Teacher Newsletter December 2017
It’s that time of year when we watch the weather grow colder and the days grow shorter. Hockey is in full swing, the Grey Cup is over, and much of the country is already covered in snow. It’s less than a month until your well-deserved holiday break, so hang in there.
It may be a quieter time of year, but it’s been anything but quiet in our offices. With school festivals on the go and preparations for next year’s projects under way, we’re hard at work creating opportunities for you and your students to watch Canadian films! Read on to find out more about what we’ve been up to and what we’re planning to do next, as we prepare for winter.
In This Issue:
- Connected Classrooms
- RBC Emerging Artists in Our Schools
- Our Films in Our Schools: The Year So Far
- Lesson Plan Development
- Plan Your Own Event
- Did You Know?: Cineplex Education
YOU’RE INVITED! Sign your class up now for Connected Classrooms: Exploring Indigenous Realities Together— an innovative eight-week programme that gives your students the opportunity to explore Canadian film in collaboration with their peers in other regions of the country.
Throughout the eight-week programme from February to April 2018, participating classrooms will access a virtual online learning space to connect and collaborate with peers from all over the country, focusing on the theme of INDIGENOUS REALITIES. There will be discussions, activities and even the opportunity to engage with special guests!The programme will use works by Indigenous filmmakers to give students new perspective on Indigenous life in Canada and spark dialogue among all student participants in an effort to build understanding and reconciliation.
SIGN UP NOW! We’re thrilled to be bringing back RCtv for the 2017–2018 school year, with more exciting ways for students to connect with each other and with Canadian filmmakers and stars. On National Canadian Film Day 2018 –Wednesday, April 18, 2018 – participating students will watch a great Canadian film, then log into our live-stream to participate in discussions and other fun online interactions with Canadian film talent. It’s a chance to explore Canadian identity, culture and storytelling – and celebrate with other students across the country.
Last year, we held the inaugural RCtv broadcast as part of National Canadian Film Day 150 (NCFD 150). Over 160 high schools and more than 15,000 students across the country participated in the one-hour interactive webcast, beamed from Google’s Youtube Creative Space Toronto. Students used Twitter and videos to ask questions in real time and interact with stars Colm Feore and Emily Hampshire (The Trotsky) and Vinay Virmani (Breakaway). Students also used a mobile app custom-designed by REDspace to compete with other schools to win prizes.
“We can’t wait to get involved every year!!!”
— Teacher from Holy Cross Secondary School, St. Catharines, Ontario
“Students were completely engaged . . . watching the screen and enjoying the interview and Twitter questions, and at the same time furiously trying to answer all the Canadian Movie Questions.”
— Teacher from Portage Collegiate Institute, Winnipeg, Manitoba
REEL CANADA’s Anthony Swan (R) hosts RCtv live with actors (far L to R) Colm Feore, Vinay Virmani and Emily Hampshire.
RBC Emerging Artists in Our Schools
REEL CANADA loves to promote Canadian film talent. We are proud to be supported by RBC and to take part in their Emerging Artists Project, which generously provides funding to arts and cultural organisations to support emerging artists in dance, film, music, theatre, visual arts and literature. For the project,, REEL CANADA chooses three artists from diverse backgrounds who are creating exciting work in Canada. We provide mentoring opportunities with more established members of the film community and bring them to school festivals as special guests. Most significantly, though, we create a short video profile of each artist and screen these before the feature films in every school we visit. It’s the perfect platform for exposing young people to these talented emerging artists.
For our current Emerging Artists slate we selected writer/director Andrew Cividino (Sleeping Giant), actor Gabe Grey(Beeba Boys), and actor/writer/director Kawennáhere Devery Jacobs (actor in Rhymes for Young Ghouls). To date, our Emerging Artist video profiles have been seen by more than 37,000 students across the country.
We are grateful to RBC for their leadership in this area and for their support of REEL CANADA.
“It’s important for people in Canada to watch Canadian productions, because we need to support our own, and we have some really talented filmmakers that deserve to be recognised.”
— RBC Emerging Artist Kawennáhere Devery Jacobs
Stay tuned in the coming months as we prepare to unveil our next round of Emerging Artists!
Actor/filmmaker Kawennáhere Devery Jacobs, one of REEL CANADA’s Emerging Artists in Our Schools.
Our Films in Our Schools: The Year So Far
Throughout the school year we present exciting festival events in schools across Canada. These celebrations of Canadian cinema are the backbone of REEL CANADA. We work with teachers to provide entertaining and educational opportunities for their students to see great Canadian films they might otherwise never have seen, and even to interact with Canadian film talent!
Here are a few recent highlights:
- September: St. Joseph’s Catholic High School (Windsor, Ontario) — Over 1,000 students attended the whole-day, whole-school festival to conclude their week of Canada 150 celebrations. They watched The F Word, Remember, Breakaway and The Whale. Prizes were awarded to students who came decked out in Canadian red and white and took a selfie with our REEL CANADA moose mascot. But best of all, students got the chance to engage with the talented Atom Egoyan (director of Remember) and Vinay Virmani (writer and star of Breakaway) via Skype!
- October: Lawrence Park Collegiate Institute (Toronto, Ontario) — French immersion students watched Louis Cyr: L’homme le plus fort du monde. We were thrilled to be joined at this special event by one of the film’s stars, Guillaume Cyr. Guillaume had a great time interacting with the students and was so impressed with their thoughtful questions during the post-film Q&A that he wished he had time to do a full drama workshop with them! What most impressed him (and us) was how many students were interested in getting into the film industry themselves.
- November: Niagara Region Road Trip
- Lakeshore Catholic High School (Port Colborne, Ontario): Nearly 1,000 students watched Dr. Cabbie, and were treated to a Skype Q&A with star and writer Vinay Virmani.
- Denis Morris Catholic High School (St. Catharines, Ontario) — Students donned their hockey gear to watch Breakaway. After the film, REEL CANADA’s Anthony Swan hosted a special filmmaking workshop with students.
And that’s not all! Before we break for the holidays, we have events planned in Toronto, Surrey, and an extended east coast road trip around Halifax!
Students at St. Joseph’s Catholic High School in Windsor strike a pose with REEL CANADA’s moose mascot.
Students at Lawrence Park Collegiate Institute in Toronto pose for a photo with actor Guillaume Cyr (centre).
Plan Your Own Event
Let’s be honest, there are way more of you than there are of us, so it’s impossible to get to every school across Canada. But you don’t need all the bells and whistles to bring Canadian film into your classroom. You can always borrow free of charge from our library of films if you would like to schedule and plan your own event. We’ll even help you along the way with film selections and lesson plans! We have over 80 films to choose from, in English andFRENCH!
Lesson Plan Development
Watching Canadian films is entertaining, but we also want to make sure teachers who are looking for ways to explore the educational aspects of the experience have all the tools to do so. We currently have over 500 lesson plans in our database, and we’re always adding more! Our lessons encompass nearly every film in our catalogue and offer activities for subjects including civics, drama, English, French, history, Indigenous/Native studies, politics, social sciences, visual arts and more!
Since the start of this school year we have added new high school and ESL lessons for the films Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resistance, Weirdos, Bon Cop Bad Cop 2, Window Horses, and Maudie.
For more information about lesson plans, contact [email protected] today.
Did You Know?: Cineplex Education
REEL CANADA has provided educational and entertaining Canadian film experiences to hundreds of thousands of Canadians, but we couldn’t do it without our many partners and sponsors who believe in what we do. One of those sponsors is Cineplex, who are no strangers to promoting great films; they’re the biggest theatre chain in Canada!
Like us, Cineplex believes in the power of cinema as a teaching tool. They are offering unforgettable experiential learning opportunities through educational programming such as literary classics, Shakespearean favourites, and art documentaries, all on the big screen! Bridging the gap between theory and practice, Cineplex’s education cinema offers a range of culturally-relevant topics presented in an immersive big screen, big sound format sure to stir hearts and minds.
Select programming even includes Teacher Resource Guides to assist educators in keeping students’ interests and imaginations piqued from the theatre to the classroom.
Visit Cineplex.com/GroupSales or call 1-800-313-4461 to purchase group tickets today!
In Conclusion . . .
2017–2018 is shaping up to be a big and busy year! Amazing teachers like you keep us doing what we do best: providing great opportunities for students to watch Canadian films! We want to encourage every one of you to join us throughout the year to celebrate. Let Canadian films lift your spirits all winter long!
Whether you would like to plan a festival at your school, join RCtv or Connected Classrooms, access our library of more than 500 lesson plans, or just want more information and recommendations about how to teach using Canadian film, contact us any time for more information.