National Canadian Film Day Documentary Highlights

Celebrate Canadian film at home or online!

6 mins read

Put some extra maple syrup on your popcorn, bust out the Nanaimo bars, and cut two slices of Saskatoon berry pie, it’s National Canadian Film Day! Reel Canada’s annual event returns April 20 to remind Canadian audiences that Canada makes its own movies, and they’re great. This year’s festivities, which run in-person and online, unite Canucks worldwide through the stories we tell. National Canadian Film Day features of over 1000 online/broadcast events, in-person screenings in over 600 communities, and cinematic shindigs in 35 countries. Those numbers might be dizzying, so we’ve narrowed down the list with some documentary highlights!

 

Public National Canadian Film Day Documentary Screenings

 

Angry Inuk

In Alethea Arnaquq-Baril’s award-winning film—and still the most popular POV cover story ever—activist Aaju Peters offers the eyes through which we see the Inuit fight to preserve the seal hunt and a way of life that sustains families. Screenings

 

Birth of a Family

Tasha Hubbard’s acclaimed documentary observes four siblings unite for the first time after the Sixties Scoop tore their family apart. It’s a deeply moving and personal account of healing. Screenings

 

Call Me Human

Kim O’Bomsawin profiles Innu spoken-word artist Joséphine Bacon in this acclaimed celebration of the intimate relationship between words, arts, and identity. Screenings

 

Forgotten Warriors

Loretta Todd’s 1997 NFB film pays tribute to the unsung Indigenous soldiers who fought in battle during World War II. Screenings

 

Foster Child

Late Métis filmmaker Gil Cardinal left a significant impact on the landscape of Canadian film. Among his most notable works is this 1987 documentary that chronicles his search for his birth family. Screenings

 

Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resistance

There’s no excuse for not seeing Kanehsatake at this point. Alanis Obomsawin’s masterpiece about the 1990 Oka Crisis is arguably the most significant Canadian doc…ever! Pair it with Beans for a double-bill. Screenings

 

nîpawistamâsowin: We Will Stand Up

As necessary as it is tough, Tasha Hubbard’s provocative film probes the shooting death of unarmed 22-year-old Cree man Colten Boushie to examine the legacy of colonial violence that continues to this day. Screenings

 

Our People Will Be Healed

The centrepiece in Alanis Obomsawin’s series about the rights of Indigenous children, Our People Will Be Healed marks a notable hint of optimism as she finds hope for future generations. Screenings

 

Reel Injun

Neil Diamond’s landmark documentary unpacks the history of violence enacted upon Indigenous lives, communities, and histories through the stereotypes circulated in films and images. Screenings

 

National Canadian Film Day Conversations

 

Alanis Obomsawin and Jeff Barnaby

The doors finally open at the Alanis Obomsawin Theatre at the National Film Board of Canada’s new HQ in downtown Montreal! National Canadian Film Day 2022 features a can’t-miss conversation as its inaugural event with Obomsawin in conversation with filmmaker Jeff Barnabay, whose badass genre flicks Blood Quantum and Rhymes for Young Ghouls subtly pay tribute to the veteran filmmaker’s influential body of work.

 

Tracey Deer and Danis Goulet

The directors behind two of the year’s most acclaimed films, Beans and Night Raiders, join in a conversation moderated by APTN’s Adam Garnet Jones to discuss the past, present, and future of Indigenous cinema in Canada.

 

Watch from Home

Going to the theatre may not be in everyone’s comfort zone right now, but many of the films on the NCFD ticket are available to stream online. Check out NFB.ca for a gaggle of free streams—Stories We Tell, If You Love this Planet, Pour la suite du monde, City of Gold, and My Prairie Home should do the trick for a day’s history of Canadian film—while Telefilm Canada’s See It All hub will connect you to pretty much any Canadian film you can find. Check out some POV picks like Angry Inuk, Watermark, and You Are Here: A Come from Away Story to get you started.

 

Share Your #MovieMemory

Celebrate Canadian film by telling the world why a certain film hits the bull’s-eye of your heart. Share your biggest movie memory by submitting a story in audio, video, or written form that highlights a personal experience in which a movie touched you or drew you closer to those around year. Submit online at moviememory.ca. The winning entry will be made into a commercial by a Canadian filmmaker.

 

Watch More Canadian Movies!

And if you like what you see on April 20, remember there’s one way to truly celebrate Canadian movies: by watching them the other 364 days of the year.

 

Please visit canfilmday.ca for details on showtimes, online events, tickets, accessibility, and film information.

Pat Mullen is the publisher of POV Magazine. He holds a Master’s in Film Studies from Carleton University where his research focused on adaptation and Canadian cinema. Pat has also contributed to outlets including The Canadian Encyclopedia, Paste, That Shelf, Sharp, and Complex. He is the vice president of the Toronto Film Critics Association.

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