CANADA ON TV – Canada: A People’s History /
Le Canada: Une histoire populaire

CANADA ON TV – Canada: A People’s History / <br>Le Canada: Une histoire populaire
Canada on TV Economics History Immigration Politics War
Year: 2002
Rating: PG
Runtime: 33 hours; Episodes are 105 minutes with individual topic segments of 10-15 minutes.
Language(s): English and French

Creator: Mark Starowicz
Director of Research: Gene Allen
Senior Writers: Mark Starowicz, Gene Allen, Gordon Henderson, Hubert Gendron

Dramatic and gripping, this popular series illustrates pivotal moments in Canada’s history, bringing a compelling intimacy to major historic developments. From the stories passed down through oral tradition to the first encounters between Indigenous peoples and Europeans, through the battles that engulfed the continent and the formation of the Dominion of Canada in 1867, to the modern era of feminism, multiculturalism and globalization, this captivating series brings to life the moments that have shaped our nation, telling Canada’s story through the eyes of the people who lived it.

Canada: A People’s History won the Gemini Award for Best Documentary Series and attracted over 14 million viewers.

It is a collaborative production between the CBC and Radio-Canada and is available in both English and French.

Students can explore Canadian history further by delving into the series’ award-winning website, which features behind-the-scenes footage, games, puzzles, lesson plans and links to other historical resources.

Each 105 minute episode is made up of several 10-15 minute segments, which can be shown independently of one another. For a more detailed breakdown of the topics covered in each episode, please see www.cbc.ca/history.


Mark StarowiczDuring a 40-year career at CBC, Starowicz created some of the CBC's most successful programmes, including As It Happens and Sunday Morning and CBC Television's The Journal. He was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2004.

Gene AllenAllen has a Ph.D in Canadian history and over 20 years’ experience as a journalist, including senior positions at The Globe and Mail and with the award-winning CBC series Dawn of the Eye.

 

CANADA ON TV – RISE: SACRED WATER & RED POWER STANDING ROCK PARTS 1 & 2

CANADA ON TV – RISE: SACRED WATER & RED POWER  STANDING ROCK PARTS 1 & 2
Activism Canada on TV History Indigenous Peoples Politics
Year: 2017
Rating: NR
Runtime: Part 1: 45 minutes, Part 2: 44 minutes
Language(s): English

Director: Michelle Latimer
Co-Director: Sarain Carson-Fox

In this powerful new series from VICELAND, Anishinaabe host Sarain Carson- Fox travels to Indigenous communities across the Americas and examines Indigenous life in the modern age, giving viewers a rare glimpse into the frontline of Indigenous-led resistance.

In these two episodes, the people of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation of South Dakota fight to stop the Dakota Access pipeline being built on their ancestral homeland. This absorbing account of the protest and occupation, which eventually grew to 10,000 people, is filled with history lessons and discussions of reservation life.

These stunning and poignant episodes premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and shed light on an urgent and timely issue.


Michelle LatimerThe first short film by Métis and Algonquin filmmaker Michelle Latimer, Choke, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. Latimer is also credited with several documentaries and short fiction films, including The Underground and Nuuca, launched at TIFF.

 

CANADA ON TV – The Book of Negroes

CANADA ON TV – The Book of Negroes
Canada on TV History
Year: 2015
Rating: NR
Runtime: 265 minutes, in six 44-minute episodes

Director/Screenwriter: Clement Virgo
Author/Screenwriter: Lawrence Hill
Starring: Aunjanue Ellis, Lyriq Bent, Ben Chaplin, Allan Hawco, Cuba Gooding, Jr.

This CBC mini-series is based on the internationally celebrated novel by Canadian author Lawrence Hill. A compelling tale of loss, courage, love and the triumph of the human spirit, it follows the extraordinary journey of Aminata Diallo (Ellis), an indomitable African woman.

In 1750, 11-year-old Aminata is kidnapped from her village in West Africa and begins a rich journey that takes her through the harrowing ordeal of slavery, to the turmoil of the American Revolution and ultimately to freedom in the British colony of Nova Scotia. Brilliant and determined, Aminata is a remarkable heroine whose unshakeable connection to her own African heritage guides her over unimaginable obstacles in her quest for freedom and ultimately allows her to assume the mantle of leadership for which she is destined. Deeply moving and inspiring, The Book of Negroes explores painful histories through the unblinking eyes of a strong female protagonist whose story will stay with you long after the telling.


Clement VirgoVirgo’s first feature, Rude, premiered at Cannes and then garnered two Genie nominations. Other notable films are Poor Boy’s Game and Lie with Me, along with episodes of The Wire and The Listener, and producing the TV series Greenleaf.

Lawrence HillA member of the Order of Canada, Hill is the author of 10 books. The Book of Negroes won CBC’s 2009 Canada Reads competition. His latest novel, The Illegal, also won Canada Reads – and Hill is now co-writing a TV adaptation.

 

CANADA ON TV – THE SKIN WE’RE IN

CANADA ON TV – THE SKIN WE’RE IN
Activism Canada on TV
Year: 2017
Rating: NR
Runtime: 44 minutes
Language(s): English

Director: Charles Officer
Director: Desmond Cole

An urgent exploration of race relations, this documentary from acclaimed director Charles Officer follows award-winning journalist and activist Desmond Cole as he pulls back the curtain on racism in Canada, inviting all Canadians to understand the experience of being in his skin.

Cole won a National Magazine Award for his impactful and incisive Toronto Life cover story about carding and racial profiling. Now, in Officer’s starkly honest doc, he journeys across North America, exploring what it’s really like to be Black in the 21st century.

“Cole’s journey is not just toward discovery, but toward the unveiling of a desperate, hidden truth: the truth about the skin he’s in. And the Canada we thought we knew.” – CBC.ca


Charles OfficerActor, writer and filmmaker Officer’s first feature, Nurse.Fighter.Boy, was nominated for 10 Genies, winning one. Mighty Jerome was his first documentary. Most recently, Officer directed the docs The Skin We’re In and Unarmed Verses.

 

Continuous Journey

Continuous Journey
History Immigration
Year: 2004
Rating: PG
Runtime: 87 minutes

Director: Ali Kazimi

In 1914, the SS Komagata Maru set out on a voyage to transport Indian immigrants to Canada. On May 23 of that year, the ship arrived in Vancouver with 376 Sikh, Muslim and Hindu passengers on board. Many of the men were veterans of the British Indian Army and believed that it was their right as British subjects to settle anywhere in the Empire they had fought to defend and expand.  They were wrong – they were stopped from coming into Canada by the Continuous Journey Regulation of 1908, which excluded Indians and South Asians from being able to enter the country.

This inventive docudrama explores the exclusionary politics, which kept the Indian passengers of the Komagata Maru sequestered at sea for over two months in this infamous standoff.

A story of immigration and injustice, this beautifully crafted film shows historical footage in a way never seen before.


Ali KazimiKazimi is a filmmaker, author and visual artist whose work deals with race, social justice, migration, and history. His documentaries include Shooting Indians: A Journey with Jeffrey Thomas, Rex vs. Singh and Random Acts of Legacy.

 

DÉRAPAGES (DRIVING TO THE EDGE)

DÉRAPAGES (DRIVING TO THE EDGE)
Drunk Driving
Year: 2012
Rating: PG
Runtime: 94 minutes

Director/Writer: Paul Arcand

Between 2007 and 2011, 725 Quebecers under 20 years of age were killed in car accidents, many involving speeding and drunk driving. Reckless driving is dangerous and, in severe cases, fatal.

Through emotional interviews with friends and relatives of victims, director Arcand provides an unflinching look at car accidents — how they are caused and how they affect everyone around them. Often as a result of speeding, drinking or just a thirst for adrenaline, the lives of the young interviewees are changed forever in a matter of seconds.

Arcand gives a voice to the young people who love driving fast, as well as accident victims who have been injured both physically and psychologically by this behaviour. A touching and eye-opening documentary about the toll that reckless driving is taking on French Canadian youth.


Paul ArcandArcand is a French Canadian filmmaker, radio host and journalist whose work explores societal problems in Quebec. His other documentaries include Les voleurs d'enfance and Québec sur ordonnance.

 

Fight Like Soldiers – Die Like Children

Fight Like Soldiers – Die Like Children
History War
Year: 2012
Rating: PG
Runtime: 83 minutes
Language(s): English, French, Kinyarwanda, Lingala, Swahili, Zande

Director: Patrick Reed

In 1994 General Roméo Dallaire was on the ground in Rwanda as a genocide unfolded. He returned to Canada haunted by these memories, and has found a new mission: to end the recruitment of child soldiers around the world.

In this important and affecting documentary based on his book They Fight Like Soldiers, They Die Like Children, Dallaire travels across Africa and North America speaking with child soldiers, self-defence groups, militia leaders and those trying to help these children. As he searches for solutions to this horrific practice, animated sequences are interspersed to add the first-person voice of Michel Chikwanine, a former child soldier, who recounts a chilling story that makes it clear why this work is so crucial.

“The cause couldn’t be more urgent… The face of the cause couldn’t be more eloquent.” – Rick Groen, The Globe and Mail


Patrick ReedAward-winning director/producer Reed specializes in thought-provoking documentaries, such as Shake Hands with the Devil: The Journey of Roméo Dallaire, Triage: James Orbinski, Guantanamo’s Child: Omar Khadr, and Beyond Trauma.

 

From C to C: Chinese Canadian Stories of Migration

From C to C: Chinese Canadian Stories of Migration
History Immigration
Year: 2011
Rating: NR
Runtime: 46 minutes

Director: Jordan Paterson
Writers: Jordan Paterson, Paul Yeung, Denise Fong

Beautifully filmed in Canada and China’s Guangdong province, this fascinating documentary contrasts the historical injustices faced by Chinese migrants over the last century with the experiences of contemporary Chinese Canadian youth.

Focusing on past discriminatory immigration policies, the film reflects on the meaning of prejudice and exclusion to those who experienced it and those who did not. By calling attention to the diverse nature of contemporary Chinese Canadian identities, the film paints an inclusive and diverse picture of Canada as a nation.

From C to C was nominated for three Canadian Screen Awards, including Best Direction in a Documentary Program or Series.

The film is also part of a community-based educational initiative led by Simon Fraser University, aimed at raising awareness of these social justice issues among youth and the community at large. You can learn more about the film and related topics at sfu.ca/fromctoc/.


Jordan PatersonVancouver-based Paterson’s credits include the short docs The Three of Portugal and Sanctuary, and the TV series Tricks on the Dead: The Story of the Chinese Labour Corps in WWI.

 

GUANTANAMO’S CHILD: OMAR KHADR

GUANTANAMO’S CHILD: OMAR KHADR
Politics War
Year: 2015
Rating: 14A
Runtime: 80 minutes

Director/Writer: Michelle Shephard
Director: Patrick Reed

Having spent most of his adult life in the harsh detention camp of Guantanamo Bay, Omar Khadr’s name means different things to many people. But his story — and his return to Canada — are universally human.

The 28-year-old Canadian has been a polarizing figure since 2002, when, at only 15 years old, he was captured by Americans in Afghanistan and charged with war crimes. In 2010, after being held for years in the infamous Guantanamo Bay detention camp, he pled guilty to five war crimes, in return for a plea deal that gave him an eight-year sentence and a chance to return to Canada. He later recanted his confession, and the conviction is being appealed in U.S. courts.

After spending nearly half his life behind bars, including a decade at Guantanamo, Khadr was released in 2015. This documentary delivers an intimate portrait of how a teenager from a Toronto suburb became the center of one of the first U.S. war crime trials since WWII, and gives Khadr the opportunity to speak for himself on camera, for the first time, shortly after his release.

Guantanamo’s Child is based on her book about Omar Khadr.


Michelle ShephardShephard is an investigative reporter and filmmaker who was awarded the Michener Award for public service journalism and won Canada's top newspaper prize, the National Newspaper Award, three times

Patrick ReedAward-winning director/producer Reed specializes in thought-provoking character-based docs, such as Shake Hands with the Devil: The Journey of Roméo Dallaire, Triage: James Orbinski, Guantanamo’s Child: Omar Khadr, and Beyond Trauma.

 

HADWIN’S JUDGEMENT

HADWIN’S JUDGEMENT
Activism Environment
Year: 2015
Rating: NR
Runtime: 87 minutes

Director/Screenwriter: Sasha Snow
Screenwriter: John Vaillant

A compelling hybrid of drama and documentary, this feature film covers the events that led up to the infamous destruction of an extraordinary 300-year-old tree in Haida Gwaii, BC, held sacred by the Haida nation.

Inspired by John Vaillant’s award-winning book The Golden Spruce, the film introduces us to the complex character of Grant Hadwin, a logging engineer and expert woodsman who lived and worked in British Columbia’s remote and ancient forests.

In 1997, Hadwin was driven to commit what some would say was an extraordinary and incomprehensible act, one that ran contrary to all he had come to value. To some, he became an environmental terrorist, and to others, a misunderstood activist — but what was he, really? Weaving together speculation and reality, Hadwin’s Judgement paints a complex portrait of the devastation and internal turmoil that led Hadwin to his decision.


Sasha SnowSnow started her career as an architectural photographer before becoming a cinematographer and director for a variety of film, TV and commercial works. She is known for Arctic Crime & Punishment, Conflict Tiger and Hadwin’s Judgement.

 

HOW TO CHANGE THE WORLD

HOW TO CHANGE THE WORLD
Activism Environment
Year: 2015
Rating: PG
Runtime: 110 minutes

Director/Writer: Jerry Rothwell

This engaging doc told largely through archival 16mm footage charts the birth of modern environmentalism and explores how Greenpeace developed from a small group of idealistic environmentalists into a sophisticated movement.

Eco-organization Greenpeace has boots on the ground all over the world. But their origin story begins in 1971, when a group of activists sailed on an old fishing boat from Vancouver to Amchitka, Alaska for one goal — to stop then-President Nixon’s atomic bomb tests.

Based on memoirs by eco-activist and Greenpeace co-founder Bob Hunter, this inspiring film won two Canadian Screen Awards and the documentary editing award at the Sundance Film Festival, for its skillfully layered storytelling.


Jerry RothwellRothwell is a documentary filmmaker whose work includes Town of Runners, Heavy Load and Deep Water (co-directed with Louise Osmond).

 

My Prairie Home

My Prairie Home
LGBTQ Music and Arts
Year: 2013
Rating: NR
Runtime: 76 minutes
Language(s): English

Director-Writer: Chelsea McMullan

Set against the backdrop of the Canadian Prairies, Alberta-born singer/songwriter Rae Spoon takes us on the musical journey of a trans person’s coming of age in an evangelical household.

Using interviews, performances and songs, the film traces Spoon’s musical and personal evolution, as the musician shares stories about discovering the truth about oneself and having the courage to live that truth.

My Prairie Home is melodic, poetic, and beautifully complicated bliss. An utterly beguiling documentary discovery.” – Glenn Dunks, Film Experience


Chelsea McMullanMcMullan’s works have premiered at Sundance, TIFF and the New York Photography Festival. Her award-winning shorts, including Deragliamenti and What Is #Perfection?, have been featured by Nowness, Dazed Digital, Vice, and Vogue Italia.

 

Occupy Love

Occupy Love
Activism Economics Environment Politics
Year: 2012
Rating: NR
Runtime: 84 minutes
Language(s): English

Director/Writer: Velcrow Ripper
With: Amr Adel, Angaagaq Angakkorsuaq, and Colin Beavan

This inspiring documentary captures the heart of a movement that is sweeping the planet in response to current global economic and environmental crises. The apparently fearless filmmaker Velcrow Ripper travels around the world to film a series of popular uprisings — the Arab Spring in Egypt, Spain’s Indignado movement, Occupy Wall Street — asking the question “Is it possible to understand these crises as a kind of love story?”

This poignant documentary explores what Martin Luther King Jr. called “love in action,” searching for the meaning and importance of the love of humanity and of the planet.

“…the photography is beautiful, the scenes of crowds and their signs arresting, and the interviews with individual protesters — in Tahrir Square, Zuccotti Park, tear-gassed Oakland, and even melting Greenland — are often inspiring.” — Alan Scherstuhl, The Village Voice


Velcrow RipperRipper’s feature debut, Bones of the Forest, won Best of the Festival at the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival and a Genie for Best Documentary. His other films include Scaredsacred and Fierce Light: When Spirit Meets Action.

 

PAINTED LAND: IN SEARCH OF THE GROUP OF SEVEN

PAINTED LAND: IN SEARCH OF THE GROUP OF SEVEN
Music and Arts
Year: 2015
Rating: G
Runtime: 90 minutes

Director: Phyllis Ellis
Writer: Nancy Lang

Past meets present in a documentary that offers a new and articulate perspective on the artists who became the Group of Seven. Painted Land weaves together seamlessly the experiences of the renowned artists – Lawren Harris, J.E.H. MacDonald, A.Y. Jackson, Frank Johnston, Arthur Lismer, Franklin Carmichael and A.J. Casson – with the adventures of three modern day sleuths.

Historian Michael Burtch, and the writer and photographer team of Gary and Joanie McGuffin are determined to track down the precise locations of the iconic and famous paintings. Archival film, letters, journals and photographs of the artists – some of which have never been seen in public – take the viewers back in time on a delightfully engaging treasure hunt up mountains, down canyons and over portages, in search of the artworks’ stories.

“A must for Group of Seven fans, and a true eye-opener for those who only know a few of the gang’s iconic Canadian paintings.” – The Georgia Strait


Phyllis EllisEllis is an award-winning actress and director, known for The Pathway and About Her, which earned the Canadian Screen Award for Best Social/Political Documentary Program.

 

Revolution

Revolution
Activism Environment
Year: 2012
Rating: PG
Runtime: 85 minutes
Language(s): English

Director: Rob Stewart

In this powerful follow-up to his acclaimed documentary Sharkwater, Rob Stewart discovers that sharks aren’t the only ones in danger — climate change has a devastating impact on human life as well. Striking and vibrant landscapes are juxtaposed with startling proof that significant damage has already been done. At the same time, Stewart finds immense hope in the dedicated and passionate youth whose efforts are changing our future for the better.

“The main message of Revolution, that the youth of the world is key to saving the planet, makes the doc act as a call to arms for them to rally for change. And if Stewart can get a global community of kids to mobilize based on the messages in his film, then he’s achieved his most pressing reason for making it.” Linda Barnard, The Toronto Star


Rob StewartFilmmaker, photographer, biologist and conservationist Rob Stewart’s award-winning documentaries include Sharkwater and Revolution. Stewart tragically passed away in 2017 while shooting the follow-up, Sharkwater: Extinction.

 

Status Quo?

Status Quo?
Activism Feminism Politics
Year: 2012
Rating: NR
Runtime: 87 minutes

Director/Writer: Karen Cho

Feminism has shaped the society we live in. But just how far has it brought us, and how relevant is it today? This feature documentary zeroes in on key concerns such as violence against women, access to abortion, and universal childcare, asking how much progress we have truly made on these issues.

Rich with archival material and powerful contemporary stories, Status Quo? uncovers answers that are provocative and at times shocking. A striking, in-depth documentary that pays homage to Canada’s feminist forerunners and raises important questions about where and how we should move on to from here.


Karen ChoCho’s compelling and socially-engaged documentaries include In the Shadow of Gold Mountain, and the Gemini-nominated Seeking Refuge. Status Quo? won the Whistler festival’s World Documentary Award.

 

The World Before Her

The World Before Her
Feminism Politics
Year: 2012
Rating: PG
Runtime: 90 minutes
Language(s): English and Hindi with English subtitles

Director-Writer: Nisha Pahuja

Ruhi Singh is on her way to Bombay to participate in an intense beauty boot camp as a contestant in the Miss India pageant, the country’s ultimate glamour event. Winning the coveted title means instant stardom, a lucrative career path and, for some girls, freedom from the constraints of a patriarchal society.

Meanwhile, just a few hours away, Prachi Trivedi works at a very different kind of camp – one run by a militant Hindu nationalist group, where young girls train to combat Western influences.

Moving between the two camps, this lively and provocative documentary paints a dramatic story of the obstacles each woman faces. Through dramatic vérité action and unprecedented behind-the-scenes access, The World Before Her sweeps back the curtain to reveal the intimate stories of young women determined to make a difference in their society.


Nisha PahujaPahuja’s other credits include Bollywood Bound and Diamond Road. The World Before Her earned Best Canadian Feature at Hot Docs and made TIFF’s list of Canada’s Top 10 films in 2012.

 

TREADING WATER: PLIGHT OF THE MANITOBA FIRST NATION FLOOD EVACUEES

TREADING WATER: PLIGHT OF THE MANITOBA FIRST NATION FLOOD EVACUEES
Environment Indigenous Peoples Politics
Year: 2014
Rating: NR
Runtime: 48 munutes

Director/Writer: Janelle Wookey
Writer: Jérémie Wookey

In 2011, close to 4000 First Nation people in Manitoba were forced from their homes after artificially diverted floodwater swamped their communities to save the city of Winnipeg.

Most of the evacuees, the majority from Lake St. Martin and Little Saskatchewan First Nations, checked into Winnipeg hotels, assuming they would return to their homes within a couple of weeks. Shockingly, nearly 7 years later over 1700 evacuees remain displaced and continue to be stranded in a political firestorm between First Nation band councils, the Manitoba Association of Native Firefighters, hotel owners and the federal and provincial governments.  The displacement has triggered a rise in substance abuse and suicide rates. Plans for getting people home seem to be at a standstill.

Interspersing intimate clips of everyday life with footage of heated political debates, this deeply intimate documentary tells the unexpected story of the real people behind the national headlines of the 2011 Manitoba flood.


Janelle WookeyA Franco-Métis filmmaker and on-air personality based in Winnipeg, Wookey’s credits include the documentaries Mémére Métisse and Pollock & Pollock, as well as a segment of the civil rights anthology film, In the Name of All Canadians.

 

TRICK OR TREATY?

TRICK OR TREATY?
Immigration Indigenous Peoples Politics
Year: 2014
Rating: NR
Runtime: 85 minutes

Director: Alanis Obomsawin

One of the masters of Canadian documentary cinema, Alanis Obomsawin digs into the difficult history of Treaty 9, the infamous 1905 agreement in which First Nations communities allegedly relinquished their sovereignty over their traditional lands.

Setting the film against the context of a resurgence of Indigenous activism (Chief Theresa Spence’s hunger strike and the Idle No More movement), Obomsawin interviews legal, historical and cultural experts — as well as people whose ancestors were present when the treaty was signed — to explore some fundamental questions about Canada’s relationship with Indigenous peoples: In signing Treaty 9, what did First Nations chiefs think they were agreeing to? What were they told they were agreeing to? And was the treaty deliberately misrepresented?

“Obomsawin’s documentaries inform, inspire, and shock us. Trick or Treaty? is no different.” — Nadya Domingo, Toronto Film Scene


Alanis ObomsawinAn Officer of the Order of Canada, legendary Abenaki filmmaker Obomsawin has made over 50 docs on Indigenous life in Canada, including Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resistance, Is the Crown at War with Us? and Our People Will Be Healed.

 

West Wind: The Vision of Tom Thomson

West Wind: The Vision of Tom Thomson
Music and Arts
Year: 2011
Rating: NR
Runtime: 95 minutes

Director: Michèle Hozer
Director: Peter Raymont

Tom Thomson was an artist who greatly influenced the Group of Seven and is one of Canada’s most beloved painters. On July 8, 1917, at the peak of his creativity, Thomson disappeared while paddling across Canoe Lake. His body surfaced 8 days later, but the cause of his death remains a mystery to this day.

Through his paintings, archival footage and newly-discovered audio recordings, this beautiful documentary explores this brilliant artist’s life — and mysterious death.

“As gorgeous as the iconic artist’s paintings.” — Chris Cobb, Ottawa Citizen


Michèle HozerAward-winning editor and filmmaker Hozer’s directorial debut, Genius Within: The Inner Life of Glenn Gould won a coveted spot on the Academy Award short list as well as a Gemini for Best Biography. West Wind is her second film.

Peter RaymontRaymont has produced and directed over 100 documentaries, earning more than 50 international awards. His credits include The World Is Watching, Where the Universe Sings, Guantanamo’s Child: Omar Khadr, and Shake Hands with the Devil.