How to celebrate Canadian Film Day with CBC Gem
“In a time of such urgent concerns, movies can be a beacon of hope.”
On April 22, Reel Canada is celebrating the best of Canadian cinema by bringing actors and filmmakers to an online experience of National Canadian Film Day 2020.
Most of the curated 20+20 films can be streamed free on CBC Gem. Experience storytelling at its best with uniquely Canadian movies, connecting our country, in this special National Canadian Film Day collection.
After watching your favourites, join the interactive, all-night livestream on April 22, from 6PM–10 PM EDT with guest stars Sandra Oh (Meditation Park, Double Happiness), Ethan Hawke (Maudie), Yannick Bisson (Murdoch Mysteries), Colm Feore, and Vinay Virmani (Breakaway, Dr. Cabbie).
Hosts Peter Keleghan (Made in Canada) and Ali Hassan will lead discussions with directors including Atom Egoyan (The Sweet Hereafter), Mina Shum (Meditation Park, Double Happiness), Philippe Falardeau (Monsieur Lazhar), Mary Young Leckie (Maudie), and more. See the full schedule here.
Watch: National Canadian Film Day
Here are the films you can stream for free on CBC Gem:
Away from Her (2006)
Director: Sarah Polley
Awards: nominated for two Oscars and won over 39 other awards. It won seven Genies, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Screenplay, among others.
Based on Alice Munro's short story The Bear Came Over the Mountain, the enduring love story of a couple are forced to come to terms with Alzheimer's and the changes it brings to their lives, testing the bond they've shared for decades.
The F Word (2013)
Director: Michael Dowse
In this goofy romantic comedy starring Daniel Radcliffe and Adam Driver, follow Wallace, who's been burned by bad relationships and decides to put romance on hold. Of course, that's when he meets Chantry (Zoe Kazan), an animator who lives with her longtime boyfriend, Ben (Rafe Spall). Wallace and Chantry form an instant connection, but are both committed to staying "friends", which might prove to be more difficult than either one of them imagined.
Breakfast with Scot (2007)
Director: Laurie Lynd
Awards: Winner of the Directors Guild of Canada's Family Feature Film award.
In this family comedy, a gay couple working in the world of sports become the sudden guardians of Scot, a quirky and effeminate young boy.
Meditation Park (2017)
Director: Mina Shum
Maria (Cheng Pei Pei), the matriarch of a Chinese-Canadian family, finds that her workaholic husband, Bing (Tzi Ma) might be cheating. As Maria wrestles with what to do, she befriends a group of local eccentrics and a grumpy neighbour (Don McKellar) on her journey of self-discovery.
Director: Aisling Walsh
Maudie is based on the true story of Nova Scotia painter Maud Lewis, who overcame the physical challenge of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis to become one of Canada's best-known and most loved folk artists.
Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner (2001)
Director: Zacharias Kunuk
Awards: Atanarjuat won 20 awards, including eight Genies and the Caméra d'Or at the 2001 Cannes Film Festival.
Based on an ancient Inuit legend, Atanarjuat is an epic tale of love, betrayal and revenge. The beautiful Atuat (Sylvia Ivalu) has been promised to the short-fused Oki (Peter-Henry Arnatsiaq), the son of the tribe's leader. However, she loves the good-natured Atanarjuat (Natar Ungalaaq), a fast runner and excellent hunter. When Atanarjuat is forced to battle the jealous Oki for Atuat's hand, the events that follow determine not only his fate, but that of his people.
Director: Ashley McKenzie
Awards: Winner of the Toronto Film Critics Association prize for best Canadian film of the year.
An intimate portrayal, shot almost entirely in close-ups, that capture the disorienting world of two homeless, twenty-something drug addicts.
Director: Bruce McDonald
In a small Nova Scotian town in 1976, 15-year-old Kit (Dylan Authors) and his girlfriend Alice (Julia Sarah Stone) decide to hitchhike to the big city of Sydney to visit Kit's glamorous but unstable mother (Molly Parker). It becomes a journey of self-discovery that opens them up to new possibilities for their futures.
Director: Deepa Mehta
Awards: Nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.
Set in India during the rise of Mahatma Gandhi, Water recounts the story of Chuyia (Sarala Kariyawasam), a child bride cut off from society in an ashram for Hindu widows, after her husband dies suddenly. A film charged with hope and optimism, it follows Chuyia's attempts to escape with the help of her friends.
The Trotsky (2009)
Director: Jacob Tierney
Montreal high school student Leon Bronstein (Jay Baruchel) is convinced that he is the reincarnation of early-20th-century Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky. Leon sets out to change the world, start a hunger strike in his father's (Saul Rubinek) clothing factory, immediately butt heads with his new principal (Colm Feore), and resort to some extreme and hilarious tactics.
Director: Robert Lieberman
A hilarious action-filled comedy about a Sikh hockey player Rajveer Singh (Vinay Virmani) battling mockery from other teams and from his family that doesn't support his hockey dreams.
The Sweet Hereafter (1997)
Director: Atom Egoyan
Awards: Won eight Genie Awards and garnered two Oscar nominations for Egoyan.
A lawyer (Ian Holm) comes to a Canadian town where 20 children have died in a school bus accident, and coaxes each family to join the lawsuit. He finds himself squaring off against the lone survivor of the accident (Sarah Polley), battling against the power of long-held family secrets.
Director: Bruce McDonald
A Toronto rock promoter's assistant, Ramona (Valerie Buhagiar), is sent to track down a band that has gone missing in northern Ontario. Ramona recruits a pot-smoking cab driver (Larry Hudson) for the drive, and along the way, they meet a film director (Bruce McDonald) whose film's subject matter is dead animals on the highway, and an aspiring serial killer who just doesn't know how to get started (Don McKellar).
Director: Atom Egoyan
Retired veteran Zev Guttman (Chirstopher Plummer) is asked to fulfill his friend's dying wish: to hunt down a Nazi that has escaped capture for decades following World War II.
Director: Charles Officer
Jude (Karen LeBlanc) is a nurse and single mom struggling with health issues while trying to raise her son, Ciel (Daniel J. Gordon), a dreamy 12-year-old boy who loves music, magic and, of course, his mother. In the hospital, Jude meets Silence (Clark Johnson), a middle-aged boxer who is down on his luck but trying to turn his life around.
nîpawistamâsowin: We Will Stand Up (2019)
Director: Tasha Hubbard
Awards: Won the prize for Hot Docs 2019, Best Canadian Documentary.
This documentary follows the trial and aftermath of the shooting of a 22-year-old Cree man named Colten Boushie. After the white farmer who killed Boushie is acquitted of all charges, Colten's family and community are on a quest to fix the Canadian justice system.
Double Happiness (1995)
Director: Mina Shum
Awards: Sandra Oh won the Best Actress Genie for her performance. The film also won prizes in Vancouver, Berlin and Turin.
A vivacious Chinese Canadian wants to become an actress without upsetting her extremely traditional parents. Her secret life comes to a crossroads when her casual fling with a white graduate student might become something more meaningful.
Monsieur Lazhar (2011)
Director: Philippe Falardeau
Awards: Shortlisted for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar.
This is a touching story of an Algerian immigrant who is hired at a Montreal elementary school to replace a teacher who has died unexpectedly and tragically.