Films

Pulp Friction

Pulp Friction is a documentary film about people, places and the global economy. The film looks at the lives of people living in the shadow of a pulp mill in three communities. It opens with Terrace Bay, Ontario, where the mill was spared the wrecking ball by an Indian multinational and people know how close them came to losing their town. Then, viewers are taken to Kemijärvi, Finland where the northern-most pulp mill in the world, and the community that depended on it, were not so lucky. The film ends up on Fray Bentos, Uruguay, a country without natural forests but where one million hectares of eucalyptus plantations feed an enormous modern pulp mill that is changing everything.  This is a story of globalization and how the lives of people on different parts of the world are bound together by an industry that knows no borders. The film is in English, French, Finnish, and Spanish. With mill closures a fact of life across Canada, this is a timely look at how the pulp industry shapes our world and impacts our communities.

The Big Blue

The Big Blue is a 65 minute feature length documentary about Canadian writer Charlie Wilkins and his 53 day, 5000 km voyage across the Atlantic Ocean with 15 crewmates aboard Big Blue. This is a 9 minute version to wet your appetite for more. You can purchase a DVD for private or public use here. You can watch our short films about the preparation for Charlie’s incredible journey on our vimeo channel bigbluerow. Charlie Wilkins’ book, Little Ship of Fools, based on the voyage of Big Blue, was published in September 2013.

In Security

In Security is a one hour documentary about barbed wire, a device invented with the cattle industry in mind, but adapted for use in controlling the movement of humans. Though silent, barbed wire speaks clearly of the turmoil of the twentieth century. Barbed wire both protects and attacks, and this film tells the story of lives that were forever changed by a simple technological innovation.

Under The Red Star

Kelly Saxberg directed Under The red Star a feature length docu-drama about the politics and culture of the Finnish Labour Temple. Set in the first decades of the twentieth century, with a cast that included over 200 extras and award-winning actors Jussi Nikkila and Elena Leeve from Finland, this is a different kind of immigrant story. The Labour Temple is the largest monument to Finnish immigration in North America. It now serves as a community centre,  but, among many other things, it was the birth place of Social Democracy in Canada, and one-time home to the Industrial Workers of the World. The events that took place in the Labour Temple both shaped Canadian politics and reflected the evolution of Canada as a country of immigrants. For a quick look at our promo trailer click here. You can also visit our blog.

Citoyens du monde:

A six-part series of one-hour documentaries about international development.

Une série de six documentaires concernant le développement international. Tournée dans quinze pays différents, cette série emmène le spectateur dans le monde de la recherche du développement et nous fait voir les problèmes dont font face les pays en voie de développement et des gens qui œuvrent afin d’enrayer ces problèmes.

Seeking Bimaadiziiwin

Reserve life, family problems and the death of a close friend push Kaitlyn, a young Anishinawbe woman, into a deep depression. Following a suicide attempt and a lengthy hospital stay in a strange city, she is encouraged by her psychiatrist to participate in group therapy with three other Anishinawbe youth. The four group members represent the four directions and the diversity that is found within Native culture. Reluctant at first, she and the others in the group begin to find strength and support in each other. They grow through the relationships built with one another and their culture. However, a series of events and losses continue to make Kaitlyn’s recovery uncertain. It’s not until she almost loses one of her new close friends, that she begins to see clearly how precious life is.

Le Printemps des Voyageurs

À travers l’aventure des voyageurs et la traite des fourrures, Le printemps des voyageurs traite de l’alliance des cultures amérindienne et européenne sur laquelle notre pays a été fondé.

Les historiens qui ont participé aux productions sont originaires du Québec, du Manitoba, de la Colombie-Britannique, de l’Alberta, de l’Ontario, du Wisconsin et de l’Oregon. Hommes, femmes, francophones, anglophones, Blackfoot, Américains, Métis. le multiculturalisme de l’équipe reflète celui des voyageurs et de leurs descendants qui sont au centre de l’histoire.

Les voyageurs et leurs familles métisses font partie de l’immense cohorte des petites gens auxquels l’histoire officielle ne s’intéresse que très peu.

Letters From Karelia

Letters From Karelia is a National Film Board of Canada production by Shebandowan Films’ Kelly Saxberg. It tells the tragic story of Aate Pitkanen: Father, Brother, Comrade, Spy. Pitkanen was one of thousands swept up in the exodus known as ‘Karelian Fever’, when almost 8000 Canadian and American Finns moved to the Soviet Union in the 1930′s. When capitalism went bankrupt during the great depression, they went to Russia to build a ‘workers paradise’. Within a few short years, most of those who stayed were either shot during the Terror or sent to the Gulag. During the Second World War the best and the brightest, like Aate Pitkanen, were recruited to spy on the Finns who, like the Germans, were attacking the Soviet Union. The film weaves history, politics and love in a tragic tale of idealism and betrayal.

Banana Split

Banana Split is an award winning film about the most popular fruit in Canada. The documentary examines the historical, social, economic, scientific and environmental aspects of banana production. Banana Split begins in a grocery store in Canada and takes viewers on a journey to Honduras to see where the fruit comes from. Along the way, Banana Split discusses the history, science and economics of the world’s favourite fruit. The film is both entertaining and educational. It was filmed in Thunder Bay, Toronto, Los Angeles, Montpelier (France) and Tela (Honduras). Banana Split is also available in English and French, it has a companion publication that can be downloaded for free and teachers can find a professionally developed Global Education curriculum developed for the Ontario grade 12 Canadian and World Issues course.

The Fatal Flower

A feature length silent film, shot by the Port Arthur Amateur Cinema Society in 1930, but not finished because of the onset of the Depression and the advent of “talkies.” The raw footage was preserved in the Library and National Archives of Canada until it was “discovered” in 2000. In an effort to pay tribute to Canada’s filmmaking pioneers and to learn the technique of silent film, an enthusiastic group of people interested in film history pooled their talents to complete The Fatal Flower in 2004. Their efforts paid off in the form of a 45 minute murder mystery complete with an original musical score.

Dorothea Mitchell: A Reel Pioneer

Dorothea Mitchell was born in Britain, raised in India and immigrated to Canada in 1904. After settling in Northwestern Ontario she became the first single woman to be granted a Homestead in Ontario, and became the first woman in Canada to make independent films. Along the way, she became known as the Lady Lumberjack and later distinguished herself as an author. A Reel Pioneer is a film about Dorothea Mitchell and the Port Arthur Amateur Cinema Society. Together, they made the first feature-length amateur film in Canada and their story, told through the eyes of Dorothea Mitchell, is brought back in the form of a historical documentary. Dorothea Mitchell’s story is an inspiration to women everywhere.

Rosies of the North
Rosies of The North was Kelly Saxberg’s first major documentary. It was produced by the National Film Board of Canada and is a film about the women who built airplanes in Thunder Bay, Ontario during World War Two. It features the story of Elsie MacGill, the first woman to receive an Electrical Engineering degree in Canada and the first woman aircraft designer in the world. Rosies of the North has been broadcast across Canada by several television networks. In it, women whose lives were changed by an opportunity to earn wages doing “men’s work” tell of their experiences.

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