Teacher Newsletter October 2017

Back to School with REEL CANADA

The leaves are changing colour and summer has faded into the rear view. We at REEL CANADA hope you enjoyed some well-deserved rest and relaxation. Now that you’re back in the classroom, we figured it would be a perfect time to catch you up on our offerings this school year, our 13th season!

From dozens of great school festivals to the momentous National Canadian Film Day 150 (NCFD 150), last year was our biggest yet, and we want to keep providing you with opportunities to experience high-quality Canadian films! Read on to find out how you can get involved.  

In This Issue:

  1. Our Films in Our Schools’ Festivals
  2. RCtv
  3. Indigenous Programming
  4. Connected Classrooms
  5. French Programming
  6. National Canadian Film Day 150 Highlights

Students of Southwood Secondary School in Cambridge, Ontario, welcome REEL CANADA before their screening of Angry Inukand short film, The Grandfather Drum.

‘Our Films in Our Schools’ Festivals

Throughout the school year, teachers and students get involved with REEL CANADA by planning their very own film festivals and using REEL CANADA lesson plans in the classroom. REEL CANADA will guide you through the step-by-step process of planning a festival, however big or small. From a single class to an entire school, we’ll work with you to put together an amazing event that’s right for your school. We’ll help you select the films to screen and work out logistics. Sometimes, we can even send a dedicated crew or special guest speakers to engage your students in a discussion after the screening.

The Our Films in Our Schools programme is the backbone of REEL CANADA, through which we share Canadian films with students and engage them in conversations about what it means to be Canadian.To date, we have reached over 900,000 students, working with schools in every single province and territory.

Involvement and support from teachers like you helps sustain our organization, and we are humbled and excited by the growing demand for Canadian film in the classroom. Write to [email protected] or call 1-855-733-5709 to learn more about how to plan a film festival at your school!

“REEL CANADA gets a 10/10 from me!”
— Grade 11 student, Harbord Collegiate Institute, Toronto, Ontario 


RCtv is an interactive and innovative online event.

On National Canadian Film Day – Wednesday, April 18, 2018 – participating students will watch a great Canadian film, then log into our live-stream to participate in discussions with Canadian stars and filmmakers, and engage in lots of other fun online. It’s a chance to explore Canadian identity, culture and storytelling – and connect with other students across the country.

We held the inaugural RCtv broadcast as part of our sesquicentennial celebrations for 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, which was beamed from Google’s Youtube Creative Space Toronto. Students used Twitter and videos to ask questions in real time, interacting with stars Colm Feore, Emily Hampshire and Vinay Virmani. Students also used the tailor-made mobile app (designed by REDspace) to engage in our Canadian Film Geography Challenge, competing with other schools to win prizes.

We’re thrilled to be bringing RCtv back for the 2017–18 school year, with more exciting ways for students to connect with each other and with Canadian filmmakers and stars. To get a better idea of what RCtv looks like, you can watch the stream from NCFD 150 HERE.

Please take a look HERE for more information about this year’s exciting edition of RCtv.

For a printer-friendly version, please click HERE.

To sign up, just email [email protected] with the subject heading “RCtv – Your School Name – Your City” or call 1-855-733-5709

“We can’t wait to get involved every year!!!”
— Teacher from Holy Cross Secondary School, St. Catharines, Ontario 

“During the webcast, students were completely engaged with the hands-on RCtv application and were at all times 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, Portage La Prairie, Manitoba 

REEL CANADA’s Anthony Swan (R) hosts RCtv live with actors (far L to R) Colm Feore, Vinay Virmani and Emily Hampshire. 

Indigenous Programming

In the spirit of reconciliation, representation, and sharing Canadian stories from all walks of life, REEL CANADA has made it a priority to showcase great films by some of the most talented and creative storytellers from First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities in Canada.

To that end, we have created a dedicated Indigenous Film Programme, featuring important Indigenous artists like Alanis Obomsawin, Amanda Strong, Alethea Arnaquq-Baril, Lisa Jackson and Zacharias Kunuk. These films are powerful, creative, entertaining and engaging.  They can provide your students with a visceral connection to the realities of contemporary and historical Indigenous life in Canada.  Our lesson plans can help you create the perfect opportunity for your class to explore and discuss those realities.

Write to [email protected] to learn more about our Indigenous Film Programme, or to start planning a screening today.

“Thank you, REEL CANADA, for advocating for Aboriginal storytelling. We have much that we want to share with the world.” 
 Roseanne Supernault, filmmaker

Connected Classrooms

In addition to the full-scale festivals many of you are familiar with, REEL CANADA is also preparing to launch the second instalment of Connected Classrooms — 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.

As with last year’s pilot edition, this year’s theme will be INDIGENOUS REALITIES. 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 across the country. Throughout the eight weeks, participating teachers will have access to a virtual online learningspace in which their students will connect with others from all over the country for discussions, activities and even the opportunity to engage with special guests! The programme will run from February to April 2018.

For full programme description, please click HERE.

Teachers can register now or request more information by writing to [email protected].

“A program like this that is so honest about the realities that Indigenous people face in our first world country is eye opening and critical and everyone should have the chance to have a program like this, not only schools.”
— Student at Maniwaki Woodland School, Maniwaki, Quebec

French-Language Programming

No celebration of Canadian film would be complete without the stories of francophone filmmakers, whose efforts have produced a robust French-Canadian film industry. We’re highlighting great French-language Canadian films for francophone audiences, for students learning French as an additional language, and for any students interested in sampling the work of our nation’s great francophone filmmakers. And we’re always hard at work expanding our offerings of French lesson plans.

We even give students the chance to engage with Quebec film talent. For example, during NCFD 150 — also known as La Journée du cinéma canadien 150 (JCC 150) — 46 high schools were able to participate in an interactive French-language Webdiffusion with Paul à Québec starsMyriam Leblanc and Shanti Corbeil-Gauvreau and author Michel Rabagliati. In Hearst, Ontario, viewers were treated to a Q&A via Skype with actress Clémence Dufresne-Deslières, from Guibord s’en va-t-en guerre!

A student from the live audience asks a question during the Paul à Québec Webdiffusion at Collège Saint Paul in Montreal.  

In addition to our existing roster of French-language films, we’re adding Paul à Québec and the bilingual Bon Cop Bad Cop 2 to this year’s catalogue. Check out our whole list of films, including French-language offerings, here.

« Continuer. REEL CANADA est très important!!! N’arrêter pas ce programme!!! » 
— Élève de 10e année, Collège catholique Franco-Ouest, Ottawa, Ontario

National Canadian Film Day 150 Highlights

Apart from our regular year-round school programmes, we’ve been busy like beavers celebrating Canada 150 with a bang. On April 19, 2017, we successfully united our nation through film with National Canadian Film Day 150 — the world’s LARGEST film festival. Ever.

There were 1,844 screening events on and around April 19 in celebration of Canadian film, with an estimated 1,000,000 people watching Canadian films at home. Events happened at schools, cinemas, community centres, libraries, museums, military bases, Legion halls, film festivals, and more — all across Canada and around the globe! NCFD 150 was truly a day to remember. Even the prime minister wished Canadians a ‘Happy NCFD 150!’ Were you part of it?

For the whole GINORMOUS NCFD 150 story, click HERE.

“NCFD150 really opened our students’ eyes to Canadian Film!”
— Teacher at Holy Cross Secondary School, St. Catharines, Ontario

In Conclusion . . .

We’re looking forward to a big year thanks to amazing teachers like you who inspire us to keep doing what we do. We want to formally invite every one of you to join us throughout 2017–18 to celebrate Canadian film. As the weather starts to change, don’t see it as the end of fun… You can watch Canadian films all winter long!

Whether you would like to plan a festival at your school, need access to 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.

Follow us on social media and check out our blog to stay in the loop about what we’re up to! And don’t forget to forward our newsletter to your interested colleagues — they can sign up here.


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