Perhaps the most frequently asked question POV receives is “Where can I see the films I read about in POV?” The easiest answer is to visit See It All, Telefilm Canada’s initiative to connect Canadian audiences with the wealth of stories created by Canadian filmmakers.
When readers visit the site, they can browse by their preferred streaming location—say, Crave or CBC Gem or the NFB’s free catalogue—with dedicated corners that spotlight Canadian content. Readers can also browse by film title, click a doc, and see where it’s available to stream. One can easily spend as much time browsing the options on a streaming site as one does watching a film, so here are five POV picks to help readers get started—with tips on where to see them!
Director Moze Mossanen tells the true story that inspired the uplifting Tony-winning musical. You Are Here revisits the fateful day of September 11, 2001 when 38 airplanes landed in Gander, Newfoundland after America was attacked. Featuring interviews with the locals and the “come from aways” who unexpectedly arrived in their hometown, the doc tells a deeply moving tale that reminds viewers how humans can be innately good, even to complete strangers. At a time when we seem inundated with stories about the worst of humankind, the film shows us at our best. You don’t need to have seen the musical Come from Away to appreciate the stories here. Either before or after watching the musical, Mossanen’s film opens up the real voices behind the songs that make hearts soar. –Patrick Mullen
See It On: Crave
With a compelling voice, director and narrator Alethea Arnaquq-Baril draws the viewer into the life of the Inuit with her documentary Angry Inuk. Using humour and intelligence, Arnaquq-Baril examines the misguided animal activist battle over the seal hunt as an attack on the Inuit, a group of people with little political leverage. As it deconstructs the aesthetics of white activism, the film makes a plea for the people most impacted by political (in)action in the arctic region to have their voices heard. Angry Inuk is a stunning and passionate fight against rampant consumerism and in support of Indigenous lives. –Justine Smith
See It On: NFB.ca, Prime Video
From one of Canada’s most dynamic cinematic collaborations, that of Jennifer Baichwal and Ed Burtynsky, comes Watermark, a passionate ecological documentary. Based on photographer Burtynsky’s art book Water, the film shows a deep love for the natural world and distress at how humans are affecting it. The directors, with cinematographer Nicholas de Pencier, travel the world–from China to California, Mexico to India and more–to explore how humans are devastating our most precious natural resource. With images of our tortured planet that are both gorgeous and appalling—typifying Burtynsky’s profoundly paradoxical art—this thought-provoking visual essay won the 2013 Rogers Award for Best Canadian Feature from the Toronto Film Critics Association. –Susan G. Cole
See It On: Crave with a Starz subscription
There’s Something in the Water
Canadian actor Elliot Page returns to their birthplace of Nova Scotia to show how environmental issues and racism are inexplicably linked in There’s Something in the Water. Inspired by the book of the same name by Dr. Ingrid Waldron, the film focuses on the lengthy fight for clean water that Black and Indigenous communities are enduring. Page and co-director Ian Daniel spotlight the female activists leading the call for change and effectively capture how all levels of government in Canada are repeatedly letting the most vulnerable communities down. The film is a reminder that one’s postal code can impact one’s health. –Courtney Small
See It On: Netflix
Showing the learning journey of Francine Valentine, a 12-year-old Black girl, Unarmed Verses is a quietly effective doc by Charles Officer. The film is set in Villaways, a housing community north of Highway 401 in the Greater Toronto Area, which is dealing with a “renovation project,” which will likely cause the dispersal of many long-time residents as gentrification hits the area. Officer treats his youthful subject with respect and affection as his camera follows her at home, at school, and in her neighbourhood. Francine and the film come to life as she discovers a talent for a talent for poetry, kindling her spirits and raising her confidence at a crucial time just before teenage-hood hits. Winner of the Best Canadian Feature at Hot Docs 2017, this is a film of joy, crucially needed. –Marc Glassman
See It On: NFB.ca
This article was sponsored by Telefilm Canada.