How to organize a #CanFilmDay viewing party in 6 easy steps
Choose your own National Canadian Film Day adventure
On April 19, Canada is hosting the largest single-day film festival ever — so grab a bag of popcorn and get ready for a movie night of national significance.
This year's event, scaled up in honour of Canada 150 celebrations, brings thousands of free screenings to every province and territory. (Many events are set to take place in unique and unusual locations!)
Want to join the massive audience? Here's your quick and simple guide to enjoying National Canadian Film Day, on your own terms.
WHO: Choose your company
Would you rather crack up with a cinema full of comedy fans or cozy up with a snoozing cat?
Your first step is deciding whether you're going solo, choosing an accomplice or gathering a group of movie-loving friends.
WHAT: Pick your movie(s)
Now that you've got your audience in mind, it's time to pick your flick.
Are you looking for something family friendly? Can you stomach a classic Canadian horror? With over 1700 screenings to choose from, there's something for everyone.
For its part, the CBC has curated a selection of critically acclaimed classics that will stream for free online.
- Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner (2001) Drama, directed by Zacharias Kunuk
- Away From Her (2006) Drama directed by Sarah Polley
- Incendies (2010) War-time drama/mystery directed by Denis Villeneuve
- Last Night (1998) Romantic comedy/drama directed by Don McKellar
- Manufactured Landscapes (2006) Documentary directed by Jennifer Baichwal
- Stories We Tell (2012) Documentary directed by Sarah Polley
- The Sweet Hereafter (1997) Drama directed by Atom Egoyan
And hey, if you've got the time, why not make it a marathon and watch more than one?
WHEN: Set your alarm
As much as we'd like every day to be Canadian film day, April 19 is the only day this year you'll have your choice of free public events across the country — however, the window's a little wider for enjoying our online selection.
On the CBC watch website, most of the films listed above will be available online until April 26.
WHERE: Decide on your location
If you're willing to venture off your couch for a wider selection, here's an interactive map detailing all the events taking place in Canada and other parts of the world. See what's happening where you are.
HOW: Lock down the details
Each public screening has its own start time, address and seating limit, so search by location and jot down the relevant instructions.
If you're keen to participate from home, visit watch.cbc.ca on April 19 to see one of the films being screened by the CBC.
WHY: Question what you know about Canadian cinema
Okay, let's be honest: unless you're already a convert, your interest in #CanFilmDay might hinge on the word free.
Still, something you see this year — whether it's a screening in the actual filming location or a movie powerful enough to influence a generation — you might just come away believing that Canadian cinema is worth supporting all year long.
Our friends at CBC Arts have made the case for homegrown film quite elegantly.
Their interview with filmmaker Kevin Funk takes a run at the "exhaustive narrative that Canadian film sucks, and is bad and broken." He wants to change the narrative to "Canadian cinema is great and you just don't know it."
In that spirit, we hope you'll sit back on April 19 and let the movies make their own case.