The Tibetan Book of the Dead is a two-part series that explores ancient teachings on death and dying. It was filmed over a four-month period on location in the Himalayas where the original text still yields an essential influence over people's views of life and death. The Great Liberation, is a docudrama which, in the company of an old Buddhist lama and a 13-year-old novice monk, leads us into the very foundations of Buddhist philosophy--the search for compassion and truth. Pema Choden, the lama, and Tubten, the young monk, read from the texts of The Tibetan Book of the Dead as they conduct the 49 days of final rites for a deceased Himalayan villager. We must all face the death of somebody we love, as well as our own death. This film helps us to prepare for these inevitabilities.
This two-part series explores ancient teachings on death and dying. It was filmed over a four-month period on location in the Himalayas where the original text still yields an essential influence over people's views of life and death. A Way of Life contains footage of the rites and liturgies surrounding and following the death of a Ladakhi elder. The Dalai Lama explains his own feelings about death, while other scenes within a palliative care hospice in San Francisco depicts the use of the texts to counsel dying AIDS patients. This film, by revealing ancient teachings on how to think about death and dying, can be a valuable source of counsel and comfort.
This feature documentary by renowned director and cinematographer Vic Sarin is a personal yet global investigation into the history and current state of colourism: the discrimination within one ethnicity based on differences in skin tone. Sarin travels the globe to discuss this complex cross-cultural social issue with individuals whose lives it affects, including a Filipina entrepreneur whose business has flourished within the billion-dollar skin-whitening industry. Hue leads viewers on a thoughtful and surprising journey to the heart of a painful and pervasive social issue that not only polices appearance, but also class, gender, and geography.
This short documentary follows Montreal filmmaker Eylem Kaftan as she travels to Turkey in an attempt to unravel the 30-year-old mystery of her aunt Guzide's murder. As she searches for clues and closure, she encounters antiquated customs in a Kurdish culture she's never known. She knows that her aunt was the victim of a senseless vendetta killing and as she ventures from village to village she pieces together the woman’s final days and closes in on the identity of her killer. Vendetta Song is produced by DLI Productions in co-production with the NFB.
In this documentary, we hear directly from francophone soldiers serving in the Royal 22e Régiment (known in English as “Van Doos”) who were filmed in the field in March 2011, during their deployment to Afghanistan. They speak simply and directly about their work, whether on patrol or performing their duties at the base. The film's images and interviews bring home the complexity of the issues on the ground and shed light on the little-understood experiences of the men and women who served in Afghanistan.
In this personal documentary, award-winning photographer and filmmaker Nance Ackerman invites us into the lives of a determined family for a profound experience of child poverty in one of the richest countries in the world. 20 years after the House of Commons promised to eliminate poverty among Canadian children, 8-year-old Isaiah is trying hard to grow up healthy, smart and well adjusted despite the odds stacked against him. Isaiah knows he's been categorized as "less fortunate," and his short life has seen more than his share of social workers, food banks and police interventions. His parents struggle to overcome a legacy of stereotypes, abuse and dysfunction. More than anything, they want Isaiah and his siblings to have access to opportunities they never had. Ackerman spent 2 years with Isaiah and his family. As her portrait of the family unfolds with the help of Isaiah's creative input, curiosity and zest for life, so do Ackerman's own feelings about the responsibilities of Canadians to raise all children as our best investment in the nation's future.
This feature-length documentary chronicles the Sundance ceremony brought to Eastern Canada by William Nevin of the Elsipogtog First Nation of the Mi'kmaq. Nevin learned from Elder Keith Chiefmoon of the Blackfoot Confederacy in Alberta. Under the July sky, participants in the Sundance ceremony go four days without food or water. Then they will pierce the flesh of their chests in an offering to the Creator. This event marks a transmission of culture and a link to the warrior traditions of the past.
Feminism has shaped the society we live in. But just how far has it brought us, and how relevant is it today? This feature documentary zeroes in on key concerns such as violence against women, access to abortion, and universal childcare, asking how much progress we have truly made on these issues. Rich with archival material and startling contemporary stories, Status Quo? uncovers answers that are provocative and at times shocking.
In a pounding critique of Canada's colonial history, this short film draws parallels between the annihilation of the bison in the 1890s and the devastation inflicted on the Indigenous population by the residential school system.This film is part of Souvenir, a series of four films addressing Indigenous identity and representation by reworking material in the NFB's archives.
This feature documentary follows Canadian actress Babz Chula to Kerala, India, where she is to undergo treatment by a renowned Ayurvedic healer in an effort to manage her 6-year battle with cancer. The bare-bones Indian clinic at first disappoints, but Babz is uplifted as her condition seemingly shows marked signs of improvement following treatment and introspection. Returning home, however, it is revealed that her cancer has actually advanced. Amazingly, the irrepressible actress invites filmmaker Anne Wheeler to continue bearing witness to her journey into the unknown.
In this feature documentary, 50 people decide to bare all about their personal lives and discuss a multitude of subjects on camera, ranging from funny anecdotes to heartbreaking experiences. From their stories emerges a human mosaic with which we can all identify, one that celebrates the diversity of human experience. This inventive, free-form ensemble film breathes new life into the documentary genre.
A feature documentary on Nigeria’s successful movie industry. The creative duo of Ben Addelman and Samir Mallal – the same team who made Discordia – profile the Lagos-based dream machine. Operating on low budgets and tight schedules, “Nollywood” specializes in a unique form of African B-movie that draws upon both traditional voodoo stories and contemporary urban themes.
Ages 15 to 17
Ethics and Religious Culture - Ethical Values
Family Studies/Home Economics - Feminism
History and Citizenship Education - Culture and Currents of Thought (1500-present)
Students will research the historical origins of Buddhism, as well as its spread and influence throughout Asia, and beyond. Advanced students can investigate the role of Buddhism in the modern world of developing economies, or the growing popularity of Buddhism in the West. Students of religious studies will do a comparative analysis of Buddhist philosophy and another religion. Integrating art and geography, students will research a famous Buddhist temple or monument and do an oral presentation with maps and other visual supports.