This feature documentary is a portrait of Peter Watkins, an Oscar®-winning British filmmaker who, for the past 4 decades, has proved that films can be made without compromise. With the proliferation of TV channels, documentaries are enjoying an unprecedented boom fuelled by audiences seeking an alternative to infotainment. But now documentary filmmaking, too, finds itself constrained by the imperatives of television. However, there is a rebel resisting this uniformity of the spirit. Pre-eminent among today's documentary filmmakers concerned about this mind-numbing standardization, Peter Watkins has never strayed from either his principles or the cause.
This short live-action comedy satirizing TV's violent ways tells the story of 4 children who go searching for their school’s 2 missing turtles. In this task, the children are assisted by a television set that morphs to life as a goofy action superhero. As the search progresses, the children discover that TV solutions and real-life solutions don't always mix. When the kids take charge and use their own wits, the turtle mystery is solved in a jiffy.
This funny yet serious short film demonstrates the effectiveness of advertising and the marketing machine. Its comic appeal lies in the characters and the absurd situations they find themselves in, but it also shines a harsh light on our tendency towards needless consumerism prompted by a steady flow of commercials.
This animated short is an entertaining and incisive satire on some of the material that is disgorged via the "boob tube." The opening pitch of the television salesman establishes the tone of this pithy film: a solid-state model guarantees high-quality entertainment, and programs are always designed around products, not spectators.
This short fictional film is a zany spoof of TV content with plenty of violence borrowed from the very source it seeks to parody. Our protagonist is a housewife who has lost her family to the television set. Suddenly, her home is invaded and her life is taken over by characters that seem to spring from the V screen. Initially, she attempts to get the intruders out of her house. But eventually, she begins to see that perhaps a life on TV wouldn’t be so bad after all. Will her distracted husband even notice her departure?
This film is a collection of 1-minute cartoons produced by NFB animators for government sponsors. Showcasing a playful selection of animation techniques, the clips include reminders about television programs, traffic safety rules, and admonitions from the Department of Labour.
This feature-length documentary examines the reality of New York City in the 1970s, a place that had become a symbol of urban disaster. The 2 projects profiled attempt to tackle the problem of America’s biggest city: in a dilapidated part of the Bronx, a co-operative citizens’ movement tries to rejuvenate urban life; and WNET-TV uses its programming as an open forum for the public debate on urban issues.
A film report of the hearings of the United States Senate Subcommittee on Communications investigating the effects of television violence. An NFB crew recorded the four days of intensive debate in Washington, where representations were made by the three major networks, the Surgeon General of the United States, independent scientists, and representatives of concerned parent groups. The hearings established that there is a correlation between violence on the screen and violence in real life.
This feature film is a portrait of John Grierson, the first Canadian Government Film Commissioner and founder of the National Film Board in 1939. Interweaving archival footage, interviews with people who knew him and footage of Grierson himself, this film is a sensitive and informative portrait of a dynamic man of vision.
Grierson believed that the filmmaker had a social responsibility, and that film could help a society realize democratic ideals. His absolute faith in the value of capturing the drama of everyday life was to influence generations of filmmakers all over the world. In fact, he coined the term "documentary film."
This full-length documentary from the Challenge for Change program addresses housing issues affecting Montreal in the mid-1970s. As the city is restoring older apartments through direct action and government subsidies, new, low-rent housing is being integrated into old neighborhoods.
This feature-length documentary traces the journey of the Haisla people to reclaim the G'psgolox totem pole that went missing from their British Columbia village in 1929. The fate of the 19th century traditional mortuary pole remained unknown for over 60 years until it was discovered in a Stockholm museum where it is considered state property by the Swedish government.Director Gil Cardinal combines interviews, striking imagery and rare footage of master carvers to raise questions about ownership and the meaning of Indigenous objects held in museums.
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.
Ages 16 to 17
Family Studies/Home Economics - Feminism
History and Citizenship Education - Culture and Currents of Thought (1500-present)
Discuss the concept of "the universal clock" as it pertains to television filmmaking. Suggest reasons why the universal clock has become the industry standard for television programming. Comment on the benefits and drawbacks of the universal clock. Elaborate on Peter Watkins' philosophy regarding the constraints imposed on the television filmmaking process. Revisit the scenes from Watkins' film, La Commune. Comment on his production style.