Through the internet, Ling has arranged for herself a "mock marriage" to a gay man, to conceal her lesbian identity from her parents, with whom she lives in a highrise apartment in Guangzhou, China's 3rd largest city.
This feature documentary is a candid journey into the world of 4 young Canadian women who work as well-paid hostesses in exclusive Japanese nightclubs. Lured by adventure and easy money, these modern-day geisha find themselves caught up in the mizu shobai—the complex "floating water world" of Tokyo clubs and bars. Drawn by fast money, some women become consumed by the lavish lifestyle and forget why they came; one hostess calls this "losing the plot." With a pulsating visual style, Tokyo Girls captures the raw energy of urban Japan and its fascination with the new.
Women have always sought ways to terminate unwanted pregnancies, despite powerful patriarchal structures and systems working against them. This film provides a historical overview of how church, state and the medical establishment have determined policies concerning abortion. From this cross-cultural survey--filmed in Ireland, Japan, Thailand, Peru, Colombia, and Canada--emerges one reality: only a small percentage of the world's women has access to safe, legal operations.
In the first installment, "Mud" traces the historical roots of the residential highrise, from the biblical Tower of Babel to the tenement buildings of New York. The film is narrated by singer-songwriter Feist, and is directed by Katerina Cizek in collaboration with the New York Times em>.
This short film from the Filmmaker-in-Residence project puts a human face on the statistics in the Street Health 2007 Report. Four photographers who have experienced homelessness - Adrienne, Jess, Keneisha, and Meghan - document the stories of 28 homeless men and women through audio recordings and portrait-photography.
This short film charts the Filmmaker-in-Residence project's five-year history, investigating the creative process from within as media makers join health care workers to reflect on ethics, interventionist filmmaking and shifting cinematic genres. Intricate, difficult and delicate situations come alive in this documentary, featuring seven distinct yet interconnected experiments in collaborative media.
In the third installment, "Glass" examines the recent proliferation of luxury condos and the growing segregation between the rich and poor. The film is narrated by the singer-songwriter of Cold Specks, and is directed by Katerina Cizek in collaboration with the New York Times em>.
In the second installment, "Concrete" explores how, in New York City and globally, residential high-rises and public housing attempted to foster social equality in the 20th century. The film is narrated and directed by Katerina Cizek in collaboration with the New York Times em>.
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."
This short documentary follows a group therapy workshop for people who have attempted to end their lives more than once. A hybrid of vérité and animation, the film is a candid portrayal of 12 people who together, for 20 weeks, take on their fears, their behaviours and their ghosts to move towards life and away from suicide.
Drawing from Life is a production of the National Film Board of Canada's Filmmaker-in-Residence project, produced with the creative participation of Seneca College of Applied Arts & Technology, Animation Arts Centre.
In the final installment, "Home" consists of images from New York Times readers, who submitted personal pictures of their lives in high-rises from around the world. Montreal musician Patrick Watson wrote the music for the film.
This short documentary offers an intimate portrait of two women in their mid-sixties—one homosexual, the other heterosexual—whose love for one another and the music they create together transcends differences. Florence and Shirley's lifelong attachment is a heartwarming connection that defies categorization.