We paired 5 Canadian videographers with the 5 Canada Reads books. Here's what they made.

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We asked five talented Canadian videographers to make trailers for the Canada Reads books. Watch their work below!


1. Birdie by Tracey Lindberg
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Narrated by Jennifer Podemski

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Videographer: Sonya Ballantyne (Winnipeg) is a Cree emerging filmmaker, originally from Misipawstik Cree Nation in northern Manitoba. Her work focuses on aboriginal women and girls in non-traditional genres. A self-described "huge nerd," Sonya estimates that she reads 50 books per year.

Vision: "What drew me in about the book was how Birdie is in two worlds trying to navigate them both. She is on the rez and in the city, in her dreams and in reality. I liked the idea of putting her both in that urban setting and in a rural setting. I really wanted to capture how Birdie's path doesn't end at the last page of the book. She is going to continue. It's a great message for how resilient she is as a character."

Something to watch for: "My favourite thing about the trailer was getting a Cree person to play the Cree character. My sister Kerri, who plays Birdie, fits a lot of the descriptions of Bernice herself and it was really important to me to have Bernice be played by a Cree person. Cree women are rarely represented in media and so I wanted to make sure that they were represented here!"


2. Bone and Bread by Saleema Nawaz

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Narrated by Laara Sadiq

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Videographer: Pablo Aravena (Montreal) is a filmmaker and street art curator, best known for his graffiti documentary NEXT: A Primer on Urban Painting, which was co-produced with French fashion designer agn├Ęs b. He is presently interested in exploring the multiple dimensions of urban culture through fiction and documentary filmmaking.

Vision: "I wanted to explore what Beena is going through in a more expressionistic way. I wanted to capture her struggles with her past, and the contradictions in terms of identity that children coming from bi-cultural or immigrant origins experience. So the idea of the projections of her memories on her became the mainstay of the piece."

Something to watch for: "My favourite moments in the trailer are when we see Beena for the first time through the coffee shop window, and the camera lock when we see a ghostly Beena fade in the Mile End neighbourhood to represent her past there. It establishes a character and a place in two shots."


3. The Hero's Walk by Anita Rau Badami

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Narrated by Malika Mendez

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Videographer: Mangla Bansal (Vancouver), or "M" as she is more commonly known, is a filmmaker whose passion is storytelling. Her short film SINDOOR won the 2008 City of Vancouver Emerging Artist in Film and New Media award and played in film festivals around the world. Mangla has worked behind the scenes on reality TV, motion pictures, TV news and corporate and community projects.

Vision: "Anita Rau Badami did such a wonderful job setting the scenes and creating amazing characters. Both the grandfather and granddaughter's stories were so fascinating - my goal was to capture the story and to really show the emotions they felt throughout the book."

Something to watch for: "The shot of the granddaughter taking her grandfather's hand is my favourite - it's innocent and emotional at the same time."


4The Illegal by Lawrence Hill

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Narrated by Damon D'Oliveira

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Videographer: Kobina Ntiri (Toronto) is originally from Ghana but grew up in Toronto. He got into film about five years ago. Projects he has directed include the short documentary Lady. C and the 2012 Cannes Short Film Corner selection Fading.

Vision: "My intention was to metaphorically capture Keita's journey. The book kept me engaged from beginning to end, and I wanted to somehow, artistically, give the audience the same feeling within 40 seconds."


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5. Minister Without Portfolio by Michael Winter

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Narrated by Brad Hodder

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Videographer: Ben Smith (St. John's) graduated from Sheridan College's Advanced Film and Television program, where he excelled in post-production. After stints as a film editor and teacher, he returned to the private sector and has been working as a director of photography and studio manager for a local production company for the past six years.

Vision: "Without revealing too much, I was hoping to capture the conflict and hardship in the main character, and show that there may be a light at the end of the tunnel."

Something to watch for: "My favourite moment of the trailer is of the man silhouetted, leaving the darkness."

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