World in a City is a portrait of Toronto and the steps Torontonians are taking to create a society that welcomes and encourages new immigrants to flourish. Join photographer Colin Boyd Shafer as he celebrates diversity in this short film, Canada’s contribution to the Big Cities project, an exciting international collaboration that uses documentary storytelling to outline both the challenges facing growing urban areas and the bold solutions to these ongoing problems. To view more of the films, visit LinkTV (here).
This feature documentary takes us to the heart of the Jane-Finch "Corridor" in the early 1980s. Covering six square blocks in Toronto's North York, the area readily evokes images of vandalism, high-density subsidized housing, racial tension, despair and crime. By focusing on the lives of several of the residents, many of them black or members of other visible minorities, the film provides a powerful view of a community that, contrary to its popular image, is working towards a more positive future.
This documentary examines the history and current reality of Toronto’s Flemingdon Park. Now a subsidized housing project, it was built in 1961 as a trendy urban utopia. A decade later it was sold, and Flemingdon became home to refugees and new immigrants. Once a model of urban planning, Flemingdon Park's flip side is a history of violence and racism that residents have fought to overcome. Yet despite challenges, the community succeeds in making people from around the world feel at home in a different kind of utopia–one where differences are celebrated and new visions are possible.
On the heels of the Toronto Raptors’ historic NBA Championship and the record-setting number of Canadian draft picks, the Toronto hoop dream is more alive than ever. In this feature-length doc, director Ryan Sidhoo shines the spotlight on 12-year-old Elijah Fisher, 15-year-old Keone Davis and 18-year-old Cordell Veira as they navigate today’s youth basketball machine in pursuit of their own NBA dreams.
This feature documentary presents a thoughtful and vivid portrait of a community facing imposed relocation. At the centre of the story is a remarkably astute and luminous 12-year-old black girl whose poignant observations about life, the soul, and the power of art give voice to those rarely heard in society. Unarmed Verses is a cinematic rendering of our universal need for self-expression and belonging.
This short documentary records Black activist Anne Cools’ 1978 run for the Liberal Party nomination in Rosedale, one of Toronto's largest and socially most diverse federal ridings. The film records her bid for political power, and explains the nomination contest, a basic step in the Canadian electoral process. Because she was competing against the Liberal Party's preferred candidate, the nomination battle in Rosedale turned into one of the most innovative and fascinating in the history of Canadian politics.
This short documentary focuses on Toronto's Dufferin Grove Park - home to a playground, ice rinks, an organic farmer's market, a theatre troupe and numerous cultural activities. But when city inspectors raid the park on Christmas Eve and discover huge puppets, a baking oven and kitchen sharing the park's dedicated Zamboni building, the flourishing neighbourhood group is threatened with evacuation. This is a tongue-in-cheek look at what happens when a small community, including some wily puppets, takes on city hall.
This short documentary is part of a series hosted by American historian, sociologist, philosopher of technology, and literary critic Lewis Mumford, who was particularly noted for his study of cities and urban architecture. In this episode, Mumford meditates on the “ugly and savagely debased surroundings” of the industrial cities that sprung up in formerly empty rural areas during the Industrial Revolution. Mumford juxtaposes the squalor of the working poor with the relative safety and security of the wealthy. He asks what can be done to address “the spirit of social hopelessness” that thrives in the overcrowded slums where a city’s poorest residents live.
This short documentary is part of a series hosted by American historian, sociologist, philosopher of technology, and literary critic Lewis Mumford, who was particularly noted for his study of cities and urban architecture. This episode explores the tension and mutual dependence of urban and rural areas. History shows that cities thrive best when they live in harmony and balance with the countryside. How can this balance be maintained or restored in sprawling metropolitan regions? The film is a revealing portrait of the discourses of urbanization that were circulating in the middle of the 20th century, including the development of what we know today as the suburbs.
This documentary tells the story of a young man’s struggle to balance his African traditions and new Canadian home. Arinze Eze was born in Canada and raised in Nigeria. An engineer by trade, he returned to his birthplace after 20 years. There, he starts a new career in the arts and falls in love with Canadian woman. All is well until his parents come for a visit. How will they react to this new life?
The NFB's 31st Oscar®-nominated film.
This film is a revealing portrait of a tough cop with a big heart. Sergeant Bernie "Whistling" Smith walks the beat on Vancouver's Eastside, the hangout of petty criminals, down-and-outs and a variety of characters. His policing is unorthodox. To many drug users, petty thieves and prostitutes in this economically depressed area he is more than the iron hand of the law, he is also a counsellor and a friend.
This feature documentary studies one of the city’s most visible yet most anonymous character: the taxi driver. Filmed by day and night, the film offers an entertaining and sometimes comical look at the drivers, fleet operators and dispatchers who are expected to deliver passengers, parcels… and even babies.