Incendies

Director Denis Villeneuve
Year 2010
Run Time 130min
Genre Thriller
A life in Canada, a secret past in Jordan. A dying mother (Azabal) in Montreal leaves separate letters to her twin children to be read once she passes away. Jeanne (Désormeaux-Poulin) is to deliver hers to the father the twins never knew, and Simon (Gaudette) is to give his to the brother they didn’t know they had. The siblings travel to the Middle East separately, where they uncover a startling and painful family history.

Incendies is the kind of film you’ll want to watch more than once. With intricate timelines and a family drama spanning two very different continents, the twists and turns of Denis Villeneuve’s celebrated adaptation of Wajdi Mouawad’s award-winning play are explosive, frightening and emotionally intense.

Winner of eight Genie Awards and nominated for an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film.

Director

Denis Villeneuve

Writer

Denis Villeneuve

Cast

Lubna Azabal, Mélissa Désormeaux-Poulin, Maxim Gaudette, Rémy Girard

Producers

Luc Déry, Kim McCraw

Genre

Thriller

Interests

BIPOC Stories, Global Experiences

Original Language

French

We all know about the terrible “brutality” of the Arctic seal hunt — or do we? Turns out there are other sides to this story: it's the story of families that need to be fed, the story of a hunting practice that began centuries ago and the story of a tradition that is central to the economy and food security of Inuit communities in the Canadian Arctic. Angry Inuk contains a story that’s over 4,000 years old.

The seal hunt is not exactly a laughing matter, but humour and technical savvy go a long way to debunk certain claims. Wryly tackling both misinformation and aggressive appeals to emotion, Inuk filmmaker Arnaquq-Baril equips herself and her community with the powers of social media — and yes, #sealfies — to reframe a controversial topic as a cultural issue in this 2016 Audience Award–winning Hot Docs hit.

Angry Inuk delivers important information about an issue we tend to think we know everything about, and delivers a powerful emotional punch.”
—Susan G. Cole, NOW Magazine

Director

Alethea Arnaquq-Baril (Inuk)

Arnaquq-Baril is an award-winning Inuk filmmaker whose work has screened on CBC, APTN, and at festivals like Hot Docs, imagineNATIVE, TIFF and many others. Her credits include the award-winning doc Angry Inuk, Aviliaq, Inuit High Kick, Tunniit: Retracing the Lines of Inuit Tattoos and The Embargo Project. She also produced the award winning film The Grizzlies, the 2022 film Slash/Back, and co-founded the Inuit production company Red Marrow Media. She is currently producing the documentary Twice Colonized.

 

Writer

Alethea Arnaquq-Baril (Inuk)

Producers

Alethea Arnaquq-Baril (Inuk), Bonnie Thompson

Genre

Documentary

Interests

BIPOC Stories, Environment, ESL, Female Filmmaker, History, Indigenous Filmmaker, Social Justice & Politics, Strong Female Leads

Original Languages

English, Inuktitut

Crash

Director David Cronenberg
Year 1996
Run Time 100min
Genre Drama, Horror, Romance, Thriller
Written and directed by David Cronenberg and based on J. G. Ballard’s 1973 novel of the same name, Crash tells the uncomfortable (and controversial) story of a group of people who are turned on by car crashes, a unique form of paraphilia.

After hitting Dr. Helen Remington (Hunter)’s vehicle in a critical car accident, film producer James Ballard (Spader), a man in an open marriage, and Remington, whose husband died in the crash, begin an unlikely affair that seems to take place exclusively in and around automobiles. While he is recovering, Ballard meets Vaughan (Koteas), a man who leads a bizarre subculture of people who fetishize car crashes, car safety tests and traffic accidents in general. As Vaughan’s unusual cult meetings intersect with their lives, Ballard finds deeper meaning not just in his marriage, but in mankind’s increasingly intertwined and disturbing relationship to technology.

Director

David Cronenberg

Writer

David Cronenberg

Cast

James Spader, Holly Hunter, Elias Koteas, Deborah Unger

Producers

David Cronenberg, Robert Lantos, Jeremy Thomas

Genres

Drama, Horror, Romance, Thriller

Interest

Cult & Offbeat Cinema

Original Language

English

Les ordres (Orders)

Director Michel Brault
Year 1974
Run Time 109min
Genre Drama
The most political film by legendary Canadian director Michel Brault, Les ordres is a clear, vivid docudrama depiction of the October Crisis, the 1970 event that saw martial law invoked after the abduction of Quebec’s labour minister Pierre Laporte and British diplomat James Cross by members of the Front de Libération du Québec (FLQ).

Following five individuals over those harrowing days, the film uses colour and black-and-white cinematography to blur the lines between fact and fiction. Brault’s masterful film treats the difficult subject with sensitivity and care.

This film won Brault the Cannes Film Festival’s Best Director prize and he remains the only Canadian filmmaker to achieve that distinction.

Director

Michel Brault

Writer

Michel Brault

Cast

Hélène Loiselle, Jean Lapointe, Guy Provost, Louise Forestier, Claude Gauthier

Producer

Bernard Lalonde

Genre

Drama

Interests

Classics, History, Social Justice & Politics

Original Language

French

Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resistance

Director Alanis Obomsawin (Abenaki)
Year 1993
Run Time 119min
Genre Documentary
In July of 1990, the Oka Crisis was a critical moment in contemporary Canadian history and a turning point for Indigenous affairs. That summer, as the small Quebec community was thrust into the international spotlight, master filmmaker Alanis Obomsawin spent 78 nail-biting days filming the armed stand-off between the Mohawks of Kanehsatake, Quebec, the Quebec police and the Canadian army.

This powerful documentary takes you right to the heart of the action, painting a sensitive and deeply affecting portrait of the people behind the barricades.

Winner of the Toronto International Film Festival’s Best Canadian Feature Film prize.

Director

Alanis Obomsawin (Abenaki)

Legendary Abenaki filmmaker Obomsawin has made over 50 documentaries on issues affecting Indigenous peoples in Canada, including Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resistance, Trick or Treaty?, Is the Crown at War with Us?, Our People Will Be Healed and Jordan River Anderson, The Messenger. Her most recent film is the short documentary Honour to Senator Murray Sinclair. Next, she is set to appear in an episode of Marie Clements’ Bones of Crows: The Series.

Writer

Alanis Obomsawin (Abenaki)

Producers

Wolf Koenig, Colin Neale, Alanis Obomsawin (Abenaki)

Genre

Documentary

Interests

BIPOC Stories, Classics, Environment, Female Filmmaker, History, Indigenous Filmmaker, Social Justice & Politics

Original Language

English

The Boys of St. Vincent

Director John N. Smith
Year 1992
Run Time 186min
Genre Drama
This hard-hitting miniseries was based on real events that took place at the Mount Cashel Orphanage in St. John’s, Newfoundland, in Canada’s largest sexual abuse scandal.

At the heart of this powerful film is a remarkable performance by Henry Czerny as Brother Peter Lavin, who transformed his own difficult childhood into a cycle of abuse and pain for others in his charge. Director John N. Smith grapples with this difficult subject with remarkable sensitivity and honesty, turning a dark chapter in Canada’s history into a thoughtful and affecting docudrama.

Director

John N. Smith

Smith’s credits include award-winning TV docudramas such as The Boys of St. Vincent, Dieppe and Prairie Giant: The Tommy Douglas Story, as well as numerous feature films, including Dangerous Minds, A Cool Dry Place, Geraldine’s Fortune and Love & Savagery among others. Sitting in Limbo won the Best Canadian Feature Film award at TIFF 1986.

Writers

Sam Grana, John N. Smith, Des Walsh

Cast

Henry Czerny, Johnny Morina, Brian Dooley

Producers

Claudio Luca, Sam Grana

Genre

Drama

Interests

Classics, History, Social Justice & Politics

Original Language

English

No Ordinary Man

Directors Aisling Chin-Yee, Chase Joynt
Year 2020
Run Time 80min
Genre Documentary

Billy Tipton, a 20th Century jazz musician became a trans icon after his death, and his legacy continues to be carried forward by trans artists to this day. Featuring a unique documentary structure, the film uses an audition session for a proposed biopic about Tipton as a jumping off point for a group of contemporary trans artists to explore what Tipton has meant to them, and to share stories about their own lives and experiences.

Also featuring interviews with Tipton’s family, Aisling Chin-Yee and Chase Joynt’s remarkable tribute to a misunderstood artist was named one of Canada’s Top 10 in 2020.

"Approaching Tipton’s story with the free hand of an improvised jazz set, No Ordinary Man is an elegant riff on a classic progression that arrives at something transcendent." - Jude Dry, Indiewire

Directors

Aisling Chin-Yee

Chin-Yee is an award-winning producer, writer and director. She has directed the shorts Sound Asleep and Synesthesia. Her feature directorial debut, The Rest of Us, premiered at TIFF 2019 and she is currently directing the series Plan B.

Chase Joynt

Joynt is an award-winning director and writer. His first book, You Only Live Twice, was a Lambda Literary Award Finalist. He recently directed Framing Agnes, which played at Sundance and Hot Docs, and he is starring in John Greyson’s upcoming film, Door Prize.

Writers

Aisling Chin-Yee, Amos Mac

Cast

Billy Tipton Jr.

Producer

Sarah Spring

Genre

Documentary

Interests

Arts and Culture, Biography, Female Filmmaker, History, LGBTQ2S+, Social Justice & Politics

Original Language

English

Anthropocene: The Human Epoch

Directors Jennifer Baichwal, Edward Burtynsky, Nicholas de Pencier
Year 2018
Run Time 87min
Genre Documentary

In 2016, scientists declared that the Earth has entered a new geological era, one that is entirely the consequence of humanity’s abuse of the planet. This documentary goes around the world illustrating the variety of ways that humanity has affected its environment.

In Kenya, authorities set fire to mounds of elephant tusks to protest the illegal ivory trade, resulting in a devastating display of the impact of poaching. In Russia and Germany, mining operations transform the land into an otherworldly wasteland. The unfathomable scale of the images created by these moments are equal parts beautiful and disturbing.

Following Manufactured Landscapes and Watermark, photographer Edward Burtynsky and filmmakers Jennifer Baichwal and Nicholas de Pencier conclude their award-winning trilogy with an urgent message to all the citizens of the world to see the consequences of our actions, before it’s too late.

Directors

Jennifer Baichwal

Baichwal and de Pencier are known for their CSA-winning docs, Manufactured Landscapes, Watermark and Anthropocene. They are frequent collaborators, with Baichwal directing and de Pencier as her cinematographer and producer. Their credits include The Holier it Gets, Act of God and Payback, and their newest film together, Into the Weeds.

Nicholas de Pencier

Baichwal and de Pencier are known for their CSA-winning docs, Manufactured Landscapes, Watermark and Anthropocene. They are frequent collaborators, with Baichwal directing and de Pencier as her cinematographer and producer. Their credits include The Holier it Gets, Act of God and Payback, and their newest film together, Into the Weeds.

Writer

Jennifer Baichwal

Cast

Alicia Vikander

Producer

Nicholas de Pencier

Genre

Documentary

Interest

Environment

Original Language

English

Subjects of Desire

Director Jennifer Holness
Year 2021
Run Time 103min
Genre Documentary

In this powerful documentary, filmmaker Jennifer Holness takes an incisive look at why our society enforces such impossible and conflicting beauty standards on Black women. The treatment of Black Women in our culture is rarely given the attention it deserves, but Holness uses the 50th anniversary of the Miss Black America pageant as a jumping off point to explore everything from the media’s continued reinforcement of damaging and reductive archetypes to the recent explosion of cultural appropriation trends.

Featuring a variety of interviews with beauty experts, prominent Black women in the media, pageant contestants and more, Holness doesn’t hold back from exposing the harsh truths about the world we live in.

“Both critical and celebratory, Jennifer Holness’ packed and penetrating documentary Subjects of Desire provides a superb overview of how Black culture has influenced, and been influenced by, contemporary beauty ideals from Civil War times to #BlackGirlMagic and beyond.” – Jessica Kiang, Variety

Director

Jennifer Holness

Holness is a director, writer, and producer whose producing credits include award-winning films Stateless, Guns, and Love, Sex, and Eating the Bones, and series like She’s the Mayor and Shoot the Messenger. She wrote and directed Subjects of Desire and recently received the Canadian Media Producers Association’s Established Producer Award, and directed an episode of the series BLK: An Origin Story. Next, she is producing the feature Rip Tide.

Writer

Jennifer Holness

Cast

India Arie, Jully Black, Alexandra Germain

Producers

Jennifer Holness, Sudz Sutherland

Genre

Documentary

Interests

Arts and Culture, BIPOC Stories, Discrimination, Female Filmmaker, History, Social Justice & Politics, Strong Female Leads

Original Language

English

Outrageous!

Director Richard Benner
Year 1977
Run Time 100min
Genre Comedy
Robin Turner (Russell) has long yearned to perform in the local drag shows that he does the hair and makeup for, and after a push from his roommate Liza (McLaren), he finally gets a chance to perform on the stage and wow the crowds. Tackling subjects like homophobia and mental illness at a time when both were rarely featured on film, Outrageous! is considered a landmark film for Canadian Queer cinema.

This cult classic was nominated for five Genie awards including Best Picture and Best Actor for Russell, who also won a Silver Bear at the Berlin festival for his performance.

Director

Richard Benner

Writers

Richard Benner, Margaret Gibson

Cast

Craig Russell, Hollis McLaren

Producers

William Marshall, Hend.rik van der Kolk

Genre

Comedy

Interests

Classics, LGBTQ2S+

Original Language

English