A playlist by Jean-Sebastien Beaulieu
This animated short for children tells the story of Christopher, a little boy who didn't want to be called Christopher anymore. Such a common name! When Aunty Gail from Trinidad tells him a story about a Tiger, Christopher changes his name to Tiger. But then he finds a better name. When he has trouble cashing a birthday cheque, he realizes maybe he should stick with his original name... or maybe not?
Part of the Talespinners collection, which uses vibrant animation to bring popular children’s stories from a wide range of cultural communities to the screen.
This animated short for children tells the story of Christopher, a little boy who didn't want to be called Christopher anymore. Such a common name! When Aunty Gail from Trinidad tells him a story about a Tiger, Christopher changes his name to Tiger. But then he finds a better name. When he has trouble cashing a birthday cheque, he realizes maybe he should stick with his original name... or maybe not? Part of the Talespinners collection, which uses vibrant animation to bring popular children’s stories from a wide range of cultural communities to the screen.
In the 1850s, Canada meant freedom for many escaped slaves, but the route known as the "underground railroad" was a dangerous one at the best of times. This drama tells the story of one group travelling the perilous route. It tells, too, of the people who could be trusted to help, and of the trackers and their dogs, who could cut off the lifeline to the border suddenly and very cruelly.
This documentary pays tribute to a group of Canadians who took racism to court. They are Canada's unsung heroes in the fight for Black civil rights. Focusing on the 1930s to the 1950s, this film documents the struggle of 6 people who refused to accept inequality. Featured here, among others, are Viola Desmond, a woman who insisted on keeping her seat at a Halifax movie theatre in 1946 rather than moving to the section normally reserved for the city's Black population, and Fred Christie, who took his case to the Supreme Court after being denied service at a Montreal tavern in 1936. These brave pioneers helped secure justice for all Canadians. Their stories deserve to be told.
This animated short tells the story of Seraphim "Joe" Fortes, one of Vancouver's most beloved citizens. Born in the West Indies, Joe Fortes swam in English Bay for over than 30 years. A self-appointed lifeguard at first, he became so famous that the city of Vancouver finally rewarded him with a salary for doing what he loved best. He taught thousands of people to swim and saved over a hundred lives. Yet there were some who did not respect him because of his skin colour. Through his determination, kindness and love for children, Joe helped shift attitudes.
In 1959, at just 19, Harry Jerome was Canada's most promising track and field star on his way to the Olympics in Rome. By 1962, after suffering a gruesome leg injury, there was every reason to think that his racing days were over. But Jerome was not just a champion on the track; he was doubly determined off it. And so began his climb to what his coach, Bill Bowerman, called "the greatest comeback in track and field history." Through years of unparalleled political turbulence, racial conflict and his own personal challenges, Harry Jerome kept his head down and ran, displaying strength of character and willful perseverance every bit as impressive as his record-setting athleticism. Filmmaker Charles Officer uses gorgeous monochrome imagery, impassioned interviews and astonishing archival footage to tell the runner's triumphant story, from his early days in North Vancouver, through his three Olympics and his unequalled streak of records, to his sudden and tragically premature death. Family, friends and teammates recall a man who forever changed the Canadian sports landscape and made an indelible mark upon the world. Compelling, surprising and urgently paced, Mighty Jerome will electrify sports fans, history buffs and all those with an appreciation for tales of courage and redemption.
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 short documentary zooms in on the Dinka population of Alek, South Sudan, during a period of famine. The Dinkas are an extremely patient people. With empty stomachs, they await the next harvest. For the last 40 years, an intermittent state of civil war has divided the country in 2. This time, the population has requested aid. Sacks of grain are dropped from planes, but to prevent rioting, distribution is delayed until the arrival of reinforcements. During this week of waiting, we witness the true face of hunger.
In this feature documentary, Senegal-born director Musa Dieng Kala returns to Dakar, where he grew up, and asks this painful question: has God forsaken Africa? The answer is bitter. As he films 5 young adults seeking to immigrate to the West at any cost, the filmmaker discovers the helplessness of individuals faced with international indifference and the apathy of the leaders of a society emptied of its resources and incapable of meeting its needs. A deeply human film that makes the case for a global ecology in which no nation or people is abandoned.
In a quest to rediscover the spiritual values of his own people, an African filmmaker from the Gourmantche tribe of Burkina Faso visits an Aboriginal band, the Atikamekw of northern Quebec. The resulting documentary is a dialogue between those who divine the future in the sand with those who use snow-encased sweat lodges to reconnect with the spiritual world.
Monika Delmos's documentary captures a year in the life of two teenage refugees, Joyce and Sallieu, who have left their own countries to make a new life in Ontario. Joyce, 17, left the Democratic Republic of Congo to avoid being forced into prostitution by her family. Sallieu, 16, had witnessed the murder of his mother as a young boy in wartorn Sierra Leone. Delmos follows them as they bear the normal pressures of being a teenager while simultaneously undergoing the refugee application process. She shows how the guidance and support of a handful of people make a real difference in the day-to-day lives of these children.
Martine Chartrand’s animated short dives into the heart of Black culture with an exhilarating trip though history. Watch as a young boy traces his roots through the stories his grandmother shares with him about the events that shaped their cultural heritage.
In their predominantly white high school in Halifax, a group of black students face daily reminders of racism, ranging from abuse (racist graffiti on washroom walls), to exclusion (the omission of black history from textbooks). They work to establish a Cultural Awareness Youth Group, a vehicle for building pride and self-esteem through educational and cultural programs. With help from mentors, they discover the richness of their heritage and learn some of the ways they can begin to effect change.
This 1996 documentary takes a nostalgic ride through history to present the experiences of Black sleeping-car porters who worked on Canada's railways from the early 1900s through the 1960s. There was a strong sense of pride among these men and they were well-respected by their community. Yet, harsh working conditions prevented them from being promoted to other railway jobs until finally, in 1955, porter Lee Williams took his fight to the union. Claiming discrimination under the Canada Fair Employment Act, the Blacks won their right to work in other areas. Interviews, archival footage and the music of noted jazz musician Joe Sealy (whose father was a porter) combine to portray a fascinating history that might otherwise have been forgotten.
A classic NFB documentary about the Golden Gloves boxing tournament, the Canadian amateur's hope for success in the boxing world. This Gilles Groulx film shows three Montreal boxers in training. In behind-the-scenes interviews they talk about their ambitions and what prompted them to take up the sport.
This sensitive drama tells the story of a couple, Roy and Judy, and the reactions they encounter when they announce their intention to marry, reactions complicated by the fact that Roy is black and Judy is white.
This documentary reveals some of the hidden history of Blacks in Canada. In the 1930s in rural Ontario, a farmer buried the tombstones of a Black cemetery to make way for a potato patch. In the 1980s, descendants of the original settlers, Black and White, came together to restore the cemetery, but there were hidden truths no one wanted to discuss. Deep racial wounds were opened. Scenes of the cemetery excavation, interviews with residents and re-enactments—including one of a baseball game where a broken headstone is used for home plate—add to the film's emotional intensity.
This animated short is about a Kenyan boy who goes on a quest to save the life of his sick grandfather. In his search for healers in a mysterious village, he encounters a strange lion caught in a trap. Upon being freed, the lion gratefully takes the boy on an adventure.
Black Mother Black Daughter explores the lives and experiences of black women in Nova Scotia, their contributions to the home, the church and the community and the strengths they pass on to their daughters.
This short film depicts Africville, a small black settlement that lay within the city limits of Halifax, Nova Scotia. In the 1960s, the families there were uprooted and their homes demolished in the name of urban renewal and integration. More than 20 years later, the site of the community of Africville is a stark, under-utilized park. Former residents, their descendants and some of the decision-makers speak out and, with the help of archival photographs and films, tell the story of that painful relocation.