Celebrate National Canadian Film Day with 9 Hidden Gems on NFB.ca | Curator’s Perspective
April 17 is National Canadian Film Day, an “annual event held in communities all across the country to celebrate Canada through Canadian film.”
To help you celebrate in style, the NFB.ca programming team has put together a short list of bona fide hidden gems of Canadian cinema. We simply asked each member of the editorial team to choose a film they consider to be an unknown treasure, and explain why they feel strongly about it. So here they are: a few staff favourites that we think richly deserve your time and appreciation.
Happy National Canadian Film Day!
Mobilize (Emilie Nguyen, French Strategist, Social Media)
This short film, directed by the talented Caroline Monnet, is a breathtaking journey into the heart of Indigenous communities in Canada, from the Arctic to the urban south.
Mobilize, Caroline Monnet, provided by the National Film Board of Canada
Crossroads (Marc St-Pierre, Curator, French Collection)
His name is Roy. Her name is Judy. He’s Black, she’s white, and they’re about to get married. It’s the year 1957. Ten years before Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, this short fiction film challenged the existing racial barriers.
Crossroads, Don Haldane, provided by the National Film Board of Canada
Steam, Schemes and National Dreams (Felix Antoine Viens, Project Manager, Web Content)
The spectacular landscapes of Banff National Park are among the most recognized Canadian vistas in the world. This film tells the story of just how close they came to being controlled by private interests.
Steam, Schemes and National Dreams, , provided by the National Film Board of Canada
Land of the Heads (Alyssia Duval-Nguon, French Community Manager)
Reminiscent of Tim Burton and Henry Selick’s dark yet enchanting animated works, Land of the Heads tells the tale of a reluctant little vampire who’s forced to go out and behead innocent children every night to serve his mistress’s freakish whims. Gruesome, but adorable!
Land of the Heads, Cédric Louis & Claude Barras, provided by the National Film Board of Canada
The Pedlar (Albert Ohayon, Curator, English Collection)
A sad, wistful tale of unrequited love. This lovely fiction film, based on a short story by W.D. Valgardson, was shot in the breathtaking Interlake region of Manitoba and features sincere performances by the entire cast.
The Pedlar, Allan Kroeker, provided by the National Film Board of Canada
Whistling Smith (Jean-François Rousseau, Head, Social Media)
Another era, other moral standards? This short film chronicles the life of a tough Vancouver policeman as he walks the beat on Vancouver’s Eastside.
Whistling Smith, Michael Scott & Marrin Canell, provided by the National Film Board of Canada
Night Mayor (Hannah Martin, English Strategist, Social Media)
Set in 1939 Winnipeg, Night Mayor follows the story of a Bosnian-immigrant inventor who harnesses the northern lights in order to broadcast images across his adopted homeland. Strange and fantastical, Guy Maddin’s short is part tragic sci-fi, part alternate history of Canada. As Maddin says, “I thought Night Mayor could unspool luminously and infinitely in its own enchanted, and frequently visited, corner of cyberspace.”
Night Mayor, Guy Maddin, provided by the National Film Board of Canada
Runaway (Melissa Sauvé, English Community Manager )
Hop aboard this wild ride! Tucked away in our collection is a collab made in heaven. Cordell Barker weaves an on-brand zany story of a passenger train’s fatally awesome journey, set to an entrancing soundtrack by Benoît Charest.
Runaway, Cordell Barker, provided by the National Film Board of Canada
A Composer’s Dream (Julie Charbonneau, Coordinator, Digital Business )
This short takes a look inside Howard Shore’s studio—a serene and inspiring place. We get to see the great composer write, and hear him explain why his greatest source of inspiration is nature.
A Composer's Dream, Barbara Willis-Sweete, provided by the National Film Board of Canada