Tag Archives: Documentary

February 17

Shiners

Shoe shiners: at the airport, a busy subway station, a kiosk in your local mall, even on the street corner. There they are, every day, providing a service to the people walking by. Yet this humble profession is often overlooked. Who goes into shoe shining, and why? Director Stacey Tenenbaum gives us the answers by […]

February 15

Poop Talk

Poop. Everybody does it; polite people don’t talk about it. Poop Talk features very few polite people. Make no mistake, Poop Talk is a documentary but it will not enlighten you or educate you. Instead it assembles dozens of your favourite comedians and asks them to relate their best bits about poop. Whether or not […]

January 16

The Final Year

Greg Barker’s fly-on-the-wall documentary The Final Year presents a fascinating exploration of the last year of the Barack Obama administration. Focusing specifically on Samantha Power (US Ambassador to the United Nations), Ben Rhodes (Deputy National Security Advisor/speechwriter), John Kerry (US Secretary of State) and Susan Rice (National Security Advisor), the film observes the vigorous efforts […]

November 24

BITS 2017: Fake Blood

Low-budget horror filmmakers Rob Grant (director/co-writer) and Mike Kovacs (co-writer) turn the camera on themselves and blur the line between reality in fiction in their latest effort, Fake Blood. When Grant and Kovacs receive a video nitpicking one of the more gruesome scenes in their previous film Mon Ami, they find themselves considering the connection […]

November 10

Black Star: Black Mother Black Daughter, Whitewash and Black Soul

Three vastly different films. Three female directors. One enriching experience. This was not the official tagline for this particular Black Star shorts program, but it could have been. Though the centerpiece of the program was Sylvia Hamilton and Claire Prieto’s 1989 documentary short Black Mother Black Daughter, there was a thematic link with the two […]

October 22

imagineNATIVE 2017: The Road Forward

There’s been a great deal of discussion in recent years about the past and ongoing injustices suffered by the indigenous community. As there should be. From suicide epidemics to systemic racism to the alarming number of missing and murdered Aboriginal women to the over-representation of Aboriginal men in Canadian prisons, the challenges of the First […]

October 21

imagineNATIVE 2017: Our People Will Be Healed

Alanis Obomsawin is one of Canada’s most prolific filmmakers. At 85 years-old, and with an astounding 50 films under her belt, she has been an integral figure in promoting both indigenous culture and the issues that impact First Nation communities across the land. Last year, with her film We Can’t Make the Same Mistake Twice, […]

October 21

imagineNATIVE 2017: Brown Lips

Writer–director Nakkiah Lui’s Brown Lips is a wonderful little short charged with teenage sexuality, rebellion, and taboo. As Kiera prepares for her debutante ball by ballroom dancing to Tchaikovsky’s Waltz of the Flowers from The Nutcracker with her cousin Des. Their attraction to each other is palpable, communicated through brilliant bits of imagery, shot selection, […]

October 21

imagineNATIVE 2017: Indictment: The Crimes of Shelly Chartier

NBA star Chris Anderson claims that he had no idea that the aspiring model that he met online was 17 when he flew her out from California to spend the weekend with him. The even bigger surprise came when the pair realized that they had never in fact spoken to each other before meeting face […]

October 21

imagineNATIVE 2017: Mankiller

Wilma Mankiller: you may not know her name, but you should. She was the first woman elected Chief of the Cherokee nation, but her story is more complex than any list of her achievements would imply. Born to a Cherokee father and European mother, she was raised with sense of her culture but was influenced […]

October 20

imagineNATIVE 2017: Zaasaakwe

Zaasaakwe is more moving essay or tone poem than a narrative or documentary. The film juxtaposes native dancers adorned in traditional dress with young people walking the streets and riding skateboards. The film draws parallels between the struggles and hardships of the past and the strengths of the new generation. The film isn’t even five […]

October 19

imagineNATIVE 2017: Thirza Cuthand is an Indian Within the Meaning of the Indian Act

Thirza Cuthand is an award-winning filmmaker who has wrestled with questions of identity and belonging for most of her life. In her lastest short film, Cutland takes audiences on a personal journey as she details the struggles of being a light-skinned Cree woman in Canada. Born with a fairer complexion than those in her family, […]

October 18

imagineNATIVE 2017: Twilight Dancers

Far too often, an indigenous community makes the news because it’s dealing with a suicide epidemic. Cross Lake, Manitoba is one such community. In 2016 there were 140 suicide attempts in Cross Lake within a two week period. Six people were successful. Those staggering numbers are even more devastating when you consider that the population […]

October 17

imagineNATIVE 2017: Birth of a Family

Tasha Hubbard’s Birth of a Family documents the first meeting of a family torn asunder by racist government policies, decades after their separation. As infants, Betty Ann, Esther, Rosalie, and Ben were taken from their indigenous mother and placed into separate white homes across North America as part of Canada’s “Sixties Scoop”. The story of […]

October 16

imagineNATIVE 2017: Holy Angels

Most of us have heard about the terrible treatment of First Nations children when they were sent to residential schools. However, it’s only when we get a firsthand account of the harsh memories from a survivor do we realize exactly how much strength these children needed to get by in their day-to-day lives. The Holy […]

October 13

Interview: Alexandre O. Philippe on “78/52”

Alexandre O. Philippe is a practiced documentarian with a decided penchant for pop culture phenomena, especially films. In The People vs. George Lucas, he looked at the interaction between filmmakers and fans. In The Life and Times of Paul the Psychic Octupus, he commented on an octopus named Paul that correctly “predicted” eight consecutive World […]

October 06

Unarmed Verses

The Toronto Community Housing’s Villaways neighbourhood is viewed as a slum by some, but for 12-year-old Francine Valentine it is home. However, it may not be her home for much longer. With the area about to go through a massive redevelopment, one that will bring shiny new condos that most of the current residents will […]

September 27

Do Donkeys Act?

Did you ever have existential questions about donkeys? No? Well, move on. Or not. The truth is, you haven’t seen anything like Do Donkeys Act? It’s a documentary about donkeys, made reputedly by humans (Ashley Sabin and David Redmon), for the enjoyment of – donkeys? There are no talking head interviews in the film, very […]

September 16

TIFF 2017: There Is a House Here

There is a House Here is your standard wandering interview documentary, traversing through the town of Igluik, Nunavut to pose questions to the Inuit denizens about their lives, their homes, and their culture. Though there are moments of levity and optimism, the film is mostly a harrowing and depressing look at cultural extinction and childhood […]

September 15

TIFF 2017: Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami

Grace Jones’ lengthy career has spanned the worlds of music, fashion and acting, so it is somewhat surprising that no one thought to make a film about her life until now. Thankfully Sophie Fiennes’ new film Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami is here to fill that void. Taking an unconventional approach, the film forgoes the […]