A special film presentation from the NFB Film Club available to watch for free online until July 31st, 2021 - We Were Children
WARNING: this film contains disturbing content and is recommended for audiences 16 years of age and older. Parental discretion, and/or watching this film within a group setting, is strongly advised. If you require emotional support or assistance, please call the 24-hour Indian Residential Schools Crisis Line at 1-866-925-4419, or the Indian Residential School Survivors Society toll free line at 1-800-721-0066.
- Hope for Wellness Help Line for First Nations and Inuit Communities - Phone & chat available in English and French; phone counselling available in Cree, Ojibway, and Inuktitut on request; Toll free: 1-855-242-3310 or Online chat
- Crisis Services Canada - Call: 1-866-456-4566 or Text: 45645
Directed by Tim Wolochatiuk
2012 | 1 hour 23 min
This film deals with mature subject matter. View discretion is advised.
In this feature film, the profound impact of the Canadian government’s residential school system is conveyed through the eyes of two children who were forced to face hardships beyond their years. As young children, Lyna and Glen were taken from their homes and placed in church-run boarding schools, where they suffered years of physical, sexual and emotional abuse, the effects of which persist in their adult lives. We Were Children gives voice to a national tragedy and demonstrates the incredible resilience of the human spirit.
National Indigenous History Month
In June, we commemorate National Indigenous History Month 2021 to recognize the history, heritage and diversity of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples in Canada.
- from Government of Canada
Explore these free films from the NFB that celebrate National Indigenous History Month and culture in Canada and beyond. Learn about celebrations, identity, and much more from these filmmakers and their work.
Directed by Melaw Nakehk’o
Filmmaker/activist Melaw Nakehk’o has spent the pandemic with her family at a remote land camp in the Northwest Territories, “getting wood, listening to the wind, staying warm and dry, and watching the sun move across the sky.” In documenting camp life—activities like making fish leather and scraping moose hide—she anchors the COVID experience in a specific time and place.
Directed by Cole Forrest
Afraid he would not see his community again Cole Forrest returns to North Bay from his current residence in Toronto. During his stay he confronts his fears and reconnects with his ancestors. Nbi means water and in the time of this pandemic, it is the lake, medicine, berries, and the land that he looks to for guidance.
Directed by Alexandra Lazarowich
Cree director Alexandra Lazarowich riffs off classic verité cinema to craft a contemporary portrait of Métis women net fishing in Northern Alberta.
Directed by Ryan Ward
In this haunting and visually stunning fairy tale-drama, two First Nations children struggle to find their way back to a home that may be lost forever.
Directed by Kent Monkman
In a pounding critique of Canada's colonial history, this short film draws parallels between the annihilation of the bison in the 1890s and the devastation inflicted on the Indigenous population by the residential school system.
Directed by Michael Kanentakeron Mitchell
This short film was created by a group of Indigenous filmmakers at the NFB in 1972 and is essentially a song by Willie Dunn sung by Bob Charlie and illustrated by John Fadden: "Who were the ones who bid you welcome and took you by the hand, inviting you here by our campfires, as brothers we might stand?"
The song expresses bitter memories of the past, of trust repaid by treachery, and of friendship debased by exploitation upon the arrival of European colonists.
Directed by D'Arcy Marsh, David Hughes
Vocational and academic education programs are introduced as a way to prepare Indigenous people for city life in this short documentary film. As families move out to northern Ontario's Elliot Lake from neighbouring reserves, programs such as these are used to integrate them into society. Through this film, we hear from some of the families who stayed, and some who returned.
June is Pride Month in Canada. It is a time when we celebrate diversity and LGBTQ communities, acknowledge their history, the hardships they have endured, and the progress that has been made.
Explore these free films from the NFB that celebrate National Indigenous History Month and culture in Canada and beyond.
Learn about celebrations, identity, and much more from these filmmakers and their work.
Directed by Rachel Bower
I Am Skylar is the emotionally compelling story of an articulate 14-year-old girl who is thoughtfully defining her future and the woman she is to become. Surrounded by a family and a community who show her unconditional love as she follows her personal path, Skylar faces the complexities of being a transgender girl on the cusp of puberty with refreshing honesty and unshakeable dignity.
Directed by Laura Marie Wayne
2018|1 h 16 min
Following the journey of a young gay musician who is attacked and paralyzed from the waist down, Love, Scott is an intimate and visually evocative window into queer experience, set against a stunning score by Sigur Rós.
Directed by Christina Willings
Beauty explores the lives of five gender-creative kids, each uniquely engaged in shaping their own sense of what it means to be fully human. Whether it’s dealing with bullies, explaining themselves to their parents, or navigating the uncharted waters of relationships, Bex, Lili, Fox, Tru and Milo talk about their experiences and struggle to live in authenticity.
Directed by Tiffany Hsiung
When a vintage bassinet appears at filmmaker Tiffany Hsiung and long-time fiancée Victoria Mata’s home, it sets off a chain reaction of emotions. The Bassinet is a gentle and affecting story about Tiffany’s personal struggle with the intersection of her sexual orientation and cultural identity, and the cross-generational burden of having a baby in the context of rigid social constructs of marriage and family.
Directed by Sharon A. Desjarlais
This short documentary presents the empowering story of Rodney "Geeyo" Poucette's struggle against prejudice in the Indigenous community as a two-spirited person (gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender).
Directed by Lynne Fernie
This short documentary with interspersed animated vignettes is designed to raise children's awareness of the harmful effects of homophobia and gender-related bullying. In the course of a lively in-class discussion, children's paintings magically dissolve into two short animated stories. In Anta's Revenge, Anta finds out that creativity, not revenge, is the best way to deal with a school bully. Defying Gravity tells the story of two skateboarders whose friendship is tested when one of them finds out the other is gay. The animated stories in this video will help elementary school students explore name calling and bullying. The video can assist children aged 8-12 in learning about families, differences and respect.
Directed by Ann Marie Fleming
In this joyful portrait, filmmaker Ann Marie Fleming animates the formative days and musical career of Calgary-born identical twins Tegan and Sara Quin. Their remarkable journey over the past 20 years has often intersected with notions of identity—as artists, as individuals, as sisters, as queer women, and as leading activists in the LGBTQ community. Their musical progression parallels and amplifies their commitment to bringing the marginal to the mainstream.
Directed by Jose Torrealba
This provocative documentary uncovers a lost chapter in Canadian military history: how the Armed Forces dealt with homosexual behaviour among soldiers, during and after World War II. More than 60 years later, a group of five veterans, barely adults when they enlisted, break the silence to talk about how homosexual behaviour "was even more unmentionable than cancer." Yet amidst the brutality of war, instances of sexual awakening among soldiers and officers were occuring. Initially, the Army overlooked it, but as the war advanced, they began to crack down: military tribunals, threats of imprisonment, discharge and public exposure. After the war, officers accused of homosexuality were discharged. Back home in Canada, reputations and careers were ruined. For the young men who had served their country with valour, this final chapter was often too much to bear. Based on the book Courting Homosexuals in the Military by Paul Jackson.