Community·DOC SERIES

Absolutely Canadian series returns with a new season of Ontario-produced films and documentaries

Absolutely Canadian series premiers Saturdays at 7 p.m. on CBC Television in Ontario and the day before on CBC Gem.

Watch local stories by independent producers and directors

Absolutely Canadian airs locally on CBC Television and CBC Gem. (CBC)

Absolutely Canadian is a national series showcasing documentaries and performance programs that tell unique stories from communities from across Canada. This year's regional edition includes documentaries, short films and animations. Each film celebrates the unique stories from across Ontario, created by independent producers, directors and graduating student filmmakers from Windsor, Ottawa, Toronto and surrounding areas. CBC works closely with independent filmmakers throughout the region to produce this series.

Didn't get a chance to watch the local broadcast on CBC Television? Absolutely Canadian is available free and on demand on CBC Gem.

Find out more about each of the episodes in the 2021 season below.


Being Black in Toronto

Air date: Sept. 11 at 7 p.m.

Being Black in Toronto features five films from emerging directors that came out of the Fabienne Colas Foundation's Being Black in Canada mentorship program entirely dedicated to Black filmmakers. Documentaries from Being Black in Halifax and Being Black in Montreal will also be available on CBC Gem.

"The goal of our Absolutely Canadian series is to highlight diverse stories straight from Canadian communities," said Meredith Dellandrea, Senior Managing Director CBC Atlantic and Quebec. "These 14 short films from young Black filmmakers are a wonderful way to make space and give a platform to emerging, young creators."

Watch these five compelling films from emerging filmmakers in Being Black in Toronto:

  • MENGEDEGNA

By Bethlehem  Tsegaye
At the age of 12, Bethlehem who is of Eritrean-Ethiopian descent, migrated from sunny Addis Abeba to Winnipeg, Canada leaving everything, including her family members, back in Ethiopia to start a new life. This film looks into the experiences and obstacles she faced by moving to a big city all alone. It also reflects on mental health alongside photographer, producer, community organizer and Art + Health founder, Aden Abebe.

  • WE ARE HERE TOO

By Shani McKenzie
This documentary follows young, Black and talented artist Daniel G. Wilson as he discusses his rise to success and the tribulations he's faced in the process. Daniel highlights his many talents of guitar playing, writing and sound design all while showcasing his outgoing and captivating personality. Daniel shows the less represented side of the Black experience of being in the punk scene and making his way through a predominantly white industry.

  • MOVEMENT

By Uranranebi  Agbeyegbe
Movement is a story about the beginnings of Black Lives Matter in Toronto. Rodney Diverlus gives us a look into what it was like to be part of the inception of a global movement while also chasing his own dreams of becoming a dancer. Rodney takes us on a journey from his upbringing across North America speaking about what it means to be Black and Queer in today's world. While attending Ryerson University and getting involved with student organizations, Rodney realizes what it takes to bring about change in the world we live in.

  • FRACTURED

By David Peddie
This film features Kearie Daniel, Charline Grant and Claudette Rutherford, three inspiring Black female activists from the organization "Parents of Black Children." They discuss the issues Black students face on their journey through school.

  • PRISON BARS TO PAGE LINES

By Selina McCallum
Prison Bars to Page Lines is a short documentary that follows the honest, resilient and vibrant Simone Jennifer Smith. In the film, she relives her past to tell us how she ended up behind steel bars in Panama and serving five years of house arrest in Toronto.

Watch it on CBC Gem.

Being Black in Toronto features five compelling and personal documentaries from emerging directors in Toronto (Fabienne Colas Foundation)

The North Star: Finding Black Mecca

Air date: Sept. 18 at 7 p.m.

This documentary explores the stories of the Black community in the southwestern Ontario municipality of Chatham-Kent. This award-winning film documents the past and present of people who have helped shape this country but are often left out of its textbooks.

    The film has won awards at the Niagara Falls International Film Festival, Canada Shorts Film Festival and screened at many festivals throughout Canada and the U.S. such as the Seattle Black Film Festival, the Montreal International Film Festival and the Denton Black Film Festival in Texas.

    The film's director and producer Angel Panag told CBC Radio's Afternoon Drive host Chris dela Torre that the documentary captures the history of the area.

    Watch it on CBC Gem.

    Once known as "The Black Mecca," Chatham-Kent is a region in Ontario steeped in Black history. (CBC and Angel Panag, Julia Chase)

    Reel Shorts: Windsor

    Air date: Sept. 18 at 7:30 p.m.

    These six short films are produced by independent filmmakers and graduating film/broadcast students at the University of Windsor and St. Clair College. The films highlight stories about the legacy and Black history of Jackson Park, the ongoing musical ties of the local band shell, and one's creative process while exploring themes of identity, inclusion, acceptance and ambition. 

    The half-hour broadcast on Sept. 18 will include short films Journey Back to Jackson Park by Audra Gray and Katarzyna Kochany, Jackson Park Band Shell by Madeline Mazak, Jenny's Vision by Maria Belenkova.

    Watch CBC Gem for the full one-hour program also featuring Understanding Differences by Lourdes Lasala, Big Little Show by Gemma Eva, and Lethe by Adam Dunn, curated and produced by Windsor filmmakers and professors Michael Stasko and Theodore Bezaire. 

    Watch it on CBC Gem.

    Short films about people and places in the Windsor-Essex region by graduating film students and independent filmmakers. (CBC and Studio Films A Inc.)

    Stories from the Land

    Stories from the Land, a podcast dedicated to Indigenous storytelling, has been adapted into a documentary series by Wanderer Entertainment Inc. for CBC Short Docs. Watch the television debut of two of the episodes, Wiigwaasabak –The Tree of Life and Kay-Nah-Chi-Wah-Nung.

    Wiigwaasabak –The Tree of Life

    Air date: Sept. 25 at 7 p.m.

    In this documentary, Anishinaabe women share how the birch tree, its bark and the traditional crafts that come from this significant tree have transformed their lives. The documentary takes place in Fort William First Nation, Ontario.

    Watch it on CBC Gem.

    Anishinaabe women share how the birch tree, its bark and the traditional crafts from the tree have changed their lives. (Wanderer Entertainment Inc.)

    Kay-Nah-Chi-Wah-Nung

    Air date: Sept. 25 at 7:30 p.m.

    Kay-Nah-Chi-Wah-Nung is a sacred burial mound site in Northwestern Ontario. Part of a land claim in the 1980s and 90s, it's now a source of cultural pride among youth and elders in the community. The documentary takes place in Manitou Rapids First Nation, Ontario.

    Watch it on CBC Gem.

    This sacred burial site Kay-Nah-Chi-Wah-Nung is now a source of cultural pride among youth and elders in the community. (Wanderer Entertainment Inc.)

    I Am: Limitless

    Air date: Oct. 2 at 7 p.m.

    I Am: Limitless is a one-hour documentary showcasing stories from women of colour who pursue unusual sports in Ottawa. Watch how the journeys of these skateboarders and roller skaters intersect, where they find common ground and why finding joy on wheels makes them feel limitless.

    This film was produced in Ottawa, by Firegrove Studio, a collaboration between local filmmakers Mailyne K. Briggs, Hingman Leung, and Adrienne Row–Smith.

    Watch it on CBC Gem.

    Charting a path on wheels at the skatepark, these women's stories show us the possibility of being many things at once and not being limited by labels. (CBC and Adrienne Row – Smith / Strast Media)

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