Discover Newfoundland and Labrador—from its big cities and rural areas to its small towns and remote communities—through a selection of films that shines a spotlight on the province’s hidden treasures and fascinating characters. Suitable for both primary and secondary level students, this playlist includes animated and documentary films. These seminal works from our collection address the topics that matter most, ranging from historical subjects to the most pressing issues of the day.
In the stark Labrador interior, a growing number of Filipino workers have recently landed in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, travelling halfway around the world for jobs they hope will offer their families new opportunities and a better life. Becoming Labrador follows a handful of those women and men as they make a place for themselves in Labrador while dealing with the unexpected costs of living far from their family.
Set in the coldest waters surrounding Newfoundland’s rugged Fogo Island, this short film follows a group of “people of the fish”—traditional fishers who catch cod live by hand, one at a time, by hook and line. Filmmaker Justin Simms takes viewers deep inside the world of these brave fishermen. Travel with them from the early morning hours, spend time on the ocean, and witness the intricacies of a 500-year-old tradition that’s making a comeback.
In March 1914, the Newfoundland set sail from Wesleyville, taking 132 men out sealing. Miles from shore, the ship got stuck in the ice so the men went over the side to walk to the sealing ground. When a terrible storm struck, they were stranded. It took rescuers 3 days to arrive; by then, 78 men were dead and another 9 missing. This tragic story is told through the words of men who were there and the haunting prints of David Blackwood.
This short documentary tells the story the once-thriving town of Okak, an Inuit settlement on the northern Labrador coast. Moravian missionaries evangelized the coast and encouraged the growth of Inuit settlements, but it was also a Moravian ship that brought the deadly Spanish influenza during the world epidemic of 1919. The Inuit of the area were decimated, and Okak was abandoned. Through diaries, old photos and interviews with survivors, this film relates the story of the epidemic and examines the relations between natives and missionaries.
Danny Williams was the charismatic and unflinching Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador from 2003 to 2010. By the time he left office, he had become the most popular—and controversial—Canadian politician of his era.
Laced with humour and revealing back-room anecdotes, Danny is the story of how Williams turned a “have not” into a “have” province. Known as a fighter, Williams famously took on prime ministers and Big Oil to ensure that benefits from the province’s abundant natural resources flowed back to its people. His mantra “no more giveaways” was key to his unprecedented popularity, but pride in his province made Williams a hero to its people.
A documentary about Nain, a Labrador Inuit community located near the world’s largest nickel and copper deposits. As commercial mining interests prepare to exploit the resources, local residents consider the potential environmental and cultural impact. Meanwhile longstanding Aboriginal land claims are unsettled.
This animated short tells the story of a ferocious polar bear turned to stone by an Inuk shaman. The tale is based on emerging filmmaker Echo Henoche's favourite legend, as told to her by her grandfather in her home community of Nain, Nunatsiavut, on Labrador's North Coast. Hand-drawn and painted by Henoche in a style all her own, Shaman is the first collaboration between the Labrador artist and the NFB.
This 1950s account of the Newfoundland fishing industry shows equipment and methods of fishing. The film also documents the processing and marketing of fish. A record of the problems confronting fishermen in Newfoundland during the past, it also serves as a comparison with present-day Newfoundland fishing.
This short animation is a remarkably vivid account of the 1914 tragedy in which 132 men were stranded on the ice during a severe snowstorm off the coast of Newfoundland. 78 men froze to death on the pack ice. In the spring of 1914, the last of the wooden seal hunting ships in a steel-dominated industry was the Newfoundland, manned by men from across the province. The ship was unable to reach a seal pack due to its lack of ice-breaking power, and 132 men were ordered off the boat and onto the ice to hunt. The ship had no radio equipment, and the men spent two unbearable nights on the ice. Survivor testimony, striking archival materials, weather visualizations, inventive animation and puppetry are seamlessly blended to recreate this harrowing ordeal.
This feature documentary is a thoughtful contribution to the debate on Canada's seal hunt. An exploration of the unique culture of Newfoundland's outports, the film revisits the PR coup that launched the animal rights movement onto the international stage: the 1977 Newfoundland visit, orchestrated by the International Fund for Animal Welfare, of French actress turned animal rights activist Brigitte Bardot to protest the area's ancestral sealing activities. Soon, inhabitants of the island's northern outports we're being introduced to the world as the epitome of brutality.
It was a way of life. It was the backbone of a society. And then the cod fishery off the east coast of Newfoundland collapsed. Taking Stock traces the history leading up to the crisis and the calling for a moratorium of the northwest Atlantic cod fishery. It presents the key players in this complex and tragic story, focusing on those who are now trying to come to grips with an uncertain future. How did the calamity happen? What signals did we ignore? Did we chose the right model in setting up an industry? Ultimately, Taking Stock holds a message for the Canadian as well as the global community: In trying to attain economic success, we must recognize that there are limits to how far we can exploit nature's delicate ecosystems.
Torn between the world of their childhood and the world where they must now live and work, two flamboyant Newfoundlanders pay a nostalgic visit to the deserted outport where they were born. This is their story, and the story of so many others who, like them, became victims of the Newfoundland government's controversial Resettlement Program.
This short documentary features Newfoundland fisherman Billy Crane, who speaks frankly on the state of the inshore fishery and how the lack of government support has contributed to the industry’s downfall. He is being forced to leave home to seek employment in Toronto. This film was made with the Challenge for Change program.