In this cinema vérité documentary, director Rosie Dransfeld captures the gritty and dangerous world of Edmonton's sex trade workers where, in a post-Pickton era, women now voluntarily provide police with DNA samples for future postmortem identification.
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.
This gripping documentary takes a powerful look at the lives of people with substance use disorder in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. Filmmaker Veronica Alice Mannix follows Constable Al Arsenault and six other police officers on their daily beat, documenting their unique relationships with people who speak candidly about their painful past experiences, their drug addiction, and life on the street.
This feature documentary explores the state of prostitution laws in Canada. It captures the complexity of the issue by listening to the frequently conflicting voices of sex workers, policy-makers, lawyers, and even the male buyers who make their argument for why prostitution is good for society. Warning: This film deals with mature subject matter. Viewer discretion is advised.
Following the release of Buying Sex, Professor Alan Young, counsel for the applicants in Bedford v. Canada and a participant in the film, contacted the NFB to complain that the film provides an incomplete and inaccurate account of the case. The NFB acknowledges that the constitutional challenge is not the focus of the film. Rather, the aim of the film is to examine the current controversy in Canada around the decriminalization of prostitution, of which the Bedford case is one aspect. The goal is to create a film which encourages Canadians to engage in an informed debate about sex work from a national and international perspective. The NFB believes the film achieves this purpose. In the spirit of furthering an informed debate on these issues, including the constitutional challenge, and in response to Prof. Young's concerns, the NFB provides below links to the legal briefs filed by the parties before the Supreme Court of Canada as well as links to the judgments of all three Canadian Courts. The third judgment, from the Supreme Court of Canada, was released in December 2013, following the completion of the film. The Supreme Court struck down as unconstitutional the three prostitution related laws challenged by Prof. Young, but suspended its judgment for one year to allow Parliament to consider whether to enact new laws, thus ensuring that the debate surrounding the decriminalization of prostitution will continue in Canada for some time.
Legal Briefs Filed by the Parties in the Supreme Court of Canada
Judgments from the Trial Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court of Canada
Canada (Attorney General) v. Bedford, 2013 SCC 72 (Supreme Court of Canada)
Canada (Attorney General) v. Bedford, 2012 ONCA 186 (Court of Appeal for Ontario)
Bedford v. Canada, 2010 ONSC 4264 (CanLII) (Superior Court of Ontario)
This short documentary offers an Indigenous perspective on the devastating experience of searching for a loved one who has disappeared. Volunteer activist Kyle Kematch and award-winning writer Katherena Vermette have both survived this heartbreak and share their histories with each other and the audience. While their stories are different, they both exemplify the beauty, grace, resilience, and activism born out of the need to do something.
For decades, Colombia has ranked first among countries in the number of social leaders assassinated. From 2002 to 2009, more than 470 leaders were killed by paramilitary militias in the pay of companies ready to do anything to crush the unions. Among these unscrupulous corporate brands were bottling plants of Coca-Cola company products.
These unpunished crimes spur U.S. activists Dan Kovalik, Terry Collingsworth and Ray Rogers into an ambitious crusade against the soft drink giant, accusing them of turning a blind eye to the misdeeds brought to their attention. By following the relentless efforts of this unshakeable trio, The Coca-Cola Case takes us on a fascinating legal road-movie, against a backdrop of denunciation campaigns claiming: Stop Killer Coke!
After five years of struggle, will Coca-Cola yield in the end? And on the verge of a settlement, what will the victims choose—cash, or power and integrity?
This feature documentary takes us through the twists and turns of judicial proceedings pitting Canadian mining companies Barrick Gold and Banro against author Alain Deneault, his co-writers and publisher Éditions Écosociété, following the 2008 release of the book Noir Canada, which raised troubling questions about the controversial practices of Canadian mining companies in Africa. Silence is Gold is a legal and political thriller that captures years of intense psychological tension.
This feature documentary tells the stories of 5 asylum seekers who flee their native countries to escape homophobic violence. They face hurdles integrating into Canada, fear deportation and anxiously await a decision that will change their lives forever.
This feature documentary profiles four residents of the Brockville Mental Health Centre, a forensic psychiatric hospital for people who have committed violent crimes. Four patients—two men and two women—struggle to gain control over their lives so they can return to a society that often fears and demonizes them. Shrouded in stigma, institutions like this one are places into which patients disappear from public view for years.
Four-time Emmy winner John Kastner was granted unprecedented access to the Brockville facility for 18 months, allowing 46 patients and 75 staff to share their experiences with stunning frankness.
For more background information on this film, please visit the NFB.ca blog.
Directed by John Kastner, this feature documentary about violence, mental illness, and the rights of victims tells the story of a troubled young man who stabbed a complete stranger 6 times in a crowded shopping mall while gripped by psychosis. Twelve years later, his victim, who miraculously survived, is terrified to learn that he’s out, living in the community under supervision. He’s applying for an absolute discharge, and if he succeeds, he’ll no longer be required to take the anti-psychotic drugs that control his mental illness. With unprecedented access to the patient, the victim, and the mental institution, the film looks at both sides of the debate and puts a human face on the complex ethical issues raised.
Acclaimed Métis filmmaker Christine Welsh brings us a compelling documentary that puts a human face on a national tragedy – the epidemic of missing or murdered Indigenous women in Canada. The film takes a journey into the heart of Indigenous women's experience, from Vancouver's skid row, down the Highway of Tears in northern BC, and on to Saskatoon, where the murders and disappearances of these women remain unsolved.
This short documentary investigates a perceived threat in the rural Maritimes following a deadly coyote attack in the Cape Breton wilderness. Locals react to the attack by concluding that a new super-species is infiltrating their communities: part coyote and part wolf. But is there any truth to this suspicion, or is the response the result of fear and rumours?
Ages 17 to 17
Health/Personal Development - Sexuality
Health/Personal Development - Substance Use and Abuse/Addiction
Media Education - Documentary Film
Social Studies - Contemporary Issues
Introduce the concept of cinema vérité, and explain why this film is an excellent example of this documentary style. Discuss Project Care in Edmonton, how it is set up, and its purpose. Discuss how registering with Project Care is of benefit both to the girls and to the police, and why some girls are wary of this initiative. Have students suggest ways in which prostitution could be made safer and explore the various reasons why girls might enter the sex trade.