A playlist by Sophie Quevillon
Flawed is nothing less than a beautiful gift from Andrea Dorfman's vivid imagination, a charming little film about very big ideas. Dorfman has the uncanny ability to transform the intensely personal into the wisely universal. She deftly traces her encounter with a potential romantic partner, questioning her attraction and the uneasy possibility of love. But, ultimately, Flawed is less about whether girl can get along with boy than whether girl can accept herself, imperfections and all.
This film is both an exquisite tribute to the art of animation and a loving homage to storyboarding, a time-honoured way of rendering scenes while pointing the way to the dramatic arc of the tale.
Flawed is nothing less than a beautiful gift from Andrea Dorfman's vivid imagination, a charming little film about very big ideas. Dorfman has the uncanny ability to transform the intensely personal into the wisely universal. She deftly traces her encounter with a potential romantic partner, questioning her attraction and the uneasy possibility of love. But, ultimately, Flawed is less about whether girl can get along with boy than whether girl can accept herself, imperfections and all. This film is both an exquisite tribute to the art of animation and a loving homage to storyboarding, a time-honoured way of rendering scenes while pointing the way to the dramatic arc of the tale.
Twenty years after the House of Commons promised “to eliminate poverty among Canadian children,” 8-year-old Isaiah is trying hard to grow up healthy, smart and well adjusted despite the odds stacked against him. Isaiah knows he’s been categorized as “less fortunate,” and his short life has seen more than his share of social workers, food banks and police interventions. His parents struggle to overcome a legacy of stereotypes, abuse and dysfunction and desire more than anything for Isaiah and his siblings to have access to the opportunities they never had. In Four Feet Up, her second NFB documentary, award-winning photographer and filmmaker Nance Ackerman invites us into the lives of this determined family for an intimate and touching experience of child poverty in one of the richest countries in the world. Ackerman spent two years with Isaiah and his family, developing a relationship entrusted to her to share with us through her tender care and vision. As her portrait of the family unfolds with the help of Isaiah’s creative input, curiosity and zest for life, so do Ackerman’s own feelings about the responsibilities of Canadians - to raise all children as our best investment in the nation’s future and to take a more critical look at how we measure wealth.
Invisible City is a moving story of two boys from Regent Park crossing into adulthood – their mothers and mentors rooting for them to succeed; their environment and social pressures tempting them to make poor choices. Turning his camera on the often ignored inner city, Academy-award nominated director Hubert Davis sensitively depicts the disconnection of urban poverty and race from the mainstream.
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.
Using original animation, archival footage and personal interviews, this full-length documentary portrays the multiple relationships Canadian Muslim women entertain with Islam’s place of worship, the mosque. Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world. In North America, a large number of converts are women. Many are drawn to the religion because of its emphasis on social justice and spiritual equality between the sexes. Yet, many mosques force women to pray behind barriers, separate from men, and some do not even permit women to enter the building. Exploring all sides of the issue, the film examines the space – both physical and social – granted to women in mosques across the country. Me and the Mosque was produced as part of the Reel Diversity Competition for emerging filmmakers of colour. Reel Diversity is a National Film Board of Canada initiative in partnership with CBC Newsworld.
The intensely personal story of Namrata Gill – one of many real-life inspirations for director Deepa Mehta's film Heaven on Earth – told in her own words. After 6 years, she courageously leaves an abusive relationship and launches a surprising new career.
Freedom from bullying, name-calling and violence motivates the high school seniors in this school-based drama. Jamie is shocked when she and her best friend become victims of homophobic name-calling. But she must face up to her own reactions as she realizes that her friend is "one of them" and needs her support. And Jamie's boyfriend must decide if he will support Jamie. Set in the context of human rights and freedom from discrimination, One of Them raises the questions that high school students talk about in school halls and washrooms. With a focus on homophobia and discrimination, not sexual behaviour, the dramatization prompts viewers to examine their own responses and promote a safe school environment for all.
Alanis Obomsawin’s documentary The People of the Kattawapiskak River exposes the housing crisis faced by 1,700 Cree in Northern Ontario, a situation that led Attawapiskat’s band chief, Theresa Spence, to ask the Canadian Red Cross for help. With the Idle No More movement making front page headlines, this film provides background and context for one aspect of the growing crisis.
In this short film, Toronto artist Petra Tolley, who has Down syndrome, performs a soliloquy that encapsulates her distinctive take on the social self. Drawing from her emotional experiences, she illustrates what it feels like to be “in the middle.” Employing rotoscopy, hand-drawn animation techniques and subtle stereoscopic 3D, the film captures Petra as she engages the camera with unflinching directness and dignity.
Sophie Bissonnette's documentary analyzes the hypersexualization of our environment and its noxious effects on young people. Psychologists, teachers and school nurses criticize the unhealthy culture surrounding our children, where marketing and advertising are targeting younger and younger audiences and bombarding them with sexual and sexist images. Sexy Inc. suggests various ways of countering hypersexualization and the eroticization of childhood and invites us to rally against this worrying phenomenon.
This short film follows a group of teenage boys eager to emulate the muscle-filled bodies of their media heroes. Revealing the lengths these boys are willing to go to achieve their goal, this film explores the use of supplements and the temptations of steroids. The boys relate their experiences, desires and motivations to the audience, who are left to draw their own conclusions. The film is designed to provoke discussion among teenagers about body image and where lines should be drawn between healthy and dangerous behaviour.
Tying Your Own Shoes is an intimate glimpse into the exceptional mindsets and emotional lives of four adult artists with Down Syndrome. An artful, four-way essay about ability, this animated documentary explores how it feels to be a little bit unusual. In her follow-up to her award-winning film, John and Michael, filmmaker Shira Avni pursues a deeper understanding of esteem and disability by inviting Petra, Matthew, Daninah and Katherine to consider their pasts, relationships and ambitions. Tying Your Own Shoes is a hybrid of auteur documentary and animation cinema, two forms with which The National Film Board of Canada has developed a world-renowned expertise over the past 70 years.