• Own Voice

Continuous Journey

Director Ali Kazimi
Year 2004
Run Time 87min
Genre Documentary
In 1914, the SS Komagata Maru set out on a voyage to transport Indian immigrants to Canada. On May 23 of that year, the ship arrived in Vancouver with 376 Sikh, Muslim and Hindu passengers on board. Many of the men were veterans of the British Indian Army and believed that it was their right as British subjects to settle anywhere in the Empire they had fought to defend and expand. They were wrong – they were stopped from coming into Canada by the Continuous Journey Regulation of 1908, which excluded Indians and South Asians from being able to enter the country.  

This inventive docudrama explores the exclusionary politics, which kept the Indian passengers of the Komagata Maru sequestered at sea for over two months in this infamous standoff.  

A story of immigration and injustice, this beautifully crafted film shows historical footage in a way never seen before.

Director

Ali Kazimi

Writer

Ali Kazimi

Producer

Ali Kazimi

Genre

Documentary

Interests

BIPOC Stories, Global Experiences, History, Social Justice & Politics

Original Language

English

Canadian Distributor

TVO

Our Man in Tehran

Directors Larry Weinstein, Drew Taylor
Year 2013
Run Time 85min
Genre Documentary
In 1979, when the US embassy in Iran was seized by militant Islamic revolutionaries, six American diplomats managed to escape. They found shelter in the home of Canadian ambassador Ken Taylor and eventually escaped the strife-torn country, thanks to his efforts.

These events were fictionalized in the Hollywood film Argo, but this fascinating doc sets the record straight through archival footage and the words of those who experienced it, all culminating in the fantastical plan devised to smuggle the fugitives out.

“Sometimes, the truth can be more entertaining than fiction. If Argo was a high-stakes political thriller…it was also a simplistic and escapist escape movie about the power of Hollywood to defeat evil. So now…we Canadians respond with a documentary to reclaim our true story.” — Simon Houpt, The Globe and Mail

Directors

Larry Weinstein

Weinstein has received three Gemini awards for his work, including Best Direction for Beethoven’s Hair. Weinstein also directed the docs Mulroney: The Opera, The Devil’s Horn, Leslie Caron: The Reluctant Star, and Dreaming of a Jewish Christmas, and co-directed Our Man In Tehran. His latest, Propaganda: The Art of Selling Lies, premiered at Hot Docs 2019.

Drew Taylor

Our Man in Tehran was Taylor’s first film after careers in baseball and bio-engineering. He has also directed Lost and Found.

Writers

Drew Taylor, Robert Wright

Producers

Niv Fichman, Larry Weinstein, Drew Taylor

Genre

Documentary

Interests

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

Original Language

English

Language Version

EN CC

Canadian Distributor

eOne

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

Canadian Distributor

White Pine Pictures

Revolution

Director Rob Stewart
Year 2012
Run Time 85min
Genre Documentary

In this powerful follow-up to his acclaimed documentary Sharkwater, Rob Stewart discovers that sharks aren’t the only ones in danger — climate change has a devastating impact on human life as well. Striking and vibrant landscapes are juxtaposed with startling proof that significant damage has already been done. At the same time, Stewart finds immense hope in the dedicated and passionate youth whose efforts are changing our future for the better.

Director

Rob Stewart

Stewart was an award-winning journalist and filmmaker, whose docs Sharkwater, and Revolution earned awards at festivals worldwide. A tireless activist, Stewart was credited with saving a third of the world’s sharks. He tragically passed away in 2017, while filming Sharkwater: Extinction, which was completed posthumously and premiered at TIFF 2018.

Writer

Rob Stewart

Producers

Rob Stewart, Warren Needler

Genre

Documentary

Interests

Environment, Social Justice & Politics

Original Language

English

Canadian Distributor

D Films

  • Own Voice

Treading Water: Plight of the Manitoba First Nation Flood Evacuees

Directors Janelle Wookey (Métis), Jérémie Wookey (Métis)
Year 2014
Run Time 60min
Genre Documentary

In 2011, close to 4000 First Nation people in Manitoba were forced from their homes after artificially diverted floodwater swamped their communities to save the city of Winnipeg. Most of the evacuees, the majority from Lake St. Martin and Little Saskatchewan First Nations, checked into Winnipeg hotels, assuming they would return to their homes within a couple of weeks. Shockingly, nearly 7 years later over 1700 evacuees remain displaced and continue to be stranded in a political firestorm between First Nation band councils, the Manitoba Association of Native Firefighters, hotel owners and the federal and provincial governments. The displacement has triggered a rise in substance abuse and suicide rates. Plans for getting people home seem to be at a standstill. Interspersing intimate clips of everyday life with footage of heated political debates, this deeply intimate documentary tells the unexpected story of the real people behind the national headlines of the 2011 Manitoba flood.

Directors

Janelle Wookey (Métis), Jérémie Wookey (Métis)

Writers

Janelle Wookey (Métis), Jérémie Wookey (Métis)

Producer

Janelle Wookey (Métis)

Genre

Documentary

Interests

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

Original Languages

English, Other Language

Canadian Distributor

APTN

Occupy Love

Director Velcrow Ripper
Year 2013
Run Time 84min
Genre Documentary
This inspiring documentary captures the heart of a movement that is sweeping the planet in response to current global economic and environmental crises. The apparently fearless filmmaker Velcrow Ripper travels around the world to film a series of popular uprisings — the Arab Spring in Egypt, Spain’s Indignado movement, Occupy Wall Street — asking the question “Is it possible to understand these crises as a kind of love story?”  

This poignant documentary explores what Martin Luther King Jr. called “love in action,” searching for the meaning and importance of the love of humanity and of the planet.  

…the photography is beautiful, the scenes of crowds and their signs arresting, and the interviews with individual protesters — in Tahrir Square, Zuccotti Park, tear-gassed Oakland, and even melting Greenland — are often inspiring.” — Alan Scherstuhl, The Village Voice

Director

Velcrow Ripper

Writer

Velcrow Ripper

Producers

Ian Mackenzie, Nova Ami, Velcrow Ripper

Genre

Documentary

Interests

Environment, Global Experiences, Social Justice & Politics

Original Language

English

Canadian Distributor

Fierce Love Films

Painted Land: In Search of the Group of Seven

Director Phyllis Ellis
Year 2015
Run Time 70min
Genre Documentary
A must for fans of the Group of Seven and a great introduction for those who only know a few of their most iconic paintings. Painted Land weaves seamlessly the experiences of Lawren Harris, J.E.H. MacDonald, A.Y. Jackson, Frank Johnston, Arthur Lismer, Franklin Carmichael and A.J. Casson – with the adventures of three modern day sleuths. Historian Michael Burtch, and the writer and photographer team of Gary and Joanie McGuffin are determined to track down the precise locations of these famous paintings.

Archival film, letters, journals and photographs of the artists – some of which have never been seen in public – take the viewers back in time. This film weaves this history with a modern day adventure, up mountains, down canyon rivers and over portages with our trio as they try to achieve their own personal quest: to actually ‘walk in the Group of Seven’s footsteps’.

Director

Phyllis Ellis

Writer

Nancy Lang

Producers

Nancy Lang, Michael Burtch, Gary McGuffin, Joanie McGuffin

Genre

Documentary

Interests

Arts and Culture, Female Filmmaker, History

Original Language

English

Canadian Distributor

White Pine Pictures

Guantanamo’s Child: Omar Khadr

Directors Michelle Shephard, Patrick Reed
Year 2015
Run Time 80min
Genre Documentary
In 2002, when Canadian-born Omar Khadr was 15 years old, he was caught by American troops in a firefight in the village of Ayub Kheyl, Afghanistan. Affiliated with the Taliban at the time, Khadr was imprisoned for throwing a grenade that resulted in the death of an American soldier, despite his being a minor.

His subsequent detention at Guantanamo Bay, a harsh prison on the southern coast of Cuba, became the topic of a major political debate, as child soldiers have not been prosecuted for war crimes since WWII.

Guantanamo’s Child gives Khadr a chance to speak for himself on camera for the first time. More than just a stirring story, this documentary delivers an engrossing intimate portrait of how a teenager from a Toronto suburb became the first juvenile to ever be tried for war crimes.

Directors

Michelle Shephard, Patrick Reed

Producers

Peter Raymont, Patrick Reed, Michelle Shephard

Genre

Documentary

Interests

Biography, BIPOC Stories, Female Filmmaker, Global Experiences, Social Justice & Politics

Original Language

English

Canadian Distributor

White Pine Pictures

Status Quo? The Unfinished Business of Feminism in Canada

Director Karen Cho
Year 2012
Run Time 87min
Genre Documentary

Feminism has shaped the society we live in. But just how far has it brought us, and how relevant is it today? This feature documentary zeroes in on key concerns such as violence against women, access to abortion, and universal childcare, asking how much progress we have truly made on these issues.

Rich with archival material and powerful contemporary stories, Status Quo? uncovers answers that are provocative and at times shocking. A striking, in-depth documentary that pays homage to Canada’s feminist forerunners and raises important questions about where and how we should move on from here.

Director

Karen Cho

Writer

Karen Cho

Producer

Ravida Din

Genre

Documentary

Interests

Discrimination, Female Filmmaker, History, Social Justice & Politics

Original Language

English

Canadian Distributor

National Film Board (NFB)

You Are Here: A Come From Away Story

Director Moze Mossanen
Year 2018
Run Time 83min
Genre Documentary

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, when nearly 40 planes are rerouted and grounded there.

This documentary shows how this town in Newfoundland came together to feed, shelter and support all of the stranded airline passengers for 6 days.

With 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.

Director

Moze Mossanen

Moze Mossanen is a director, writer and producer who has created a body of popular and critically acclaimed work that have included a unique blend of drama, documentary, music and performance. These films include Dance for Modern Times, Year of the Lion, Roxana, and Nureyev. His 2013 doc, Unsung, won the Canadian Screen Award in 2015. His most recent feature doc, You Are Here: A Come From Away Story, was released on HBO Canada in September 2018 and won two CSA Awards including Best Documentary in March 2019. The film was also released in over 800 theatres across the United States in September 2019.  

Writer

Moze Mossanen

Producer

Peter Gentile

Genre

Documentary

Interests

ESL, History

Original Language

English

Canadian Distributor

Bell Media

What is Democracy?

Director Astra Taylor
Year 2018
Run Time 117min
Genre Documentary
An exploration of what the word democracy means, and how it has evolved over the years from its birth in Athens to its global impact in the 21st century.

Director

Astra Taylor

Writer

Astra Taylor

Producer

Lea Marin

Genre

Documentary

Interests

Female Filmmaker, Global Experiences, History, Social Justice & Politics

Original Languages

English, Other Language

Canadian Distributor

National Film Board (NFB)

  • Own Voice

Black Liberators WWII

Director Adrian Callender
Year 2021
Run Time 66min
Genre Documentary

Black Liberators WWII tells the heroic stories of Black Canadian and Caribbean soldiers who served in the Canadian Army during World War II. These little-known war stories reveal the amazing acts of bravery and patriotism of these soldiers, all while they faced the harsh realities of racism both at home and on the battlefield.

Director Adrian Callender invites audiences to uncover this history while paying homage to the individuals who fought for their country and their freedom. This ground-breaking documentary is an essential piece of Canadian history, ensuring that the sacrifices of these veterans are never forgotten.

Director

Adrian Callender

Writer

Adrian Callender

Producer

Elizabeth Trojian

Genre

Documentary

Interests

BIPOC Stories, Discrimination, Global Experiences, History, Social Justice & Politics

Original Language

English

From C to C: Chinese Canadian Stories of Migration

Director Jordan Paterson
Year 2011
Run Time 46min
Genre Documentary

Beautifully filmed in Canada and China’s Guangdong province, this fascinating documentary contrasts the historical injustices faced by Chinese migrants over the last century with the experiences of contemporary Chinese Canadian youth.

Focusing on past discriminatory immigration policies, the film reflects on the meaning of prejudice and exclusion to those who experienced it and those who did not. By calling attention to the diverse nature of contemporary Chinese Canadian identities, the film paints an inclusive and diverse picture of Canada as a nation.

From C to C was nominated for three Canadian Screen Awards, including Best Direction in a Documentary Program or Series.

Director

Jordan Paterson

Writers

Jordan Paterson, Paul Yeung, Denise Fong

Producer

Jordan Paterson

Genre

Documentary

Interests

BIPOC Stories, Global Experiences, History, Newcomer Stories

Original Language

English

Canadian Distributor

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC)

  • Own Voice

Unarmed Verses

Director Charles Officer
Year 2017
Run Time 86min
Genre Documentary
A thoughtful portrait of a community told through the eyes of an astute 12-year-old Black girl whose poignant observations about life give voice to those rarely heard in society. Winner of Hot Docs’ Best Canadian Feature Doc.

Director

Charles Officer

Actor, writer and filmmaker Officer’s first feature, Nurse.Fighter.Boy, was nominated for 10 Genies, winning one. Officer also directed the docs Mighty Jerome, The Skin We're In, Unarmed Verses, and Invisible Essence: The Little Prince, as well as the feature Akilla's Escape, which won five CSAs. He has recently directed episodes of Coroner, and executive produced and co-directed The Porter. He’s also the executive producer of the upcoming docs The Art of Dance and Emmanuel.

Writer

Charles Officer

Producer

Lea Marin

Genre

Documentary

Interests

Arts and Culture, BIPOC Stories

Original Language

English

Canadian Distributor

Studio D

  • Own Voice

Invisible City

Director Hubert Davis
Year 2009
Run Time 75min
Genre Documentary

A powerful documentary set in the housing project of Toronto’s Regent Park neighbourhood, Invisible City follows two childhood friends, Kendell and Mikey, who face many challenges while growing up in single-parent homes in the inner city.

Academy Award-nominated director Hubert Davis follows the two young men over three years, setting this intimate portrait against the backdrop of a community in transition: The Regent Park housing projects are about to be torn down and it is unclear whether the redevelopment will result in a brighter future for the residents.

Social pressures tempt the young men to make poor choices, while their families root for them to succeed. Davis doesn’t provide easy answers to the problems at hand. Instead, he shows the real uncertainty and unpredictability in the young men’s lives.

Director

Hubert Davis

Davis’s first film, Hardwood, was nominated for an Oscar for Best Short Documentary. He received the Don Haig award at the Hot Docs festival for Invisible City, and has directed numerous award winning commercials, as well as the short film Aruba and the 2016 feature doc Giants of Africa. His 2017 short, Rivolta, won a Cannes Film Lion. his most recent feature doc Black Ice, premiered at TIFF 2022. Next, he is working on the series The Count.

Writers

Sondra Kelly, Hubert Davis, Mehernaz Lentin

Producers

Mehernaz Lentin, Gerry Flahive

Genre

Documentary

Interests

BIPOC Stories, Social Justice & Politics

Original Language

English

Language Version

FR Subtitles

Canadian Distributor

NFB

  • Own Voice

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

Language Versions

EN CC, EN Subtitles, FR CC, FR Dub, FR Subtitles

Canadian Distributor

National Film Board (NFB)

  • Own Voice

Trick or Treaty?

Director Alanis Obomsawin (Abenaki)
Year 2014
Run Time 84min
Genre Documentary

One of the masters of Canadian documentary cinema, Alanis Obomsawin has spent decades chronicling the injustices visited on First Nations communities, creating a remarkable body of work. In her latest film, she digs into the difficult history of Treaty 9, the infamous 1905 agreement in which First Nations communities allegedly relinquished their sovereignty over their traditional lands.

Setting the film against the recent resurgence of First Nations activism (Chief Theresa Spence’s hunger strike and the Idle No More movement), Obomsawin interviews legal, historical and cultural experts — as well as people whose ancestors were present when the treaty was signed — to explore some fundamental questions about Canada’s relationship with our First Nations.

“Obomsawin’s documentaries inform, inspire and shock us. Trick or Treaty? is no different.” — Nadya Domingo, Toronto Film Scene

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

Annette Clarke, Alanis Obomsawin (Abenaki)

Genre

Documentary

Interests

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

Original Language

English

Language Versions

EN CC, FR Subtitles

Canadian Distributor

NFB

The Carter Effect

Director Sean Menard
Year 2017
Run Time 70min
Genre Documentary

Get ready to feel the “Vinsanity” with this unprecedented look at Vince Carter, the six-foot-six, eight-time NBA All-Star who made waves in Canadian basketball when he joined the Raptors in 1998. This engrossing doc chronicles his role in building the team’s profile and planting Toronto firmly on the world map.

Featuring appearances from Steve Nash, Director X, Mona Halem and Drake, as well as interviews with Carter himself, the film illuminates the thrill of the game and the complexity of the basketball industry.

An entertaining homage to a sports legend, and a love letter to Canada’s largest city, The Carter Effect captures the intoxicating mix of civic pride, music and diversity that makes Toronto so unique. The Carter Effect was nominated for Best Documentary at the Cleveland International Film Festival. 

Director

Sean Menard

Documentary filmmaker Menard has directed and produced several sports docs, including On the Line, The Perfect Storm: Story of the 1994 Montreal Expos and Exceptional Status. His first feature-length doc was Fight Mom. Most recently, he directed episodes of Sole Origins, and UFC 25 Years in Short.

 

Cast

Vince Carter, Drake, David Stern

Producers

Drake, LeBron James, Maverick Carter

Genre

Documentary

Interests

Biography, BIPOC Stories, History, Sports

Original Language

English

Canadian Distributor

Netflix

Long Time Running

Directors Nicholas de Pencier, Jennifer Baichwal
Year 2017
Run Time 97min
Genre Documentary

Long Time Running chronicles the emotional and epic 2016 tour that The Tragically Hip embarked on after iconic frontman Gord Downie announced that he had been diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. Intimate moments, behind-the-scenes and on-stage footage, personal interviews with the band and close friends reveal the heart-breaking final performances of that now-legendary final tour.

No other band encapsulated the rugged soul of Canada quite like the Hip, and it was completely in character for Downie – the everyman poet laureate of Canada – to go out on his own terms, with a powerfully galvanizing tour that delivered some of the most exhilarating performances of band’s history.

Long Time Running, named after a languid blues song from the band's second album, is both a history lesson and a eulogy for a group with 16 Juno Awards to its credit.” – Brad Wheeler, The Globe and Mail
 
 

Directors

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.

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.

Writer

Jennifer Baichwal

Cast

Gord Downie, Rob Baker, Paul Langlois, Davis Manning, Johnny Fay

Genre

Documentary

Interests

Arts and Culture, Biography, Female Filmmaker

Original Language

English

Canadian Distributor

Elevation Pictures

West Wind: The Vision of Tom Thomson

Directors Michèle Hozer, Peter Raymont
Year 2012
Run Time 95min
Genre Documentary

A visually stunning and thought-provoking exploration of one of Canada’s most famous and beloved artists, this doc delves into Tom Thomson’s art and life — and his mysterious death.

Directors

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.

Cast

Christian Golec

Producers

Peter Raymont, Nancy Lang

Genre

Documentary

Interests

Arts and Culture, Biography, Environment, History

Original Language

English

Canadian Distributor

White Pine Pictures