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Canadian Stories

A Documentary Film Series at the Embassy of Canada

Canada's National Film Board (NFB) and our many award-winning independent film makers have established Canada's stellar reputation in the world of documentary film. To mark the 85th anniversary of Canada-Japan diplomatic relations along with the 75th anniversary of the NFB, the Embassy of Canada has launched a new, monthly documentary film screening series.

The Embassy has teamed up with a range of partners including the Tokyo International Film Festival (TIFF), The JAPAN PRIZE International Contest for Educational Media, Tokyo Docs, Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival, Banff Mountain Film Festival in Japan, Short Shorts Film Festival and Asia, Sapporo International Short Film Festival and Market, Hiroshima International Animation Festival, and others to co-curate a line-up of films on themes ranging from the Arctic to education, musicians and thinkers.

Most of the screenings will feature a guest presenter to introduce the theme of the film. As Canada is also well known in the field of short films, a selection of shorts will also accompany each screening. The free screenings will be presented one Wednesday per month in the Embassy of Canada's Oscar Peterson Theatre. Advance registration is required.

Join us each month as we view life and the world through the Canadian lens and discover why Canada has earned global recognition for documentary excellence.

About the National Film Board of Canada (NFB)

The NFB is recognized as one of the world's great creative laboratories. As Canada's public film producer and distributor, it produces and distributes distinctive, relevant and innovative audio-visual productions.

Its works offer special insight into the diversity and vitality of our culture and are an essential part of our national cultural heritage. The NFB works in collaboration with emerging and established filmmakers, creators and co-producers in every region of Canada, with Aboriginal and culturally diverse communities, as well as partners around the world. Its international successes have garnered Canadian filmmaking unrivalled attention worldwide, affirming the excellence of the NFB's offerings. Since its founding in 1939, the NFB has created over 13,000 productions and won over 5,000 awards, including 6 Webbys, 12 Oscars and more than 90 Genies.

Its creators continue to break new ground in both the form and content of documentaries, animated films and multiplatform digital projects, as well as in digital and 3D animation.

About Canada and the art of documentary film

"Documentary is a uniquely Canadian art form that deserves to be celebrated as part of our national heritage. The world's first documentary, Nanook of the North, was made in 1922 near Inukjuak, Quebec. The term "documentary" was coined a few years later by John Grierson, who launched the National Film Board of Canada in 1939. Since then, Canada has earned a global reputation for documentary excellence with award-winning crowd-pleasers such as If You Love This Planet, The Corporation and Up the Yangtze and hosting one of the world's leading documentary film festivals, Hot Docs. Documentary is a form of expression reflecting Canada's vibrant perspective that we can claim as our own, while sharing it with the world."

(Kevin McMahon, National Post, May 5, 2012)

2014 Screening Calendar

Picture of Light

Wednesday, November 12, 2014, 18:30 –
(Doors open at 18:00)

Picture of Light
Director: Peter Mettler
Grimthorpe Film Inc., and Andreas Züst, 1994 (83 min.)
Language: English with Japanese subtitles

Picture of Light is a hallucinatory documentary tale which documents a filmmaker's journey to Canada's arctic in search of the Northern Lights.



China Heavyweight

Wednesday, October 8, 2014, 18:30 –

China Heavyweight
Director: Yung Chang
EyeSteelFilm, 2012 (89 min.)
Language: Chinese with English and Japanese subtitles

In central China, a Master coach recruits poor rural teenagers and turns them into Western-style boxing champions. The top students face dramatic choices as they graduate – should they fight for the collective good or for themselves? A metaphor for the choices everyone in the New China faces now.



Alphée of the Stars

Wednesday, September 17, 2014, 18:30 –

Alphée of the Stars

Director: Hugo Latulippe
National Film Board of Canada, 2012 (82 min. 33 sec.)
Language: French with Japanese subtitles

Alphée has a rare genetic disorder that hampers her development. Yet she continues to defy medical expectations. In a moving declaration of love for his daughter, filmmaker Hugo Latulippe and his family steal away for a year, focusing on his daughter's learning, so that she can integrate into a regular classroom when they get home.



Finding Farley

Wednesday, July 16, 2014, 18:30 –

Finding Farley

Director: Leanne Allison
National Film Board of Canada, 2009 (62 min. 49 sec.)
Language: English with Japanese subtitles

Film producers Karsten Heuer and Leanne Allison, along with their 2-year-old son and tireless dog, retrace the literary footsteps of Canadian writer Farley Mowat. This film depicts their epic 5,000 km journey – trekking, sailing, portaging and paddling down the same paths that Mowat took. You will experience what they experienced and feel what they felt.



The Wings of Johnny May

Wednesday, June 18, 2014, 18:30 –

The Wings of Johnny May

Director: Marc Fafard
National Film Board of Canada, 2013 (83 min. 54 sec.)
Language: English with Japanese subtitles

This feature documentary shines a spotlight on Johnny May, the first Inuit bush pilot in Nunavik – and a legend among his people. During the 34,000 hours of flight time he's logged, May has lived through extraordinary adventures and has had a unique view of the transformation of the Arctic from his perch in the sky. He has watched as the Inuit went from nomadic life to a sedentary existence, and as climate change has melted the permafrost. But one thing remains constant: May's deep love for his wife Louisa. Since his earliest days in the air, his plane has sported the same Inuktitut message for her: "Pengo Pally", which means "I miss you." The Wings of Johnny May is an airborne documentary that highlights a unique culture through the eyes of an exceptional man.




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