Canadian Film doesn’t really strike the most enthusiastic cord with audiences. The highest grossing film last year was a Québécois animated feature Snowtime — grossing almost $4 million dollars. Never heard of it? Well, you’re not alone. Canadian film has always struggled against our southern neighbours who generally have bigger budgets, bigger-stars and bigger egos.
Despite our homegrown cinema obtaining minimal funding, this hasn’t necessarily dampened the quality of Canadian film. Two films this year, both of which are Irish-Canadian co-productions, were nominated for Best Picture at the 2016 Academy Awards. “Brooklyn” and “Room” both were strong contenders for taking home the big prize, but both ultimately lost to the Catholic Church exposé American flick “Spotlight.”
There are many factors and opinions on the reasoning for the shortcomings of our domestic entertainment, but one thing that should be deeply considered before someone labels Canadian films as “boring,” “lame” or “cheap-looking” is that you actually have to watch them first before claiming an opinion.
That’s like choosing to never eat cheesecake because it looks bland (and if that’s true – you’re missing out.) Oh, and strange enough, all films are different. No matter where they’re made. It’s getting harder to generalize this form of entertainment because of how increasingly accessible it is for filmmakers to create their own films.
Watching Canadian Films is why National Canadian Film Day (NCFD) has been created. NCFD was started a couple of years ago by REEL Canada, which is an organization that has been introducing Canadian high school students to Canadian film for over a decade. It’s an annual event, and this year it’s happening on Wednesday, Apr. 20 2016.
The Hope Film Club is participating this year for the first time alongside our beautiful, retro host site the Hope Cinema. The film that has been selected is Sarah Polley’s documentary “Stories We Tell” — but don’t let a documentary scare you away.
Forget the Canadian documentaries you watched in high school (even though grazing moose are nice) — this film, almost impossible to describe without spoiling some of the subject matter, is unique, intimate, dramatic, surprising and poignant.
Essentially, it’s about Sarah Polley’s personal investigation into her childhood, her memory, and her family’s relations. If you don’t know Sarah Polley she is quite a well known Canadian actor, writer and director (following closely in the steps of her parents who were involved in the entertainment industry) and has become the subject of her film “Stories We Tell” as she discovers a dark family secret. So, support Canadian film (yes, with your wallet) because if you don’t then you’re really letting the Americans take over, only in regards to the box office, of course!