideals remain unshaken despite the lingering aftermath of the 2010 earthquake and political instability. However, Alain, who is suffering from cancer, has to undergo treatment in Montreal, where his loved ones provide the same degree of affection and solidarity as he receives in Haiti. Director Will Prosper films this inspiring dreamer on his hopeful quest, chronicling the challenges of exile and illness with the personal, knowing touch of a longtime friend. With a rich score composed by Jenny Salgado, Kenbe la, Until We Win offers a cinematic journey that will move viewers to ponder the importance of embracing ideals and passing them on.
This short film follows a group of teenage boys eager to emulate the muscle-filled bodies of their media heroes. Revealing the lengths these boys are willing to go to achieve their goal, this film explores the use of supplements and the temptations of steroids. The boys relate their experiences, desires and motivations to the audience, who are left to draw their own conclusions.
The film is designed to provoke discussion among teenagers about body image and where lines should be drawn between healthy and dangerous behaviour.
This documentary focuses on the Yukon's Far North, where 280 Aboriginal people live in the village of Old Crow. Deep in this wilderness, the health of the children is a source of concern—the rise in obesity, diabetes and delinquency rates underscores the extent to which health and social problems are linked. With compassion and insight, this film shows how a handful of parents took control of a situation to ensure a future for their children.
This feature-length documentary follows a man as he sheds nearly half his body weight (63.5 kg) by complete starvation under hospital observation. The film explores what brought him to so desperate a course and catalogues what actions other overweight people are taking, singly or in groups, to reduce to healthier proportions. Medical authorities comment on some misconceptions and malpractices of the slimming industry.
Into the Light features the liberating life stories and powerful words of inspiring Quebec women of African origin who’ve regained control over their lives after suffering from domestic violence. The film transcends prejudice and breaks the silence, pulling back the curtain on a poorly understood, hidden world, while testifying to the tremendous power that comes from overcoming isolation and accepting one’s self. It’s a luminous dive into the quest for personal healing and universal humanity. This is Togo-born director Gentille M. Assih’s third documentary.
Consult the mini-lesson to find activities designed to help teachers lead discussions in the classroom.
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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.
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 feature-length documentary explores the diabetes epidemic within Indigenous communities in Canada. Ojibway filmmaker Brion Whitford lives with the pain of advanced diabetes, but shunned traditional Indigenous medicine and healing practices. But as his health deteriorated, he had a change of heart. Join Brion as he connects with his culture, comes to grips with his own mortality, and tries to re-establish balance in his life.
Ages 15 to 18
Study Guide - Guide 1
Health/Personal Development - Bullying & Discrimination
Health/Personal Development - Human Growth and Development
Health/Personal Development - Mental Health/Stress/Suicide
Guiding Question: Think critically about how we perceive people based on looks alone. How might these judgements limit our thinking, and what can we do to change our thinking and the thinking of others?
Before watching the film, ask students to take a moment to think about their own biases towards people of size. What do they think about these people? Do they have any prejudices towards them? Are there any larger people in their circle and how do they see themselves? Are they preoccupied by their physical appearance?