Director Mirjam Leuze’s The Whale and the Raven illuminates the many issues that have drawn whale researchers, the Gitga’at First Nation, and the Government of British Columbia into a complex conflict. As the people in the Great Bear Rainforest struggle to protect their territory against the pressure and promise of the gas industry, caught in between are the countless beings that call this place home.
In his new feature documentary Borealis, acclaimed director Kevin McMahon (Waterlife) travels deep into the heart of the boreal forest to explore the chorus of life in Canada’s iconic wilderness. How do trees move, communicate and survive the destructive forces of fire, insects, and human encroachment? Borealis offers an immersive portrait of the lifecycles of the forest from the perspective of the plants and animals that live there.
Deep in the Great Bear Rainforest, against the backdrop of British Columbia’s breathtaking wilderness, a former hunter comes to terms with his past and looks with hope towards the future. Exploring one man’s evolving relationship with the natural world, Way of the Hunter tells the compelling story of Robert Moberg, a hunter who ultimately traded his gun for a camera.
In this feature-length documentary, husband and wife team Karsten Heuer (wildlife biologist) and Leanne Allison (environmentalist) follow a herd of 120,000 caribou on foot across 1500 km of Arctic tundra. In following the herd's migration, the couple hopes to raise awareness of the threats to the caribou's survival. Along the way they brave Arctic weather, icy rivers, hordes of mosquitoes and a very hungry grizzly bear. Dramatic footage and video diaries combine to provide an intimate perspective of an epic expedition.
This film explores the special connection that Poplar River First Nation has to the lands and waters surrounding their community. Poplar River community members Sophia Rabliauskas and Clint Bittern share their perspectives on the importance and intergenerational responsibility of protecting the lands and waters in their territory for generations to come.
When Jennifer Abbott lost her sister to cancer, her sorrow opened her up to the profound gravity of climate breakdown. Abbott’s new documentary The Magnitude of All Things draws intimate parallels between the experiences of grief—both personal and planetary. Stories from the frontlines of climate change merge with recollections from the filmmaker’s childhood on Ontario’s Georgian Bay. What do these stories have in common? The answer, surprisingly, is everything. For the people featured, climate change is not happening in the distant future: it is kicking down the front door. Battles waged, lamentations of loss, and raw testimony coalesce into an extraordinary tapestry, woven together with raw emotion and staggering beauty that transform darkness into light, grief into action.
Kamala Todd's short film is a lyrical portrait of Cease Wyss, of the Squamish Nation. Wyss is a woman who understands the remarkable healing powers of the plants growing all over downtown Vancouver. Whether it's the secret curl of a fiddlehead, or the gentleness of comfrey, plants carry ageless wisdom with them, communicated through colour, texture, and form. Wyss has been listening to this unspoken language and is now passing this ancient and intimate connection down to her own daughter, Senaqwila.
This film tells the story of the Whiteways of Matheson Island, who for generations have depended on commercial fishing as a means of survival and livelihood. The Whiteways share their devotion to their fishing lifestyle and the fulfillment and freedom it provides, as well as various challenges that arise due to factors such as health, government policy and the threatened future of the fishing industry.
Montreal’s Biodome, one of the most popular attractions in the city, features a microcosm of the Earth’s major ecosystems, from tropical rainforest to the Arctic. This feature-length doc shows the enthusiasm brought to the last stages of this undertaking and the magnitude of the challenge met by a young team of scientists who planned this unusual nature museum, home to thousands of animals and plants.
Ages 10 to 18
Civics/Citizenship - Human Rights
Geography - Environmental Issues
Geography - Territory: Indigenous
Indigenous Studies - Identity/Society
Brief “lesson launcher type” activity or a series of inquiry questions with a bit of context:
This documentary explores the relationship of the Gitga’at First Nations peoples of British Columbia with the land, the whales and the scientists who study the whales in their territory. Touches on the struggles of maintaining land sovereignty while companies try to build oil pipelines and hunters try to take from the land. There is a poignant retelling of a Gitga’at story involving whales. Explain the significance of the story. Does it remind you of other stories or fables you have heard? What is unique about this type of storytelling? Read or listen to other stories from Indigenous Peoples and compare the style, subject matter and message of the stories. What is it about whales that is fascinating to so many different people in this documentary? What are the various threats that whales face? What threats does the Gitga’at community face? What rules should there be to regulate the ability of large corporations to build pipelines and oil-processing plants in small communities like Hartley Bay?