APRIL | NATIONAL CANADIAN FILM DAY
This month, we’re working with REEL CANADA to bring you a selection of films being featured on 2021 National Canadian Film Day, taking place Wednesday, April 21, 2021! With a focus on feel-good and inspiring films, this year’s programming will include free screenings, filmmaker Q&A’s, and community watch parties across the country.
Be sure to check canfilmday.ca for more event details!
THE BODY REMEMBERS WHEN THE WORLD BROKE OPEN
Director(s)/Writer(s): Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers, Kathleen Hepburn
Two Indigenous women from vastly different backgrounds find their worlds colliding on an East Vancouver sidewalk when domestic violence forces one of them, a pregnant teen named Rosie (Violet Nelson), to flee her home. Àila (Tailfeathers) swiftly offers her shelter, and as their intimate yet challenging encounter develops, the women weave a fragile bond, and must face their own unique struggles with the complexities of motherhood, class, and colonialism.
Winner of three 2020 Canadian Screen Awards including “Best Original Screenplay,” and “Achievement in Direction.”
THE GRAND SEDUCTION
Director: Don McKellar
Writer(s): Michael Dowse, Ken Scott
Director Mina Shum makes her foray into feature documentary by reopening the file on a watershed moment in Canadian race relations – the infamous Sir George Williams Riot. Over four decades after a group of Caribbean students accused their professor of racism, triggering an explosive student uprising, Shum locates the protagonists and listens as they set the record straight, trying to make peace with the past.
I’VE HEARD THE MERMAIDS SINGING
Director/Writer: Patricia Rozema
Aspiring photographer Polly (Sheila McCarthy) lands a job at a Toronto art gallery run by Gabrielle (Paule Baillargeon), who is also a painter. Polly is impressed with Gabrielle’s paintings, but as Polly gets to know her lover Mary (Ann-Marie MacDonald) and becomes entangled in their lives, she realizes Gabrielle isn’t exactly who she appears to be. Though timid on the outside, Polly’s inner life is rich and full of charming fantasies which Rozema brings to life in whimsical black & white sequences. The film won the award for Best First Feature at the Cannes Film Festival, and in 1993 was ranked as one of TIFF’s Top 10 Canadian Films of All Time.
Winner of two Genie Awards in 1988, including “Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role” for Sheila McCarthy.
Director/Writer: Anne Émond
Adolescence is a tough time for a lot of people. Take Juliette (Alexane Jamieson): On top of feeling misunderstood by her peers and her own family, she has to deal with her dad’s new bohemian girlfriend, her first crush on her older brother’s friend, and an increasing awareness that people see her as overweight. Good thing she has her best friend (Leanne Désilets), and a precocious young boy (Gabriel Beaudet) whom she babysits to help her sort through the tumult of coming of age. This humorous and heartfelt fourth film from writer/director Anne Émond wonderfully captures the awkwardness and the pain of growing up, letting go, and learning to love yourself no matter what other people think.
Nominated for the 2020 Canadian Screen Award for “Original Screenplay.”
LIGHT(S) AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL
Director(s): Victoria Anderson-Gardner & Sagi Kahane-Rapport, Bogdan Anifrani & Ranee Inez, Sara Ben-Saud, Dan Boos & Simon “Paul M” Mutabazi, Meegwun Fairbrother & Madison Thomas, Dylan Glynn, Mattias Graham, Christopher Grant, Alicia K. Harris, Andrew Huculiak, and Ryan Steel.
A series of eleven short films commissioned by REEL CANADA and Netflix from 15 emerging filmmakers across the country. Regionally and culturally diverse, these artists have won dozens of awards among them, and have been recognized by festivals and film institutions as some of the nation’s most exciting new voices. From intimate documentaries to sci-fi/action-comedies the films are a timely cinematic snapshot of the reality of the pandemic all around this year’s NCFD theme: Light at the End of the Tunnel.
Director: Ivan Reitman
Writer(s): Len Blum, Dan Goldberg, Janis Allen, Harold Ramis
Are you ready for the summer? This ode to summer camp is the ultimate feel-good movie and a true Canadian classic. It features Bill Murray in his first starring role as Tripper, a prankster and a flirt who can’t help teasing his boss and the counsellors at the nearby rich-kids’ camp. Everyone, including Tripper, is sick and tired of perennially losing the Camp Olympics. It’s only by encouraging all campers to try their hardest — including young Rudy (Chris Makepeace), who has self-esteem issues — that Tripper and his troops can hope to emerge triumphant. Full of wacky pranks, lively hijinks and a lot of touching moments, Meatballs is sure to entertain audiences of all ages. Meatballs won the Golden Reel Award for highest-grossing box office in 1980.
Winner of “Original Screenplay,” the “Golden Reel Award,” and “Actress in a Leading Role” for Kate Lynch at the 1st Genie Awards 1980.
THE SILENT PARTNER
Director: Daryl Duke
Writer: Curtis Hanson
When a mild-mannered bank teller (Elliott Gould) discovers that a shopping-mall Santa (Christopher Plummer) is planning to rob his bank, he decides to steal some money himself, and put the blame on the thief. It seems like a foolproof plan until he realizes he’s messed with the wrong Santa, and the unhinged thief begins to mercilessly hunt him in order to get the money back. Featuring an early appearance by John Candy and a tour-de-force performance by Plummer as an evil Santa, this ’70s thriller is full of unexpected twists and ever-escalating tension.
Winner of six Canadian Film Awards in 1978, including “Best Motion Picture.” Christopher Plummer also received a nomination for “Actor in a Leading Role.”
Director/Writer: Charles Officer
Growing up in a Community Housing Project, 12-year-old Francine Valentine always had difficulty expressing herself, until she found Art Starts, a program that encouraged her to record her story in her own words. Through her powerful voice, she gives a unique insight into the reality of living in her community, and the far-reaching effects of its recent gentrification. This powerful documentary by Charles Officer won Best Canadian Feature at the Hot Docs festival in 2017, and won the People’s Choice Award at TIFF’s Canada’s Top 10.
Nominated for two 2018 Canadian Screen Awards, including “Ted Rogers Best Feature Length Documentary.”
Director/Writer: Joyce Wong
An awkwardly humourous film about a lonely female security guard (Reid Asselstine) working at a deteriorating strip mall. Isolated and friendless, a glimmer of hope appears when a make-up salesman (Darrel Gamotin) shows her kindness, leading to an unexpected encounter that ends up having far-reaching implications for both of their lives. An empathetic and emotionally raw exploration of modern alienation and the search for connection, Wexford Plaza approaches its intimate subject matter with sensitivity and humour.
Nominated for the “John Dunning Discovery Award” at the 2018 Canadian Screen Awards.
YOU ARE HERE: A COME FROM AWAY STORY
Director: Moze Mossanen
Featuring: Beerly Bass, Reg Batson, Beulah Cooper, Diane Davis
What would you do if 6,600 people unexpectedly landed in your small town with no place to stay? For the 11,000 people of Gander, Newfoundland, this incredible event happened in the wake of the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington, when nearly 40 planes were rerouted and grounded there. This in-depth documentary shows how this town in Newfoundland came together to feed, shelter and support all of the stranded airline passengers for 6 days. With remarkable footage from the event, as well as interviews from a selection of airline passengers and residents of the town, this emotional and inspirational documentary tells the incredible true story that inspired the smash-hit musical Come From Away.
Winner of two 2019 Canadian Screen Awards, including “Best Documentary Program.”