Discover Saskatchewan—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.
On August 9, 2016, a young Cree man named Colten Boushie died from a gunshot to the back of his head after entering Gerald Stanley’s rural property with his friends. The jury’s subsequent acquittal of Stanley captured international attention, raising questions about racism embedded within Canada’s legal system and propelling Colten’s family to national and international stages in their pursuit of justice. Sensitively directed by Tasha Hubbard, nîpawistamâsowin: We Will Stand Up weaves a profound narrative encompassing the filmmaker’s own adoption, the stark history of colonialism on the Prairies, and a vision of a future where Indigenous children can live safely on their homelands. See the full version here.
This short animation film tells the story of a family road trip across the Canadian prairies set in the 1970s. In an era before in-car movies and video games, 4 sisters squeeze into the back of the family car for a long journey. While the parents keep a steady watch on the road ahead, restlessness gradually gives way to mayhem in the car’s close quarters. Just before the ride becomes unbearable, the sisters are inspired to combine their creative energy and the big drive becomes an even bigger adventure.
This feature documentary traces the political career of T.C. (Tommy) Douglas, former premier of Saskatchewan and leader of the New Democratic Party, who was voted the Greatest Canadian in 2004 for his devotion to social causes, his charm and his powers of persuasion. Known as the "Father of Medicare," this one-time champion boxer and fiery preacher entered politics in the 1930s and never looked back.
“When you don’t know your language or your culture, you don’t know who you are,” says 69-year-old Armand McArthur, one of the last fluent Nakota speakers in Pheasant Rump First Nation, Treaty 4 territory, in southern Saskatchewan. Through the wisdom of his words, Armand is committed to revitalizing his language and culture for his community and future generations.
In this layered short film, filmmaker Janine Windolph takes her young sons fishing with their kokum (grandmother), a residential school survivor who retains a deep knowledge and memory of the land. The act of reconnecting with their homeland is a cultural and familial healing journey for the boys, who are growing up in the city. It’s also a powerful form of resistance for the women.
- Q&A with filmmaker Janine Windolph
- Journey of Indigenous Peoples as Told By Indigenous Women Filmmakers Playlist
Saskatoon’s Mobile Crisis Centre provides 24/7 crisis resolution to people in distress. Its workers take calls from individuals in unpredictable and urgent situations, and respond in person when help is needed most. For almost 40 years, this non-profit organization has been answering to the needs of its small prairie city, confidentially addressing a wide range of issues, from suicide prevention to child abuse. As frontline responders in conjunction with police, social services and emergency healthcare providers, they are a vital part of a community that depends on them day and night. Director Eric Thiessen captures the behind-the-scenes experiences of the crisis centre’s staff, crafting a compelling observational portrait of a critically needed but largely unknown service.
This powerful short documentary showing Indigenous youth resistance and emerging voices that will continue to define the landscape of Indigenous cultural and political activism for the next generation. Members of the National Youth Council, including Duke Redbird and Harold Cardinal, have a powerful exchange with a hostile white priest about the failures of the education system in relation to Indigenous people. The group tackles issues including segregated residential schools, the denial of citizenship rights, loss of language, and mass incarceration, many of which persist or continue to be stumbling blocks in the relationship between Indigenous people and the Government of Canada today.
This short documentary from The Grasslands Project zooms in on the Prairies' francophone minority. The southern Prairies are overwhelmingly anglophone, yet a strong and vibrant francophone population persists in the small rural communities that dot this landscape. Gravelbourg is considered the centre of French language and culture in the region, and this short film hears from the Fransaskois (a term combining French and Saskatchewan) on the challenges and future of their unique prairie culture.
Part one of a 2-part documentary examining Canada's national health insurance system, from its conception on the Canadian Prairies in the early part of the 20th century to its present state of crisis. This first part traces the events leading to July 2, 1962, the day on which Medicare was launched in Saskatchewan. The doctors reacted to the plan by declaring a general strike. The film recreates this stormy chapter of history through film and television archives and personal testimonies, particularly those of former Saskatchewan premier Tommy Douglas and Chief Justice Emmett Hall.
Bareback bronc riding is not for the faint of heart. The risk of serious and possibly fatal injury looms with each buck and kick. For Liam Marshall, it’s a thrill he’s always known growing up in the Big Muddy Valley, in rural Saskatchewan. Training to compete and become a bareback champion requires his complete focus. It’s clear that it fills his every waking moment (when he’s not checking his cellphone). Surrounded by family and providing inspiration to his three younger brothers, this brave teenager holds on tight to a tradition that’s been passed down through generations.
It's high summer in southern Saskatchewan and a rollicking tune fills the night. Four master Metis fiddlers play to the tapping toes of a lively crowd.
How the Fiddle Flows follows Canada's great rivers west along the fur-trading route of the early Europeans. The newcomers introduced the fiddle to the Aboriginal people they intermarried with along the way. A generation later, their mixed-blood offspring would blend European folk tunes with First Nations rhythms to create a rich and distinct musical tradition.
From the Gaspé Peninsula, north to Hudson Bay and to the Prairies, How the Fiddle Flows reveals how a distinctive Metis identity and culture were shaped over time. Featuring soaring performances by some of Canada's best known fiddlers and step dancers and narrated by award-winning actress Tantoo Cardinal.
In this first episode from the Wapos Bay series, Talon and his cousin T-Bear play on the same hockey team, but their relationship becomes strained when they both try to win the attention of Melanie, a girl on an opposing team. Meanwhile, Raven is having a little too much fun and not helping her grandmother prepare the Kohkum/Granddaughter bannock competition at the Festival. Frustrated by waiting for her granddaughter to help out, Kohkum quits preparing for the contest. The 3 children acquire some valuable lessons with the help of Kohkum and Mushom, Raven's grandfather. T-Bear learns how to be a team player, and Raven is determined to compete in the contest.
Wapos Bay is a Gemini Award-winning stop-motion animation series that follows the adventures of 3 kids from a Cree community in northern Saskatchewan.
A small prairie town has few secrets but in Balgonie, Saskatchewan, Bill Gibson had one. Each night, when most folks were home asleep, Bill was busy in his workshop. You see, Bill had a dream. He was building a flying machine. This short puppet animation tells his story.