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Studio D Films from the 1980s (Ages 18+)

Studio D Films from the 1980s (Ages 18+)

In 1974 the NFB established Studio D, the first publicly funded feminist film-production unit in the world. Studio D would eventually become home to six staff directors and a number of producers and support staff. About half the studio’s films were to be directed by independent women filmmakers from across the country.

The next two decades were marked by enormous success for Studio D, including three Academy Award® wins. We pay tribute to this visionary studio with this selection of films produced by women, for women.

Pour visionner cette sélection en français, cliquez ici.

Films in This Playlist Include
A Mother and Daughter on Abortion
A Safe Distance
Behind the Veil: Nuns
Doctor, Lawyer, Indian Chief
Flamenco at 5:15
Goddess Remembered
If You Love This Planet
Moving On
Not a Love Story: A Film About Pornography
Older Stronger Wiser
Spirit of the Kata
Sylvie's Story

  • A Mother and Daughter on Abortion
    1987|12 min

    This short film documents an intimate conversation between a mother and her adult daughter on the subject of abortion. They speak candidly about their personal experiences in trying to obtain the procedure, and how, in different decades – before and after the 1969 amendment to the federal law – each got caught up in the system and its rules. A useful discussion-starter on the complex issues relating to abortion.

  • A Safe Distance
    1986|27 min

    The short documentary looks at some innovative approaches to providing services and accommodation for battered women in rural, northern, and Native communities. Filmed in Thompson and Portage La Prairie, Manitoba, and West Bay Reserve, Ontario, the film introduces the women who operate and use various types of accommodation such as transition houses, transition apartments, and safe houses. The shelter on West Bay Reserve is singled out as a project that was built by women for women to stand as a reminder that the Reserve will not tolerate violence against women. A Safe Distance is part of the The Next Step, a 3-film series about the services needed by and available to battered women.

  • Behind the Veil: Nuns
    1984|2 h 10 min

    This feature documentary records the turbulent history and remarkable achievements of women in religion, from pre-Christian Celtic communities to the radical sisters of the 1980s. The history of nuns mirrors that of all women - in what we are taught about the past, women are almost invisible. Although today's one million nuns outnumber priests two to one, they still struggle to be heard by the all-male Roman Catholic hierarchy from which they are excluded. In Behind the Veil: Nuns, contemporary nuns speak candidly of their lives, their challenges, and their predecessors.

  • Doctor, Lawyer, Indian Chief
    1986|28 min

    A tribute to Indigenous women everywhere, this short documentary focuses on 5 women from across Canada. Of varied ages and backgrounds, they have achieved success in a variety of careers: as the Yukon legislature's first Indigenous woman minister (Margaret Joe), as a deck hand on a fishing boat (Corinne Hunt), as a teacher (Sophie MacLeod), as a lawyer (Roberta Jamieson), and as a band council chief (Sophie May Pierre - St. Mary’s Indian Band of the Ktunaxa Nation off the Ktunaxa Nation).

    Each of these women talks about how she got to where she is today while emphasizing the importance of Indigenous culture - its values, art, and spiritual beliefs - in helping her to develop a sense of self and seeing through rough times, including residential school experiences.

  • Flamenco at 5:15
    1983|29 min

    The NFB’s 8th Academy-Award winning film. This short film is an impressionistic record of a flamenco dance class given to senior students of the National Ballet School of Canada by two great teachers from Spain, Susana and Antonio Robledo. The film shows the beautiful young North American dancers—inspired by the flamenco rhythms and mesmerized by Susana's extraordinary energy—joyously merging with an ancient gypsy culture.

  • Goddess Remembered
    1989|54 min

    This documentary is a salute to 35,000 years of the goddess-worshipping religions of the ancient past. The film features Merlin Stone, Carol Christ, Luisah Teish and Jean Bolen, all of whom link the loss of goddess-centric societies with today's environmental crisis. This is the first part of a 3-part series that includes The Burning Times and Full Circle.

  • If You Love This Planet
    1982|25 min

    The NFB’s 7th Academy-Award winning film. This short film is comprised of a lecture given to students by outspoken nuclear critic Dr. Helen Caldicott, president of Physicians for Social Responsibility in the USA. Her message is clear: disarmament cannot be postponed. Archival footage of the bombing of Hiroshima and images of its survivors seven months after the attack heighten the urgency of her message.

  • Moving On
    1986|28 min

    This short documentary looks at how the community of London, Ontario, has implemented a plan to address the issue of domestic violence. These efforts, spearheaded by police, lawyers, doctors, transition house staff, women's groups, and social services agencies have turned London into a rare model community. There, The London Battered Women's Advocacy Clinic and "Changing Ways," a therapy program for men who batter, contribute to the city's innovative attempt to break the cycle of violence. Moving On is part of the The Next Step, a 3-film series about the services needed by and available to battered women.

  • Older Stronger Wiser
    1989|27 min

    In this short documentary, five black women talk about their lives in rural and urban Canada between the 1920s and 1950s. What emerges is a unique history of Canada’s black people and the legacy of their community elders. Produced by the NFB’s iconic Studio D.

  • Spirit of the Kata
    1985|27 min

    Five women, all of them black belts in karate, are examples of how this ancient martial art can transform lives. They demonstrate how it can generate a whole range of physical, psychological and spiritual benefits. To these women, karate means much more than self-defence; its lessons of discipline and harmony can be applied to situations on the street or in the boardroom.

  • Sylvie's Story
    1986|27 min

    This short film recreates the experience of Sylvie, a battered woman who seeks shelter in a Montréal transition house. Faced with the threat of violence, loneliness, the lack of financial resources or information about services, the victim is often understandably reluctant to seek help. Emphasizing the importance for women of speaking out, the film also points out the role of the transition house in putting victims of abuse in touch with appropriate legal and social services. Sylvie’s Story is part of The Next Step, a 3-film series about the services needed by and available to battered women.

  • Not a Love Story: A Film About Pornography
    1981|1 h 8 min

    Warning: this film contains sexually explicit material and is recommended for audiences 18 years of age and older.

    A thought-provoking chronicle of the odyssey of two women, Bonnie Klein, the director of the film, and Linda Lee Tracey, a stripper. Together they set out to explore the world of peep shows, strip joints and sex supermarkets. Both are motivated by the desire to know more about pornography--why it exists, the forms it takes, and how it affects relations between men and women. Not a Love Story offers insights and perspectives from men and women who earn their living in the porn trade, and from some of pornography's most outspoken critics. This film contains sexually explicit material that may be disturbing to some people.