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History/Politics

Kanesatake: 270 Years of Resistance

On a hot July day in 1990, an historic confrontation propelled Native issues in Kanehsatake and the village of Oka, Québec, into the international spotlight and into the Canadian conscience. Director Alanis Obomsawin endured 78 nerve-wracking days and nights filming the armed stand-off between the Mohawks, the Québec police and the Canadian army. A powerful feature-documentary emerges that takes you right into the action of an age-old aboriginal struggle. The result is a portrait of the people behind the barricades, providing insight into the Mohawks' unyelding determination to protect their land.

Hearts of Hate:The Battle For Young Minds

There is a war being waged in Canada for young minds. It’s happening on the streets and in the schoolyards, erupting in violence and hate. Hard times-and harder hearts-have brought simmering racist attitudes to the surface. The Heritage Front, Aryan Nations, Church of The Creator, and the Canadian Chapters of the KKK are all recruiting young people to their cause. The young recruits are not the unemployed working class teenagers that you might expect. They come from all social strata: squeaky clean suburban kids, streetwise skinheads and middle-class university students. What they share is an uncertain future in a world that is far more morally complex than anything their parents knew. Their solutions are often simple, violent and unapologetically hateful. They are looking for someone to blame. Today, the average age of a typical Canadian racist is 18 to 20. Hearts of Hate is a frightening wake-up call. Illusions of Canada as a peaceful, tolerant society are profoundly challenged. Exploiting new communication technologies, these bigots are no longer occupying the political fringe and are far from laughable. In fact, these young people and their racist mentors don’t look much different from you, or me, or our own kids.

Citizen Sam

Sam is running for mayor. Sam Sullivan was a local curiosity, the quadriplegic city councillor in a pinstripe suit, with a pipe dream of leading his shattered right-wing party back to power. Citizen Sam goes deep inside Sullivan's mayoral campaign to tell the remarkable story behind his rise from obscurity. As the campaign begins, Sullivan admits to giving addicts money to buy crack and heroin. His opponents call him a do-nothing politician and a nut. The media write him off while everyone tiptoes around the issue of his disability. 6 am. Sam is back on the phone, going over the day's schedule while he reverses the previous night's routine, into fresh clothes and then a precarious move from bed to chair. His partner, Lynn, adjusts his tie and leads him out the door to his first appointment, a radio debate. With unprecedented access, director Joe Moulins blends the rough and tumble of the campaign with intimate moments from Sullivan's daily life. A brutally frank and funny video diary counts down the days to the election. From war room to bedroom, Citizen Sam is an unflinching portrait of the one-of-a-kind politician who has become the face of Vancouver on the international stage.

The Third Element

Ben Viccari, media commentator, historian, and veteran journalist travels across the country examining the history and growth of Canada’s diverse ethnic media. From the earliest Icelandic newspaper in Winnipeg to a recently launched Burmese monthly, The Third Element provides an overview of how ethnic media shape the viewpoints of Canadians. Ben visits newspapers with vastly different environments. Most are family run and operate from home, while success stories include a newspaper in Vancouver whose publisher takes on multinational ethnic papers to reach staggering sales figures in 3 years! The growth of ethnic radio and television operations is portrayed with glimpses of programming by pioneering stations like CHIN Radio and OMNI TV. Set against the backdrop of history of immigrants in Canada, interviews with various editors and broadcasters reveal personal struggles and victories. A gala staged by The Canadian Ethnic Journalists’ and Writers’ Club shows how ethnic media celebrate successful writers and broadcasters with an awards ceremony. Join Ben on his journey to discover the expanse of Canada’s ethnic media landscape.

JOURNEY OF A DREAM

This revolutionary politically driven Rock-U-mentary is the first of its kind to put a spotlight on the hidden musical talents of his birth place Darjeeling that struggles to survive much less get noticed. Journey of a Dream takes a candid look into the lives of generations of Tibetan refugees in Darjeeling, Dharmsala, New York and Canada. Tibetans all over the world are politically, philosophically, and spiritually loyal to their history, culture which is what keeps the dream of a free Tibet alive for future generations. For Khymsar expressing his dedication and love for his occupied homeland Tibet through Heavy Metal, a musical form as complex and undeniably passionate as his own struggle, was a natural evolution. Journey of a Dream follows Khymsar’s return back to his birthplace of Darjeeling after more than a decade in North America. The breathtaking beauty of the Himalayas and the cities of Darjeeling and Dharmsala, home to thousands of Tibetans Still living as Refugees after more than 50 years outside their homeland, reveals the beauty and humble nature of an ancient nation living in exile for the first time in their history. After a life starting out in exile, Khymsar finally found a home in Vancouver and an opportunity to live his dream as a Heavy Metal musician. Directed by Shenpenn Khymsar

Aga Khan: The Voice of Reason

Born into a world of wealth and privilege, he devotes his life to eliminating poverty and inequality. A religious leader who traces his ancestry back to the Prophet Muhammad, he struggles to balance the traditional with the modern. His Highness the Aga Khan is the spiritual leader of Ismaili Muslims, a Shi’ite sect with 15 million followers around the world. At a time when Islam is at odds with itself and with the West, the Aga Khan represents a voice of moderation, speaking out for pluralism and diversity, and promoting dialogue between civilizations. But will he be heard?

Blockade

Blockade takes place in the mountains and valleys of northern British Columbia, at the heart of the boldest aboriginal land claims case to challenge the white history of Canada. The Gitksan and Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs claim that everything within 22,000 square miles, including the trees, is rightfully theirs. A lot of white people don’t agree. The Hobenshields are the sons of white settlers. After 60 years of logging and living in the valley, they figure they are about as native to this part of the country as you can get. Art Loring is a Gitksan, a wing chief of the Eagle clan. For 17 years he was a logger. Now he’s blockading the Hobenshield brothers’ logging crews from cutting trees on the Eagle’s hereditary lands. Down river, a white couple are building their retirement home on the banks of the Skeena. Thirty members of the Frog clan confront the family, evicting them from what the Gitksan consider to be their traditional fishing site. In the final scene of Blockade, the Gitksan try to force the government to the negotiating table. They blockade the economy of northern British Columbia - they blockade the Canadian National Railway, halting all shipments of coal, grain, and lumber to the coast. The environment is the final bargaining chip in this story, as Blockade follows natives and whites fighting for the clearest manifestation of self-determination: control of the land. This hardball, northern style, dramatically played out in logging towns and native villages across Canada, and in boardrooms and stock markets around the world.

A Tribe of One

“I will tell you once, but you must never ask me again.” With these words from her mother, Rhonda Larrabee discovered the startling truth about her family. She was not of Chinese and French descent, as she had been told while growing up in Vancouver's Chinatown. Rhonda’s mother was First Nations. Striving to preserve a legacy that her mother felt forced to escape, Rhonda struggled to piece together a hidden history. Her journey led to the life-altering day that she obtained her Indian Status Card. Today, as proud Chief of the New Westminster Band, she is focused on revitalizing the Qayqayt First Nations. With beautiful archival footage and compelling interviews, this documentary captures Rhonda's quest to embrace her roots and make amends for her mother's pain. As she works to restore the land, culture and pride of the Qayqayt First Nations, she becomes an inspiration to the generations that follow.

And We Knew How To Dance

And We Knew How to Dance presents a unique record of Canada’s ‘other veterans’. Twelve Canadian women, aged between 86 and 101, recall their entry onto what had formerly been a ‘man’s world’ of munitions factories and farm labour. As nurses and ambulance drivers they came dangerously close to the battlefields. Seldom seen archival film, and still photographs document and illustrate the loving recollections and memories of these extraordinary survivors. This film celebrates their wartime accomplishments and suggests that their commitment and determination helped lead the way to momentous postwar social changes for women such as voting rights and expanded opportunities in their working lives – changes that solidified the early gains of the women’s rights movement in Canada.

Tiger Spirit

Korea is a divided nation. The psychic scar shared by families divided during the Korean War in the 1950s is symbolized by the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) dividing communist North from capitalist South. Along this infamous border, filmmaker Min Sook Lee begins a revelatory, emotion-charged journey into Korea’s broken heart, exploring the rhetoric and realism of reunification through the extraordinary stories of ordinary people. Lee joins one man’s quest to prove the tiger, a symbol of resilience in Korean mythology, still lives in the DMZ. But Lee delives deeper than symbols, asking the crucial question—how will the two Koreas be put back together? In the South, we meet elderly Koreans waiting for news of relatives and young defectors haunted by memories of escape. In the North, we visit an inter-Korean economic project and gain unprecedented access to a state-sanctioned family reunion. An eloquent tale of longing and hope, Tiger Spirit is an unforgettable portrait of Korea at a crossroads
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