They live on our waste, on what we leave behind. Once called guenillous (beggars), they’re now known as scrappeurs—or, more nobly, recycleurs. Denis is one of them, prospecting by bicycle around his neighbourhood, sifting through garbage looking for things to sell: used furniture, crippled toys, trinkets, scrap metal and a myriad other cast-off items that, for him, are the gold he survives on. He’s surrounded by a network of colleagues, customers and friends: a woman who collects old dolls; Roger, who makes bracelets; Jean-Claude, who makes a decent living by picking up scrap metal in his truck; and two youngsters, Yannick and Sébastien. As we follow Denis in his efforts to buy a truck, we enter a parallel universe of hardworking folk who consider freedom the most important wage they earn.
This feature documentary is an exploration of the concept of dirt and impurity. From the slums of Kolkata to Vancouver's Downtown Eastside to a barbeque joint in Central Texas, Dirt digs deep into the webs of meaning and feeling attached to that deceptively simple 4-letter word. An odyssey into all things unclean, the film features animation to make Hieronymus Bosch blush and music from Godspeed You! Black Emperor.
In this short documentary from conservationist Bill Mason, he illustrates that although the Great Lakes have had their ups and downs, nothing has been harder to take than what humans have done to them lately. In the film, a lone canoeist lives through the changes of geological history, through Ice Age and flood, only to find himself in the end trapped in a sea of scum.
In this short documentary, a group of pupils aged 8 to 13 embark on a school project to find out all they can about garbage and its impact on the environment. The places they visit tell us a lot about the society we live in and about ecology, cities, art and history.
Water functions as a willing worker, shaping the land, shifting earth or rock, carrying the food by which plants survive, and so supporting other forms of life. This film is designed primarily to show the astonishing utility of this common substance, but it also shows the beauty of water in movement, from raindrops pelting the earth to the mighty cataract of Niagara.
This colourful short animation tells the tale of a mythical universe whose existence is threatened by the arrival of unthinking and uncaring visitors. From Oscar®-nominated animator Ishu Patel comes a thought-provoking metaphor for our times: a cautionary tale with a pro-environmental theme.
In this feature documentary, 6 student activists visit 36 Canadian towns to take on one giant corporation. Filmed over 2 summers, these young crusaders (plus a gonzo journalist) try to raise public awareness about Wal-Mart's business practices and their effect on cities and towns across Canada. With youthful passion and often hilarious cultural jams, this film takes us to the frontlines of the ongoing debate over the company's increasing dominance in the Canadian retail market.
In this short fiction film, Estelle, the scientist in charge of a research project on water, is getting ready for a conference with the help of her "intelligent" satellite Zenon. But a teenage hacker has found an illegal way to consult Zenon's files. Things look very bad when the hacker accidentally infects Zenon with a virulent computer virus.
This short documentary profiles a community engaged in developing sustainable living methods, including food production and small-scale solar and wind technology, on a farm in Massachusetts in the 1970s. Well before sustainability was a mainstream concern, these prescient innovators attempted to create a vision of a greener, kinder world. "Think small," say the New Alchemists. "Look what thinking big has done."
This experimental animated short takes a critical look at consumerism in a material world. Thousands of cut-out ads are presented in increasingly fragmented, rapid succession. The film's disorienting and hectic pace seeks to interrogate the extent to which seductive advertising is a shockingly strong force in shaping our desires, needs, and lives in contemporary capitalism.