2020 Online Screenings

The 2020 Yorkton Film Festival has concluded. Below is a listing of films that were available for online screening during the 2020 Yorkton Film Festival.

Special Awards

Kathleen Shannon Award

Sadika’s Garden

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Synopsis

Sadika’s Garden is a moving and uplifting story of a group of Canadians, once refugees themselves, uniting to sponsor a Syrian refugee family of eight from war-torn Raqqa to Vancouver, completing the circle of generosity. Those who once received refuge now pay it forward to the vulnerable which leads to a miraculous dream coming true for Sadika’s daughter, Batoul.


The Mill

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Synopsis

The Mill is a gripping portrait of a rural community deeply divided over the fate of the local pulp mill.

Welcome to Pictou County, Nova Scotia where a plan to redirect pulp effluent into the fishing grounds of the Northumberland Strait has stirred controversy. Lobster fishermen say “No Pipe!” The mill says “No Pipe No Mill”. A line has been drawn and with hundreds of jobs at stake the issue has reached a boiling point!


Craft Awards

Director (Fiction)

Model Citizens

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Synopsis

An eccentric miniature artist disagrees with her brothers approach to dinner-time. The harmony of their household depends entirely on the intervention of their friendly neighborhood pizza delivery man.


Director (Non-Fiction)

Hockey Mom

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Synopsis

Fatma, a single mother from Syria, bravely seizes the opportunity to build a new life for her seven-year-old son Majed on her own terms. Hockey Mom is an intimate look at a Syrian family becoming independent from their sponsors and tells a larger story of a brave woman learning to trust in herself.


Sadika’s Garden

View Trailer | More Info

Synopsis

Sadika’s Garden is a moving and uplifting story of a group of Canadians, once refugees themselves, uniting to sponsor a Syrian refugee family of eight from war-torn Raqqa to Vancouver, completing the circle of generosity. Those who once received refuge now pay it forward to the vulnerable which leads to a miraculous dream coming true for Sadika’s daughter, Batoul.


The Mill

View Trailer | More Info

Synopsis

The Mill is a gripping portrait of a rural community deeply divided over the fate of the local pulp mill.

Welcome to Pictou County, Nova Scotia where a plan to redirect pulp effluent into the fishing grounds of the Northumberland Strait has stirred controversy. Lobster fishermen say “No Pipe!” The mill says “No Pipe No Mill”. A line has been drawn and with hundreds of jobs at stake the issue has reached a boiling point!


Research

Guardians of the Grasslands

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Synopsis

Canada’s native grasslands are disappearing at an alarming rate – in fact, they are one of the most endangered ecosystems in the world. Guardians of the Grasslands is a collaboration between dedicated conservationists and local ranchers, which seeks to showcase how cattle continue to create hope on what’s left of these iconic landscapes for the plant and animal species that call them home.


Ice Breakers

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Synopsis

Ice Breakers reveals the buried history of a Black hockey league as a promising young athlete discovers his rich and remarkable heritage.


The Seven Wonders Of Manitoba

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Synopsis

When asked about Manitoba, most Canadians think of two words, flat and boring. But if you decide to venture off the beaten path, you’ll discover an amazing and diverse landscape, rarely visited by tourists. The land goes through many dramatic changes, as the rolling plains crash into the ancient mountains of the Precambrian shield. In the center of the province is a massive deposit of limestone bedrock, shaped into a mysterious network of caves and crevices. And along the eastern edge of the province, extending northward to Hudson Bay lies one of the last untouched wilderness areas left in the world, home to some of our country’s most iconic and endangered animals. This documentary series highlights seven of Manitoba’s most outstanding sites, focusing on their unique natural features, geological history, and the wildlife that inhabits them. On this journey, you will get a complete picture of Manitoba’s pristine natural beauty and discover some of our country’s best-kept secrets in the process.


Town of Widows

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Synopsis

In a factory town both sustained and poisoned by big industry, a growing group of widows, workers and family members fight for justice in a system stacked against injured workers.

Jim is sick of going to funerals. Roger has regular surgeries to keep him alive. Sandy still struggles to pay the bills twenty years after her husband died. Their town is sick, and they want justice.

The General Electric factory in Peterborough gave them good work and took them in like family, but ultimately may be responsible for a lethal legacy of cancer. They talk about the “snowstorms” of asbestos in the plant, the “GE smell” from the toxic soup of chemicals and the workers “dropping like flies” from cancer.

Their opponents are formidable ones. The compensation board is meant to support workers and their families, but it has denied hundreds of workers and widows and left others waiting for decades. General Electric is one of the largest companies in the world and no one, including the government, wants to run them out of town and see workers lose their jobs.

We watch as a town of widows and workers take on their own community, the government, an insurance agency, a multinational company – and see wins.


Accompanying Categories

Emerging Filmmaker

Sisters of Sorrow

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Synopsis

Five supernatural sisters of the road pursue a nefarious enemy.


The Bear & The Beekeeper

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Synopsis

An aging beekeeper tries to keep a pesky predator away from his beehives in order to keep the memory of his loved one alive.


Town of Widows

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Synopsis

In a factory town both sustained and poisoned by big industry, a growing group of widows, workers and family members fight for justice in a system stacked against injured workers.

Jim is sick of going to funerals. Roger has regular surgeries to keep him alive. Sandy still struggles to pay the bills twenty years after her husband died. Their town is sick, and they want justice.

The General Electric factory in Peterborough gave them good work and took them in like family, but ultimately may be responsible for a lethal legacy of cancer. They talk about the “snowstorms” of asbestos in the plant, the “GE smell” from the toxic soup of chemicals and the workers “dropping like flies” from cancer.

Their opponents are formidable ones. The compensation board is meant to support workers and their families, but it has denied hundreds of workers and widows and left others waiting for decades. General Electric is one of the largest companies in the world and no one, including the government, wants to run them out of town and see workers lose their jobs.

We watch as a town of widows and workers take on their own community, the government, an insurance agency, a multinational company – and see wins.


Indigenous

Bighetty & Bighetty

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Synopsis

When a group of Indigenous brothers picks up puppeteering, they pass on a magical gift to their audiences – joy, humour and the love of life itself – as they share the Cree language and struggle with the passing of their founding brother. Meanwhile, the puppets themselves have their own ideas for their adventures.


Sisters of Sorrow

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Synopsis

Five supernatural sisters of the road pursue a nefarious enemy.


Mental Health

17 And Life Doesn’t Wait

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Synopsis

” … wonderfully nuanced and at times heartbreaking.”
– John Doyle, ‘The Globe and Mail’

17 And Life Doesn’t Wait paints a lively, candid and emotionally charged view of life through the eyes of three teen girls. The film catches them in their final year of high school, as they experience the impact of the outside world, their impending independence, and the conflicting expectations and overwhelming anxiety that come with being a girl.

It delves into the teens’ attitudes, actions and goals, as they dream about the future, and discover their passions and anxieties. While these smart, sassy, and tenacious young women may hail from diverse walks of life, each has the ambition to continue with her education, and meet her challenges head on, and in her own way.

Meet Kiki, an African-American high school basketball star and middle class summa cum laude student, with a twin brother who doesn’t excel like his sister. Kiki struggles with the responsibility of balancing her dreams, and the sacrifices she must make for her brother’s future.

Funny, forthright and vibrant, Mich is a young artist, who’s estranged from her mother, on welfare, and struggling with depression and the loneliness of living on her own. She’s trying to come to terms with her sexuality, the repercussions of a recent sexual assault, and finding love, acceptance and a new home.

Math and science whizz, Audrey, straddles a delicate balance between two worlds – the independence of living and going to school downtown, and the expectations of her suburban Asian-Canadian parents. She’s driven to please, yet struggles with her own desires, eventually learning some hard lessons from disappointment.

Shot over nine months, the film captures the girls’ laughter, struggles and victories. We watch them grapple with family, university acceptances (or rejections and scholarships, engage in the perennial primping for senior prom; digest the devastation of the Parkland massacre; graduate, and confront issues around sexual identity, suicide and assault.

17 And Life Doesn’t Wait is thought-provoking and inspiring, revealing the girls’ frustrations and successes, and their ability to discover and define themselves, and to move ahead in their lives.


Humboldt: The New Season

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Synopsis

Humboldt: The New Season is a documentary that follows survivors of the tragic 2018 Humboldt Broncos crash. Two survivors return to play for the 2018-2019 Broncos, while others continue their recovery while still trying to pursue their love for hockey in new avenues. The film also follows some of the families of the 16 people who passed away in the accident as they grapple with their new reality while still supporting the survivors and the Broncos.


Mum’s The Word

More Info

Synopsis

Mum’s The Word is an interactive documentary on the history and legacy of forced adoptions in Canada. In the post-war period, approximately 350,000 unwed mothers were coerced by churches and social working institutions to give their children up for adoption. Our project aims to harness the power of storytelling and the lived experiences of mothers and adoptees to share their stories and teach Canadians about this injustice.


PREY

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Synopsis

A riveting and unflinching account of a survivor of clergy sexual abuse and his civil lawyer as they seek justice by taking the Catholic Church to civil court, forcing the dark and hidden story of clergy sexual abuse to light.


Multicultural Award (Under 30 Minutes)

Economic Reconciliation

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Synopsis

Produced on the heels of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s recommendations, this film elevates the voices of Indigenous Leaders on economic reconciliation. Canada is ranked as one of the best country to live in the world whereas Canada’s Indigenous Peoples’ living condition rank 63rd in the world. The gaps in living condition is revealed along with the ongoing impact of Canada’s colonialism. Indigenous leaders pave the way forward towards concrete solutions that can help fuel economic growth of Indigenous Nations which would benefit the entire country.


Nancy’s Workshop

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Synopsis

One Sunday a month, natural hair specialist Nancy Falaise closes the doors of her Montreal salon to lead a private workshop for young girls of colour struggling to love their natural hair. Step-by-step, she teaches them how to wash, detangle, style and care for their respective hair textures, and creates a safe space for them to bond over their shared experiences and forge meaningful friendships.

A lot can be gleaned from the relationship between these girls and their hair; this extension of their body, which they’ve struggled to accept, is the entry point for them to unpack, negotiate and recognize their perceived difference from their peers and confront issues of self-image and identity closely tied to race.

We get to know these girls as unique individuals with vastly different interests, ambitions and personalities, but all connected by a common thread. Their stories are all at once heartbreaking and hope-making, as we watch their self-perception and confidence evolve over the course of a single Sunday afternoon. As much as the film is an invitation to observe Nancy and these girls’ journey, it is also a testament to the immeasurable value derived from strong and empowering female relationships. What a difference a day makes.


Sadika’s Garden

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Synopsis

Sadika’s Garden is a moving and uplifting story of a group of Canadians, once refugees themselves, uniting to sponsor a Syrian refugee family of eight from war-torn Raqqa to Vancouver, completing the circle of generosity. Those who once received refuge now pay it forward to the vulnerable which leads to a miraculous dream coming true for Sadika’s daughter, Batoul.


Multicultural Award (30 Minutes & Over)

Hockey Mom

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Synopsis

Fatma, a single mother from Syria, bravely seizes the opportunity to build a new life for her seven-year-old son Majed on her own terms. Hockey Mom is an intimate look at a Syrian family becoming independent from their sponsors and tells a larger story of a brave woman learning to trust in herself.


Mr. Berry

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Synopsis

In a seemingly endless career of 65 years and counting, students keep coming and Mr. Berry keeps teaching.


The Art of Downsizing

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Synopsis

Award winning filmmaker Geeta Sondhi grapples with mementos, materialism and mortality in her emotional documentary, The Art of Downsizing. The film takes a series of unexpected twists and turns as it follows three seniors packing up a life’s worth of belongings to prepare for a future destined to fall out of control.

Once the perfect fifties housewife, Barb, 79, is selling the house she entertained in, raised children in – and more recently, lost her husband in. Bill, 62, is digging himself out from under a mountain of inherited antiquities with emotional connections that weigh heavily on his heart and soul. And then there’s Kathleen, the quintessential, matriarch who struts into her 90th birthday party like Beyonce at the Superbowl.. but is brought to her knees at the prospect of parting with her most precious souvenir from days gone by.

Who am I without my belongings? What shapes me – the real or the ideal? Do I own my possessions or do they own me?

Beautifully woven together with wit, compassion and humanity The Art of Downsizing is a multi-layered, existential exploration of the excruciating decisions involved in navigating one of the least talked-about yet most significant transitions any of us will ever make.


The Mill

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Synopsis

The Mill is a gripping portrait of a rural community deeply divided over the fate of the local pulp mill.

Welcome to Pictou County, Nova Scotia where a plan to redirect pulp effluent into the fishing grounds of the Northumberland Strait has stirred controversy. Lobster fishermen say “No Pipe!” The mill says “No Pipe No Mill”. A line has been drawn and with hundreds of jobs at stake the issue has reached a boiling point!


Ruth Shaw Award (Best of Saskatchewan)

Good Morning

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Synopsis

A troubled man engulfed in a meticulously routine life finds himself trapped in unforeseen territory, and must escape in order to restore his life’s balance–but can he escape himself?

The unnamed protagonist goes about his morning routine in his bathroom, but when he slips up, he finds himself in an empty room, cut off from the comfort of his orderly existence. This room is seemingly sentient, attempting to drag him further into the echo chamber of his obsessive psyche. Not until he finally turns himself around can our protagonist return to his routine.


Humboldt: The New Season

More Info

Synopsis

Humboldt: The New Season is a documentary that follows survivors of the tragic 2018 Humboldt Broncos crash. Two survivors return to play for the 2018-2019 Broncos, while others continue their recovery while still trying to pursue their love for hockey in new avenues. The film also follows some of the families of the 16 people who passed away in the accident as they grapple with their new reality while still supporting the survivors and the Broncos.


The Other Ordinary

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Synopsis

The Other Ordinary spotlights eight Canadians, and their director, who are the only professional, travelling theatre group made up of people of all abilities.


Main Categories

Children’s/Youth Production

Hollie’s Dress

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Synopsis

As 14-year-old Hollie sews her first dress with her mother, she faces the decision all Mennonite girls must make as they reach adulthood. Will she put on the dress and become a full member of the Mennonite church and assume her role as a mother, or will she join the wider world?

At the Mennonite store, as Hollie sorts through the fabrics to look for colors and patterns that appeal to her sensibilities, her voiceover reveals – with a certain trepidation – the life that she envisions for herself. At home, Hollie spread out the fabric and pattern with her mother, to prepare for cutting of the shapes and panels that will form her first dress. Her mother Deborah recounts how different it was when grandma helped her cut and sew her first dress. Through the story of Hollie’s first dress, the mother passes to daughter the family values and community traditions that shape the girls’ anticipation of their future roles as wife and mother.


I Am Skylar

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Synopsis

I Am Skylar is the emotionally compelling story of an articulate 14-year-old girl who is thoughtfully defining her future and the woman she is to become. Surrounded by a family and a community who show her unconditional love as she follows her personal path, Skylar faces the complexities of being a transgender girl on the cusp of puberty with refreshing honesty and unshakeable dignity.


Ice Breakers

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Synopsis

Ice Breakers reveals the buried history of a Black hockey league as a promising young athlete discovers his rich and remarkable heritage.


Robotik

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Synopsis

BeKa and BuBo run the RoBOTiK Lab, a hub of creativity in a colorful robot world.
BOTs call upon this clever duo when they need repairs or a one-of-a-kind upgrade.

BeKa is famous for her inventive spirit and natural ability to solve problems using tech wizardry and an open heart. BeKa loves that she has Bubo, her best friend and sidekick by her side.

Bubo sniffs, explores, and barks to help BeKa figure out what each BOT needs to feel great and be on its way to a merry day.


Comedy

8+ weeks

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Synopsis

When Clare’s last minute “to do list” is halted by medical technicalities she must continue preparing for her upcoming travels, all the while pregnant with a baby she does not plan to see through. Who knew getting an abortion wasn’t as easy as ordering un cafe’?


Home in Time

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Synopsis

Kate and Felix get a surprise visitor for Christmas – an older, drunken Felix, from 2044. He’s come back to visit his young family, when things were good. Before everything went to shizz.


Model Citizens

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Synopsis

An eccentric miniature artist disagrees with her brothers approach to dinner-time. The harmony of their household depends entirely on the intervention of their friendly neighborhood pizza delivery man.


The Star of Therapy

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Synopsis

When Kendra is admitted into group therapy, she becomes overly competitive about completing her weekly goals.


Community Television Productions

Factoria: The Magic City

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Synopsis

Passing by the ruins of an old farmhouse along Saskatoon’s riverbank, local storyteller Danica Lorer is inspired to uncover the history of Factoria, a story that ties together the past and present of the land we call home.

It’s 1912. With fresh spring water on his farm just north of the booming community of Saskatoon, Billy Silverwood fills a demand for clean bottled water amidst annual outbreaks of typhoid. Soon enters Robert Glass, a slick businessman from Chicago with a big dream to promote – to turn Silverwood’s land into a massive industrial community, billed as “the magic city” – Factoria! But the boom doesn’t last long, and the big dream of Factoria begins to unravel. Where did it all go wrong?


Over the Hill Orchards

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Synopsis

Dean and Sylvia Kreutzer run Over the Hill Orchards just outside of Regina. In addition to innovative growing operations, the Orchards also boast a winery and world-class restaurant.


The Blind Adventurer Foundation

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Synopsis

Follow-up film to “The Blind Adventurer”. Ron Walsh launches a foundation and premier round of adventures for the blind and sight-impaired, which pairs them with sighted guides to increase awareness and friendship.


The Haus Project – Erinwanderin

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Synopsis

Artist Jessica Richter’s art installation about German immigrants to Canada. The installation melds folk art and history to explore identity.


The Seven Wonders Of Manitoba

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Synopsis

When asked about Manitoba, most Canadians think of two words, flat and boring. But if you decide to venture off the beaten path, you’ll discover an amazing and diverse landscape, rarely visited by tourists. The land goes through many dramatic changes, as the rolling plains crash into the ancient mountains of the Precambrian shield. In the center of the province is a massive deposit of limestone bedrock, shaped into a mysterious network of caves and crevices. And along the eastern edge of the province, extending northward to Hudson Bay lies one of the last untouched wilderness areas left in the world, home to some of our country’s most iconic and endangered animals. This documentary series highlights seven of Manitoba’s most outstanding sites, focusing on their unique natural features, geological history, and the wildlife that inhabits them. On this journey, you will get a complete picture of Manitoba’s pristine natural beauty and discover some of our country’s best-kept secrets in the process.


Digital Media

Migrant Mothers of Syria

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Synopsis

Inspired by the 1936 photograph, Migrant Mother, by American photographer Dorothea Lange, Migrant Mothers of Syria prompts users to put the broken pieces of two homes back together while exploring six short documentaries about two Syrian mothers. By doing so, users are offered a glimpse into the lives these women left behind in Syria, their daily struggles as refugees in Lebanon and their hopes and dreams for the future of their children. By the end of the experience, users are left to reflect on notions of home, migration and exile as being part of a shared human experience that is not confined to any given race, culture or religion but that ultimately affects us all.


Mum’s The Word

More Info

Synopsis

Mum’s The Word is an interactive documentary on the history and legacy of forced adoptions in Canada. In the post-war period, approximately 350,000 unwed mothers were coerced by churches and social working institutions to give their children up for adoption. Our project aims to harness the power of storytelling and the lived experiences of mothers and adoptees to share their stories and teach Canadians about this injustice.


Nikola Tesla and the End of the World

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Synopsis

In this charming and quirky science fiction series, two physicists and a lost boyfriend use Nikola Tesla’s multiverse device to travel through parallel Brooklyns and bring Nikola home… if they can manage to get him out of debt and defeat an inter-dimensional death cult.

Fast-paced and absurd, NIKOLA TESLA AND THE END OF THE WORLD puts a fresh spin on history, science, and social commentary. The series explores the intersection of science and ethics, cutting-edge scientific theories, as well as the frightening potential of powerful technology. The series has a fresh format and style, a stellar cast, and 628,609 potential worlds to explore.


The Internet of Everything

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Synopsis

The internet is inescapable. With innumerable connected objects and spaces, depending on how you see it, we’re either living in a futuristic utopia or a nightmarish surveillance state. The Internet of Everything captures this ubiquitous modern predicament, looking at what happens when we opt for the convenience of connected “smart” objects, without fully understanding the consequences for our health, our communities, or the planet.


Documentary Arts/Culture

Âsônamâtowin – A Sharing of Indigenous Knowledge

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Synopsis

Until the 1950’s Canada’s Indian Act made it illegal to practise Indigenous spiritual ceremonies. Witness the return to spiritual traditions and the Elders who are sharing what was once hidden knowledge. Filmed in the fields and forests of First Nations lands across western Canada, ‘Âsônamâtowin a Sharing of Indigenous Knowledge’ was envisioned and directed by the Elder’s Circle of the First Nations University of Canada.

Directors: Indigenous Directors: Florence Allan, Willie Ermine, Roland Kaye, Gilbert Kewistep, Mary Lee, William Ratfoot, Margaret Reynolds


Bighetty & Bighetty

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Synopsis

When a group of Indigenous brothers picks up puppeteering, they pass on a magical gift to their audiences – joy, humour and the love of life itself – as they share the Cree language and struggle with the passing of their founding brother. Meanwhile, the puppets themselves have their own ideas for their adventures.


In the Making – Rebecca Belmore

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Synopsis

Internationally-renowned visual artist Rebecca Belmore opens the biggest survey yet of her life’s work and installs a powerful artwork that provokes an unsettling response.


The Long Ride Home

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Synopsis

The over representation of First Nations children in child-care, stems from decades of suffering and intergenerational trauma. The infliction of these deeply stressing and disturbing experiences has led to dangerous coping methods, incarceration and often death amongst Indigenous populations.

A brave group of Natives leave on a nomadic horseback journey 600 kms through the Canadian praries. They come from different many cultures but are connected by their stories. With strengthening spirit and traditions, they attempt to spark change, bring awareness to large and growing numbers of missing Indigenous women, ’60s scoop survivors and, bring their children home.


Documentary History & Biography

Magical Imperfection

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Synopsis

“Magical Imperfection” tells the inspirational story of world-renowned Canadian architect Raymond Moriyama. Imprisoned in his own country during the 1940s because of his race, Ray found the strength to combat injustice by devoting his career to social justice and equality.


Mr. Berry

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Synopsis

In a seemingly endless career of 65 years and counting, students keep coming and Mr. Berry keeps teaching.


Take Good Care of Each Other: The Fred Penner Story

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Synopsis

Best known for his long running television series “Fred Penner’s Place” and hit song “The Cat Came Back”, for decades musical icon Fred Penner has been using his engaging personality and public speaking skills to excite audiences like no other.

He is a constant inspiration for his fans of all ages, but what is it that Fred really does for people? Why is Fred’s message and music more important than ever? How did Fred go from a struggling musician to the North American sensation dubbed the “Canadian Minister of Positivity”? How did difficult moments from Fred’s youth shape his life as a performer? Take this highly engaging journey to discover how Fred Penner connects with audiences and makes sense of the world.


Documentary POV (Point of View)

Biker Bob’s Posthumous Adventure

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Synopsis

When Bethany and Caleb Harding were walking along China Beach on Vancouver Island in 2016, the last thing they expected to find was a message in a bottle. It said, “Biker Bob. If you find me, turn me loose.”

Also in the bottle: Bob’s ashes.

On the back of the message, another note was scribbled in newer ink: “It seems like Bob was the type of guy who enjoyed a drink. I took him out for a beer, you should do the same.”

Throughout 2016, the bottle washed ashore three times. Each time, a different person took Bob out for for a celebratory pint, then tossed him back to sea.

But who was Biker Bob? And how did he end up travelling the West Coast in a bottle?

Biker Bob’s Posthumous Adventure follows the bizarre mystery of Biker Bob and his afterlife visits across Vancouver Island. It’s a truly remarkable story, with twists and turns – about a man on a motorcycle, a group of strangers who became friends and the enduring power of love.


Never Too Old

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Synopsis

Never Too Old follows 81-year-old PhD candidate Olive Bryanton as she navigates through the final year of her doctoral program at the University of Prince Edward Island. Governments don’t create policies without research. So, at the age of 76, she decided to head back to school to study how older women are ageing in rural P.E.I. Never Too Old, makes it clear that there is no age limit on potential.


Sadika’s Garden

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Synopsis

Sadika’s Garden is a moving and uplifting story of a group of Canadians, once refugees themselves, uniting to sponsor a Syrian refugee family of eight from war-torn Raqqa to Vancouver, completing the circle of generosity. Those who once received refuge now pay it forward to the vulnerable which leads to a miraculous dream coming true for Sadika’s daughter, Batoul.


The Mesdames of Mayhem

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Synopsis

Delve into the dark minds of a collective of murder mystery writers and learn of the creepy, sometimes twisted realities that inspire these women’s stories.

Every two years, a group of authors in their 50s-80s, combine their forces and write an anthology of murderous short stories. They call themselves The Mesdames of Mayhem.

While most fiction writing has historically been dominated by men, we see an exception with crime writing. The readership of crime fiction is mostly women.

So why do women love murder?

Through the stories of four Mesdames, Lisa, Melodie, Jane and Donna, we learn why women are drawn to the crime fiction world and how they restore chaos and obtain justice-even if it is just on paper.


Town of Widows

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Synopsis

In a factory town both sustained and poisoned by big industry, a growing group of widows, workers and family members fight for justice in a system stacked against injured workers.

Jim is sick of going to funerals. Roger has regular surgeries to keep him alive. Sandy still struggles to pay the bills twenty years after her husband died. Their town is sick, and they want justice.

The General Electric factory in Peterborough gave them good work and took them in like family, but ultimately may be responsible for a lethal legacy of cancer. They talk about the “snowstorms” of asbestos in the plant, the “GE smell” from the toxic soup of chemicals and the workers “dropping like flies” from cancer.

Their opponents are formidable ones. The compensation board is meant to support workers and their families, but it has denied hundreds of workers and widows and left others waiting for decades. General Electric is one of the largest companies in the world and no one, including the government, wants to run them out of town and see workers lose their jobs.

We watch as a town of widows and workers take on their own community, the government, an insurance agency, a multinational company – and see wins.


Documentary Science/Nature/Technology

Seals of Sable

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Synopsis

On the remote shores of Sable Island, we meet the world’s largest colony of grey seals – and the people who study them.


Takaya: Lone Wolf

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Synopsis

When a male lone wolf is spotted prowling a small, uninhabited archipelago just off the coast of Victoria, environmentalist and conservation photographer Cheryl Alexander is captivated. With her extraordinary commitment and connection with the wolf, Cheryl unearths a compelling seven-year tale of an animal that pushes the boundaries of his world — and ours. Takaya: Lone Wolf recounts the inspirational story of one animal’s resilience, adaptation and survival as he takes on the odds, and reveals that humans can coexist with apex predators that are often perceived as a lethal threat.

Fascinated by Takaya from the moment she first spots him howling at sunset. Amid widespread rumours and theories, she’s determined to find out where he came from, how he got to what’s known as Discovery Island and how he survives in his new marine environment — a place lacking any deer or elk to hunt and a year-round supply of freshwater. Another mystery is why, despite being a highly social pack animal, Takaya appears to have chosen to live a life of quiet isolation. Cheryl wonders what lies in store for Takaya in his solitary existence. That is, until she finds out a female wolf has been spotted on the edges of the city. And it looks like she’s headed for Discovery Island.


Under Thin Ice

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Synopsis

Under Thin Ice follows Canadian extreme divers and cinematographers Jill Heinerth and Mario Cyr on a journey to investigate how Arctic wildlife is adjusting to global warming.

The Arctic is a majestic world, home to wildlife rarely seen in the south: bowhead whales, polar bears, narwhals, walrus, seals, zooplankton, algae. At the end of each spring, after long months of darkness, the sun shines for 24 hours a day and all living species gather at the floe edge — where ice meets open ocean — for a feeding frenzy.

But global warming is threatening this ecosystem. Temperatures are rising and the ice sheet is melting at an alarming rate. In the last 40 years, more than 75% of the summer ice cover has disappeared.

Diving with whales, walruses and polar bears, Jill and Mario bring viewers into a majestic underwater world trying to adapt to ice loss and climate change.

Viewers will travel on ice floes with Jill and Mario to Tallurutiup Imanga (also known as Lancaster Sound) in Nunavut, Canada, where they will dive with belugas and narwhals in the open Arctic Ocean. They will follow them to Greenland’s Disko Bay to explore the underside of icebergs and discover the luminescent world of algae. Back to Canada in the Naujaat region, they will swim with walruses and polar bears, the supreme predators of the Arctic.

Filmed in stunning 4K, Under Thin Ice brings viewers into an awe-inspiring underwater world threatened by melting ice and rapid climate change.


Documentary Social/Political

Hockey Mom

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Synopsis

Fatma, a single mother from Syria, bravely seizes the opportunity to build a new life for her seven-year-old son Majed on her own terms. Hockey Mom is an intimate look at a Syrian family becoming independent from their sponsors and tells a larger story of a brave woman learning to trust in herself.


Humboldt: The New Season

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Humboldt: The New Season is a documentary that follows survivors of the tragic 2018 Humboldt Broncos crash. Two survivors return to play for the 2018-2019 Broncos, while others continue their recovery while still trying to pursue their love for hockey in new avenues. The film also follows some of the families of the 16 people who passed away in the accident as they grapple with their new reality while still supporting the survivors and the Broncos.


Nancy’s Workshop

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One Sunday a month, natural hair specialist Nancy Falaise closes the doors of her Montreal salon to lead a private workshop for young girls of colour struggling to love their natural hair. Step-by-step, she teaches them how to wash, detangle, style and care for their respective hair textures, and creates a safe space for them to bond over their shared experiences and forge meaningful friendships.

A lot can be gleaned from the relationship between these girls and their hair; this extension of their body, which they’ve struggled to accept, is the entry point for them to unpack, negotiate and recognize their perceived difference from their peers and confront issues of self-image and identity closely tied to race.

We get to know these girls as unique individuals with vastly different interests, ambitions and personalities, but all connected by a common thread. Their stories are all at once heartbreaking and hope-making, as we watch their self-perception and confidence evolve over the course of a single Sunday afternoon. As much as the film is an invitation to observe Nancy and these girls’ journey, it is also a testament to the immeasurable value derived from strong and empowering female relationships. What a difference a day makes.


What Are You?

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‘What Are You?’ is a short documentary that explores the lives of multiracial people as they reveal the struggles of living in a racially divided world.


Drama

Surrounded By Water

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Joan Morrissey lit up a room. Her powerful singing held the audience in the palm of her hand with her rich, bold voice. She was a lounge singer six nights a week and raised her six children all day and night too. She was born in 1933 in downtown St. John’s, Newfoundland and started singing on the radio at seven years of age. She was nominated for a Juno award, sold over 50,000 records and when a Toronto record company sent her a cheque for $38.00 she took them to court, insisting artists must be paid.

Joan washed her children’s clothes in a river, yet still managed to host eight TV shows for two local TV stations, performed live on Canada AM, where with Newfoundland bravado, she sang Thank God Were Surrounded by Water, to glowing reviews. Joan performed in Toronto and Nashville, and volunteered with the parent teachers association. Joan performed while pregnant and at times up until the last day before she gave birth. From Joan’s point of view, “I said I could do it and that is why I can. It is no more than folding laundry or baking bread. I always knew I could do it and so I do.”

She had withstood a court case with a national record label, a jealous and harsh husband, and a heart surgery that left her with severe depression. At 44 years of age, after singing ‘how great thou art’ to family and friends on New Years Day, 10 days later she ended her life. “Yes My Dear”, Joan would say, I will sing you a song…


The Will and The Wall

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When a US border officer is patrolling the wall, he forms an unlikely friendship with the Mexican boy on the other side.


Experimental

Clouding Around

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Able to fly, Maru the blue whale swims in the atmosphere high above to see the planet in its entirety. There, he is able to better soak in the waters of a cumbrous past, one divided in vile oddities and a dangerous, tempting sort of brilliance.


Ghosts

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An experimental look at 1960s psychedelic music, art, culture and the adverse effects of drug addiction, told through the voices of the era.

Quotes from interviews of famous artists, musicians, and filmmakers from the 1960s are mixed together, distorted and accompanied by a variety of experimental visuals that will form this journey into 1960s psychedelic culture. Creativity flourished in the early 60s as people began to explore the use of psychedelic drugs. As we progressed through the era, these blushes turned to addiction. The initial joy and ecstasy were gradually replaced by sadness and death at the hands of hard drugs. Ghosts, though paying homage to an influential culture, acts as a cautionary tale to the lures of addiction.


Performing Arts & Entertainment

Adrian Sutherland – Politician Man

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Politician Man, the debut single from Adrian Sutherland, is a protest song for Canada. The seeds were planted when his Cree community of Attawapiskat declared a state of emergency over contaminated water. Sutherland was inspired to write the song along with two co-writing partners, with Justin Stephenson (director of animation and editor, The Secret Path) coming on board to create the unforgettable animated video.


Daddy

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“Daddy”, a video collaboration between musician Leah Barley and filmmaker Nathanael Vass, is a narrative exploration of how domestic violence can be perpetrated against men. Told from the point of view of a young girl witnessing her mother’s physical and emotional abuse of her father, it’s the first in a series that explores the lasting trauma of intergenerational violence and the long journey of healing. The follow-up film, “Rise” (based on a song from Leah’s upcoming album), will pick up the girl’s story in her teenage years as she faces challenges in the foster care system and living homeless in Vancouver.


Take Down These Walls

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A music video for the song Take Down These Walls, composed by Brian Tate and sung by the City Soul Choir. The video stars deaf artistic sign language artist Landon Krentz.


The Move: Santee Smith

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Can you dance after breaking your legs? For Santee Smith, ballet was a form of rehabilitation. But she had to unlearn her classical technique to reclaim her traditional ways. Santee demonstrates the woman’s shuffle, which celebrates women as sustainers while illustrating the earth’s creation story.


Serial

Freedom Road

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Synopsis

Freedom Road is a five-part documentary series that tells the inspiring story of Shoal Lake 40 Anishinaabe First Nation and their battle to build a road, after their community was forcibly relocated and cut off from the mainland over 100 years ago, so that water could be diverted to the city of Winnipeg. Director and Shoal Lake 40 member Angelina McLeod uses an innovative, community-driven approach to storytelling that highlights the community’s dignity, strength and perseverance, as they take back control of their narrative and their future in the process of building Freedom Road.


Red Chef Revival

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Black Rhino Creative’s Red Chef Revival is a 6 x 22 minute food and travel series exploring modern Indigenous cuisine through the lens of three chefs. New York Times featured, Cezin Nottaway. Top Chef finalist, Rich Francis and Iron Chef finalist Shane Chartrand. Using food as their access point, the chefs discover a new path to reconciliation. Red Chef Revival features ingredients you won’t find in any cookbooks like bison heart, beaver tail, moose nose and cougar. More than a cooking show, this is a people’s story on a plate.


The Seven Wonders Of Manitoba

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When asked about Manitoba, most Canadians think of two words, flat and boring. But if you decide to venture off the beaten path, you’ll discover an amazing and diverse landscape, rarely visited by tourists. The land goes through many dramatic changes, as the rolling plains crash into the ancient mountains of the Precambrian shield. In the center of the province is a massive deposit of limestone bedrock, shaped into a mysterious network of caves and crevices. And along the eastern edge of the province, extending northward to Hudson Bay lies one of the last untouched wilderness areas left in the world, home to some of our country’s most iconic and endangered animals. This documentary series highlights seven of Manitoba’s most outstanding sites, focusing on their unique natural features, geological history, and the wildlife that inhabits them. On this journey, you will get a complete picture of Manitoba’s pristine natural beauty and discover some of our country’s best-kept secrets in the process.


Short Subject – Fiction

Solastalgia

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When the panic over global crises threatens to engulf her, Ava embarks on a vision-quest to put things in perspective.

SOLASTALGIA is a lyrical film that explores the anguish that climate change and a global state of uncertainty can impart upon the human psyche.

Ava, a mother of two young children, is bombarded throughout her day with news of global disasters. Over the airwaves, on the internet, overheard at a grocery store – cataclysmic stories of the effects of climate change steadily erode Ava’s inner peace. She acutely feels the burden of guilt for her entire species. She worries about her children’s futures. Her mental health is unwinding as she searches for solace and a new perspective.

SOLASTALGIA is a film that lies somewhere on the boarder of drama and documentary – essentially it is an ‘inner landscape documentary’ – a lyrical expression of the director’s internal world.

It utilizes non-traditional, stock and archival sources for some of its imagery – set to the formidable poetic verse of Tanya Davis (former poet-laureate of Halifax), and music by Russell Louder and Philip Glass. SOLASTALGIA places the human experience within the vast timeline of the earth, poetically evoking the idea that life has meaning with or without us.


The Bear & The Beekeeper

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An aging beekeeper tries to keep a pesky predator away from his beehives in order to keep the memory of his loved one alive.


Short Subject – Non-Fiction

ahkâmêyimo nitânis (Keep Going, My Daughter)

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A young couple living on Poundmaker Reserve, Saskatchewan, write a love letter to their daughter about their dreams for the future while still healing from the traumas of colonialism.


Guardians of the Grasslands

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Canada’s native grasslands are disappearing at an alarming rate – in fact, they are one of the most endangered ecosystems in the world. Guardians of the Grasslands is a collaboration between dedicated conservationists and local ranchers, which seeks to showcase how cattle continue to create hope on what’s left of these iconic landscapes for the plant and animal species that call them home.


Gun Killers

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Written and directed by Jason Young (Animals, Inside Time), Gun Killers takes us into the rural, secluded paradise that retired blacksmiths John and Nancy Little call home. As the tranquil light of a typical day of harvesting vegetables descends into night, we experience the secret work that John and Nancy are sometimes called upon to undertake for the RCMP.


Madhu Kumar’s Stories of Immigrant Women

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The voices of immigrant women are often isolated, even unheard. To give them volume, Regina artist Madhu Kumar shoots their portraits while using augmented reality to give the photographs an actual voice — all pointing to the challenges faced by the incredible people who are new to the country.


Student Productions

Playeros : Beach Workers

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Synopsis

We dream of going to the beach; Nelson wishes only to escape.
We want to go on vacation; Nelson wishes only to work.
While we are sleeping, he is awake.
By day, we see him walk past, yet Nelson goes unnoticed.


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