Reel Canada Announces Plans for National Canadian Film Day to Mark Canada 150

Stories We Tell
Courtesy of 2011 National Film Board of Canada, Ken Woroner.

By Pat Mullen

Reel Canada’s National Canadian Film Day (NCFD) released a list of 150 Canadian films it will celebrate for Canada’s 150. Docs on the list include Angry Inuk, The Corporation, Hurt, Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resistance, Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media, My Winnipeg and Stories We Tell. The next National Canadian Film Day was announced to be April 19, 2017.

NCFD added a notable component to its celebration of Canadian cinema this year by introducing the Indigenous a special Indigenous Film Summit in Abbotsford, BC, on March 6 and 7, 2017. Reel announced that this component will involve screenings of Indigenous films and workshops for 3,000 students, as well as a gala event for the community. The announcement came via live stream from a press conference at TIFF Bell Lightbox in Toronto where Jack Blum and Sharon Corder, executive director and artistic director of Reel Canada, respectively, announced the big news with some special guests.

Denise Bolduc, a former board member of Reel Canada, was announced to oversee the Indigenous Film Summit. While addressing the crowd, Bolduc acknowledged that creating a national spotlight for Indigenous cinema is an essential opportunity to bring stories from the Indigenous community to Canadian screens. The roots of documentary in Canada’s Indigenous cinema is particularly strong with filmmakers such as Alanis Obomsawin, Zacharias Kunuk, and Alethea Arnaquq-Baril using their cameras to draw attention to urgent issues in the Indigenous and Inuit communities.

“Thanks to the generous funding from our governments, on April 19, 2017, Canadian film will be everywhere — on foot, online and on – air,” said Jack Blum, executive director, REEL CANADA, in a statement from the organisation.

Added Sharon Corder, artistic director, “At REEL CANADA we believe that film captures the soul of a nation and its people, and what better way to commemorate Canada’s birthday than with a nationwide cultural celebration.”

This year, Reel Canada anticipates more than 600 community screenings across the nation in every kind of venue for National Canadian Film Day.—theatres, restaurants, community centres, libraries, record stores, military bases and even in Canadian embassies around the world. “It’s a tool to better understand who we are,” said producing Robert Lantos upon accepting the role of co-chair for NCFD’s advisory committee.

Also present at the ceremony were Colm Feore and Patrick Huard, stars of the box office hit and Genie winner Bon Cop, Bad Cop and the upcoming sequel, who took the stage to address the importance of diversity on screen and in those behind the camera.