Documentaries

Watch top Canadian Screen Awards winning docs on CBC Gem

The yearly event, organized by the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television, recognizes excellence in Canadian film, television and digital media

The yearly event recognizes excellence in Canadian film, television and digital media

Powered face from Toxic Beauty, Fatma and her son from Hockey Mom, chained fist from Enslaved (CBC)

Congrats to everyone who brought home the chrome at the 2021 Canadian Screen Awards ceremony. Here are some of the top winners that you can watch right now on CBC Gem!

Hockey Mom

Winner, Best Documentary Award

When the Syrian war tore her life apart, Fatma moved to Toronto and fulfilled a years-long wish: she left her husband.

For two years, Fatma and her son, Majed, have been living with their sponsors in Toronto's Annex neighbourhood. Confident, charming and eager to try new things, she pursues a new identity as a single woman and self-professed "hockey mom."

But as Fatma thrives, Majed struggles. She moves to an apartment in a suburb outside of the city and encounters obstacles every step of the way. Fatma digs deep to take ownership of her choices and finds the courage to face them.

Sing Me a Lullaby

Winner, Best Short Documentary

In 1965, Tiffany's mother, Ru Wen was separated from her parents and never saw them again. 40 years later, Tiffany travels to Taiwan to try and find her grandparents — with just two names scribbled on a napkin.

What started out as a journey to piece together Ru Wen's past soon cascades into Tiffany's own yearning to understand her mother. This is a story about recovering familial history, healing inherited pain, and understanding that love comes in many forms.

Enslaved

Winner, Best History Documentary
Winner, Best Photography
Winner, Barbara Sears award best editorial research

Led by actor and activist Samuel L. Jackson, Enslaved sheds new light on 400 years of human trafficking from Africa to the New World. 

Through DNA testing which identifies his ancestral tribe, Jackson travels from the U.S. to Gabon for his induction into the Benga tribe, where they welcome him as a long lost son. 

Of the over 12 million African people trafficked during the centuries-long transatlantic slave trade, roughly two million died en route. Their lives, stories and cultural practices were lost to the depths of the Atlantic. Jackson recruits a group of African-American divers and historians to locate six slave ships that sank on three continents, drowning the enslaved humans aboard. 

The series celebrates stories of resistance, accomplishment and hope; the cultures left behind and the culture that we presently live in: one that, in many ways, was born in the bowels of those sunken slave ships.

Toxic Beauty

Winner, Best Writing
Winner, Best Direction

Each morning we slather ourselves with 1000's of chemicals, many of which are proven to be toxic. Toxic Beauty features scientists, lawyers, advocates, regulators, and politicians, following the class action lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson and the women who claim they are dying of ovarian cancer due to the use of their baby powder.

In a dramatic human experiment, Boston University medical student, Mymy Nguyen, measures her chemical body burden from over 27 products. Scientists monitor her shocking results.

Top researchers worldwide now have the hard science to answer the question 'Are cosmetics and personal care products making us sick?'

Takaya: Lone Wolf

Winner, Rob Steward Award (Best Science or Nature Documentary Program)

When a male lone wolf is spotted prowling a small, uninhabited archipelago just off the coast of Victoria, local resident, environmentalist and conservation photographer Cheryl Alexander goes in for a closer look. 

Over several years, she photographs the wolf, Takaya, uncovering where he came from and how he survives in his new island home — a place lacking any deer or elk to hunt and without a year-round supply of freshwater. She also wonders why, despite being a highly social pack animal, Takaya appears to have chosen to live a life of quiet isolation.

It's the inspirational story of one animal's resilience, adaptation and survival as he takes on the odds.

9/11 Kids

Winner, Donald Brittain Award for Best Social/Political Documentary Program

It's one of the most memorable moments from that fateful day in September, 2001: White House Chief of Staff Andy Card walks up to President George W. Bush and whispers in his ear: "A second plane has hit the second tower. America is under attack."

Sitting in front of the President were sixteen school children, all 6-7 years old, at Emma E. Booker Elementary School in Sarasota, Florida. They bore witness to the very moment a new American reality was born.

Seventeen years later, they are all in their mid-20s, trying to get their footing in a country and world shaped by 9/11. They are the generation of Google, smart phones and Facebook, but also cyber-bullying, global terrorism, and climate change. What happened to those kids? 9/11 Kids tracks them down to find out what they remember, what's happened since, and their dreams for the future.

She Walks with Apes

Winner, Best Editing

This is the epic story of three women who embarked on lifelong journeys to study and protect humanity's closest living relatives: the great apes. 

Jane Goodall, who left England to live with the chimpanzees of Tanzania and became one of the most famous scientists of our time; American Dian Fossey, who championed the mountain gorillas of Rwanda and, though she met a tragic end, made her cause legendary; and Canadian Biruté Galdikas, who went into the deepest jungles of Borneo to live among the orangutans.

Known as 'The Trimates', they also became powerful role models for a generation of young women around the world, many who were inspired to follow their lead as students, scientists and passionate defenders of our primate relatives. 

The Bee's Diary

Winner, Best original music

A portrayal of the life of one bee from birth to death, combining incredible footage with the latest science to capture the beauty of her world, the decisions she makes, and the drama that comes with being a bee.

 

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