June Film List
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
Based on an ancient Inuit legend, Atanarjuat is an epic tale of love, betrayal and revenge. The beautiful Atuat (Ivalu) has been promised to the short-fused Oki (Arnatsiaq), the son of the tribe’s leader. However, she loves the good-natured Atanarjuat (Ungalaaq), a fast runner and excellent hunter. When Atanarjuat is forced to battle the jealous Oki for Atuat’s hand, the events that follow determine not only his fate, but that of his people. Atanarjuat won 20 awards, including eight Genies and the Caméra d’Or at the 2001 Cannes Film Festival.
“I am not surprised that The Fast Runner has been a box office hit in its opening engagements. It is unlike anything most audiences will have ever seen, and yet it tells a universal story.”
— Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
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.
On August 9, 2016, a 22-year-old Cree man named Colten Boushie was killed by a gunshot to the back of his head after entering a rural farm property in Saskatchewan with his friends. When an all-white jury acquitted the white farmer of all charges, the case received international attention and sent Colten’s family and community on a quest to fix the Canadian justice system.
Sensitively directed by Tasha Hubbard, this profoundly affecting documentary weaves a narrative encompassing the filmmaker’s own family story, the history of colonialism on the Prairies, and a vision of a future where Indigenous children can live safely on their homelands.
Nîpawistamâsowin was the opening night film at Hot Docs 2019, where it won the prize for Best Canadian Documentary.
This powerful documentary series from VICELAND gives viewers a rare glimpse into the frontline of Indigenous-led resistance, examining Indigenous life through the stories of people in diverse communities who are working to protect their homelands. Several episodes of this urgent and timely show debuted at the Sundance Film Festival and were hailed as “persuasive and poignant” by The New York Times.
Sacred Water: Standing Rock Part 1 The residents of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation of South Dakota are fighting to stop a pipeline from being built on their ancestral homeland. In this absorbing account of the events leading up to the protests, Anishinaabe host Sarain Carson-Fox provides context and background, telling the water protectors’ side of the story as the conflict develops right before our eyes.
When her older sister vanishes from their Mohawk community, eight year-old Ivy (Delisle) joins her mother Susan (Moore) in a desperate search that lays bare the authorities’ indifference towards missing Indigenous Women and Girls.
Ivy and Susan’s journey to find answers is one that no family should go through, but their shared hope helps mother and daughter come together in love amongst difficult circumstances. Filmmaker Sonia Bonspille Boileau brings warmth and grace to this delicate depiction of a young girl forging a strong sense of identity while also contending with family tragedy.
Adolescence is a tough time for a lot of people. Take Juliette (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, and an increasing awareness that people see her as overweight. Good thing she has her best friend (Désilets), and a precocious young boy (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.
“It’s remarkable… Beautifully written, and sprinkled with laughter.” — MarcAndré Lussier, La Presse (Translated from French)
It's the summer of 1966. The sun is shining and the world is full of possibilities. But for 15-year-old Élise (Fortier), there are issues simmering beneath the surface of her happy family life.
When a shocking discovery drives her mother to leave the family, everyone is stunned. Amid the chaos, Élise decides it's up to her to take matters into her own hands and solve the problems. While her father and two brothers withdraw into their inner world, Élise is not discouraged. Trying to keep her family's troubles a secret, she discovers that no one around her has a life as perfect as it seems at first glance.
A tender and touching story of coming of age in difficult circumstances, Mommy's at the Hairdresser's is a film full of rich, vivid colors that are wonderfully evocative of hot summer days. It's not exactly the summer Élise was expecting, but it will be a summer unlike any other.
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
A rollicking comedy that takes place in a colourful version of Montreal’s Petite Italie, Mambo Italiano is the tale of Angelo Barbarini (Kirby), the son of Italian-Canadian immigrants, who has been teased all his life for being “different.”
At nearly 30 years of age, Angelo shocks his parents — and the entire community — by brazenly defying tradition: He moves out to live his own life despite not being married. Free at last, he falls in love with his long-lost childhood chum Nino (Miller), and the two move in together. They try to keep their sexuality a secret, while their families worry, suspect and scheme to set them up with nice Italian girls. It’s not easy being Italian and gay, and when the pressures of his double life begin to overwhelm Angelo, his reactions set off an explosively funny chain of surprise revelations, comic reversals and unexpected outcomes.
Mambo Italiano was nominated for six Canadian Comedy Awards.