Just like its famously heterogenous neighbor south of the border, Canada is a giant mix of cultures and histories. Legacies both bloody and beautiful. Peoples peacefully co-existing or full of strife and oppression. Few countries contain such cultural multitudes in the same way.
Think of the First Nations peoples, the French-speaking Quebecois, Irish immigrants, Settlers, working-class Canadians still carrying with them traditions from their family's counties of origin. Canadian cinema too reflects this broadness. In trying to assemble a tribute to Canadian cinema, we knew we had to acknowledge not only this plurality of perspectives, but also the view Canadians of all stripes have of their own internal affairs and also of the world at large.
So while every film here is by a Canadian artist, not every film is about Canada. In Picture of Light, Peter Mettler takes a film crew to the Sub Artic to capture the wonder of the Northern Lights. While combining glimpses of the characters who live in this remote environment and the crew’s both comic and absurd attempts to deal with extremes, Mettler reflects upon the inherent paradoxes involved in trying to capture the natural wonder of the Northern Lights on celluloid. Back home in Canada, we encounter Fail to Appear and Never Eat Alone, two essential docufictions in the burgeoning Canadian hybrid filmmaking movement both perhaps not so coincidentally starring rising star Deragh Campbell. Meanwhile Connor McNally's ôtênaw is a film documenting the oral storytelling of Dwayne Donald, an educator from Treaty 6, Edmonton Canada. Drawing from nêhiyawak philosophies, he speaks about the multilayered histories of Indigenous peoples' presence both within and around amiskwacîwâskahikan, or what has come to be known as the city of Edmonton.
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