The Book of Negroes

Director Clement Virgo
Year 2015
Run Time 265min
Genre Drama

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 historical realities through the unblinking eyes of a strong female protagonist whose story will stay with you long after the telling.

Director

Clement Virgo

Virgo rose to prominence with his first feature, Rude, which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival and garnered two Genie nominations. He has also directed the films Poor Boy’s Game and Lie With Me, and hit TV shows such as The Wire, Regenesis and The Listener. He recently produced the show Greenleaf and directed episodes of Empire and Billions. His most recent film, Brother, premiered at TIFF 2022. 

Writers

Lawrence Hill, Clement Virgo

Cast

Aunjanue Ellis, Lyriq Bent, Cuba Gooding, Jr, Ben Chaplin, Allan Hawco

Producers

Damon D'Oliveira, Clement Virgo

Genre

Drama

Interests

BIPOC Stories, History, Literary Adaptation, Social Justice & Politics

Original Language

English

Margaret’s Museum

Director Mort Ransen
Year 1995
Run Time 116min
Genre Drama
Adapted from Sheldo Currie’s novel The Glace Bay Miners’ Museum, this poignant period drama looks at a small mining town in 1940s Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, where Margaret (Bonham-Carter) grows to despise the mines in which both her brother and her father lost their lives.

As she mourns her losses, Margaret meets and falls in love with Neil (Russell), a bagpipe player who is just as disdainful of the local industry as she is. While Neil vows to find work outside of the mines, it proves tragically difficult for the couple to escape the realities of living in a mining community.

This critically acclaimed adaptation — featuring Genie Award–winning performances by Helena Bonham Carter, Kate Nelligan and Kenneth Welsh — is emotionally intense and deeply affecting.

Director

Mort Ransen

Writers

Sheldon Currie, Gerald Wexler, Mort Ransen

Cast

Helena Bonham Carter, Kate Nelligan, Clive Russell, Kenneth Welsh

Producers

Steve Clark-Hall, Mort Ransen, Christopher Zimmer, Claudio Luca

Genre

Drama

Interest

Literary Adaptation

Original Language

English

Goin’ Down the Road

Director Donald Shebib
Year 1970
Run Time 90min
Genre Drama
Joey (Bradley) and Peter (McGrath) are best friends from a small town in Nova Scotia. With their seasonal work becoming scarce, they decide to pack up their meagre belongings and head west to Toronto, where they’re convinced better luck awaits them. Finding work at a soda bottling plant, the duo try to adjust to the decidedly different pace of life in the big city. A charming yet realistic portrait of a very Canadian experience, Goin’ Down the Road is known as one of Don Shebib’s finest films, and has landed on the Toronto International Film Festival’s Top 10 Canadian Films of All Time list for four decades in a row.

Director

Donald Shebib

Writers

William Fruet, Donald Shebib

Cast

Doug McGrath, Paul Bradley, Jayne Eastwood, Cayle Chernin

Producer

Donald Shebib

Genre

Drama

Interest

Classics

Original Language

English

The Hanging Garden

Director Thom Fitzgerald
Year 1997
Run Time 91min
Genre Drama
Growing up as a depressed, overweight gay teen in Nova Scotia was hard for young William, so he ran away at the age of 15 and never looked back. That is, until ten years later when he returns for his sister’s wedding, and must face the dysfunctional family and oppressive community he thought he had left behind.

A challenging, evocative and artful drama about coming to terms with one’s past, one’s family and one’s identity. The Hanging Garden explores how the choices we make can affect the future — for us, and for those whose lives we touch.

“The heart of the movie is its insight into the way families are haunted by their own history.” — Roger Ebert, The Chicago Sun-Times

Director

Thom Fitzgerald

Writer

Thom Fitzgerald

Cast

Chris Leavins, Kerry Fox, Sarah Polley, Joan Orenstein, Seana McKenna

Producers

Thom Fitzgerald, Louise Garfield, Arnie Gelbart

Genre

Drama

Interest

LGBTQ2S+

Original Language

English

Shake Hands with the Devil: The Journey of Roméo Dallaire

Director Peter Raymont
Year 2004
Run Time 90min
Genre Documentary
Canadian Lieutenant-General Roméo Dallaire was in command of the United Nations’ peacekeeping mission to Rwanda in 1994 when a bloody genocide erupted. Over the course of 100 days, more than 800,000 Tutsis were killed by Hutus, the rival tribe in their country.

Dallaire attempted to stop the killing by alerting the world through the United Nations and the international media. Though his attempts were unsuccessful, Dallaire emerged as a hero. Ten years later, Dallaire returns to Rwanda to personally commemorate the anniversary of that holocaust.

Winner of the Audience Award for Best Documentary at the Sundance Film Festival in 2005.

“Dallaire is not only the protagonist of Shake Hands with the Devil, he is a compelling reason to see it.” — Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times

Director

Peter Raymont

Raymont has produced and directed over 100 documentaries, which have earned more than 50 international awards. His producing credits include West Wind: The Vision of Tom Thomson, Guantanamo’s Child: Omar Khadr, and Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and The Band. He recently directed the doc Margaret Atwood: A Word after a Word after a Word is Power, and produced Buffy Sainte-Marie: Carry It On, which premiered at TIFF 2022.

Writer

Roméo Dallaire

Producers

Linda Lee Tracey, Peter Raymont

Genre

Documentary

Interests

Biography, Discrimination, Global Experiences, History, Literary Adaptation, Social Justice & Politics

Original Language

English

The Spirit of Annie Mae

Director Catherine Anne Martin (Mi’kmaw)
Year 2002
Run Time 73min
Genre Documentary

Annie Mae Pictou Aquash was a 30-year-old Nova Scotia-born Mi’qmaw woman and a prominent figure in the American Indian Movement (AIM) until her life was tragically cut short in 1975, when she was brutally murdered in South Dakota. Decades later, as the crime remains unsolved, her friends and family reflect on her life and what she meant to each of them. 

While remaining an intimate portrait of a loving mother and friend, The Spirit of Annie Mae also chronicles the history of AIM, and ways in which the government sought to destroy it from within.

Director

Catherine Anne Martin (Mi’kmaw)

Writer

Angela Baker

Producer

Kent Martin

Genre

Documentary

Interests

Biography, BIPOC Stories, Female Filmmaker, History, Indigenous Filmmaker, Social Justice & Politics

Original Language

English

Goon

Director Michael Dowse
Year 2011
Run Time 92min
Genre Comedy, Drama
A misfit among his brainy family members, lovable bouncer Doug “The Thug” Glatt (Scott) has a righteous left hook. His fighting skills are so strong, in fact, that he unexpectedly lands a spot on a minor-league Canadian hockey team, where his role as “enforcer” has him dropping gloves with opposing players to put them “on ice.”

Michael Dowse’s brilliant comedy is big on character and bigger on heart, sure to appeal to both die-hard hockey fans and sports-phobic audiences alike.

Director

Michael Dowse

Dowse’s credits include the cult classics Fubar, Fubar II and It’s All Gone Pete Tong. His film Goon was a huge critical and box-office success. The F Word won the CSA for Best Adapted Screenplay. Dowse also directed episodes of Man Seeking Woman, starring Jay Baruchel, the feature film Stuber, 8 Bit Christmas, and Coffee and Kareem.  He is currently set to direct the film adaptation of the video game Just Cause and is developing a series about the late Toronto mayor Rob Ford.

Writers

Jay Baruchel, Evan Goldberg, Doug Smith, Adam Frattasio

Cast

Seann William Scott, Jay Baruchel, Alison Pill, Marc-André Grondin, Kim Coates

Producers

Jay Baruchel, Don Carmody, André Rouleau, Ian Dimerman, David Gross

Genres

Comedy, Drama

Interest

Sports

Original Language

English

Wildhood

Director Bretten Hannam (L'nu)
Year 2021
Run Time 107min
Genre Drama

This remarkable second feature from Bretten Hannam follows two-spirit Mi’kmaw teenager Link (Lewitski) on a remarkable journey of self discovery set against the gorgeous backdrop of the Annapolis Valley. After finding out that his estranged mother may be alive, Link and his brother (Winters-Anthony) escape from their abusive father and set out to find her, helped along their way by Pasmay (Odjick), a young drifter who helps Link come to terms with his newfound sexuality.

Adapted from Hannam’s award-winning short film Wildfire, this realistic coming of age story is full of hope, love and heartbreak, and is a bold addition to the new wave of Indigenous filmmaking.

“Brettan Hannam's glorious first feature catapults him into the pantheon of filmmakers to watch.” – Frank J. Avella, Edge Media Network

Director

Bretten Hannam (L'nu)

Writer

Bretten Hannam (L'nu)

Cast

Phillip Lewitski (Mohawk), Joshua Odjick (Algonquin/Anishinaabe), Avery Winters-Anthony, Michael Greyeyes (Plains Cree)

Producers

Gharrett Patrick Paon, Julie Baldassi, Bretten Hannam (L'nu)

Genre

Drama

Interests

BIPOC Stories, Indigenous Filmmaker, LGBTQ2S+

Original Languages

English, Other Language

There’s Something in the Water

Directors Elliot Page, Ian Daniel
Year 2019
Run Time 73min
Genre Documentary
The term “environmental racism” may be unfamiliar to many, but its meaning is fairly literal. It refers to the discrimination minorities face when they are subjected to toxic levels of pollution, often because factories or waste sites are placed near their communities. 

Elliot Page brings attention to these injustices in her home province of Nova Scotia in this urgent documentary about women fighting to protect their communities, their land, and their futures.

Page travels to rural areas of the province that are plagued by toxic fallout from industrial development, discovering that these catastrophes have been precisely placed, all in remote, low income — and very often Indigenous or Black — communities. As the filmmakers observe, your postal code determines your health.
 

Directors

Elliot Page, Ian Daniel

Producers

Elliot Page, Ian Daniel, Julia Sanderson, Ingrid Waldron

Genre

Documentary

Interests

Environment, Global Experiences, Social Justice & Politics

Original Language

English

Werewolf

Director Ashley McKenzie
Year 2016
Run Time 80min
Genre Drama

The difficult existence of a pair of homeless drug addicts is shown with harsh honesty and surprising sensitivity in McKenzie’s highly acclaimed debut feature. Shot almost entirely in close-ups that capture the disorienting world these characters inhabit, McKenzie teases out intimate and intense performances that inspire empathy as well as concern.

Werewolf’s stark filmmaking never romanticizes the lives of junkies Blaise (Andrew Gillis) and Vanessa (Bhreagh MacNeil), preferring instead to capture the frustration and futility of their lives with a startling power.

Werewolf won the Toronto Film Critics Association prize for best Canadian film of the year.

“In plumbing the pitch black, Werewolf offers the distinct hope of a brighter future – at least, a brighter future for Canadian cinema.” – Barry Hertz, The Globe and Mail

Director

Ashley McKenzie

Writer

Ashley McKenzie

Cast

Andrew Gillis, Bhreagh MacNeil

Producer

Ashley McKenzie

Genre

Drama

Interests

BIPOC Stories, Female Filmmaker

Original Language

English