A drawing of a young boy with an oversized head, a character from BLA BLA, an interactive website produced by Vincent Morisset in 2011.

Press Releases & Media Kits

NFB's leadership in documentary on display at Hot Docs 2011

Press release


Toronto, March 22, 2011 – The National Film Board of Canada’s leadership in documentary cinema will be on vivid display at the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival, with new films that explore Canadian and global issues and provide unique portraits of Canadian life and culture. Hot Docs, North America’s largest documentary festival, takes place April 28 to May 8, 2011, in Toronto.

Hot Docs has selected six films from Canada’s public film producer: world premieres of The Chocolate Farmer, directed by Rohan Fernando, and St-Henri, the 26th of August, directed by Shannon Walsh; North American premieres of The Future Is Now!, directed by Gary Burns and Jim Brown, and Wiebo's War, directed by David York; the Ontario premiere of Mighty Jerome, directed by Charles Officer; and the Toronto premiere of The Lumberfros, directed by Stéphanie Lanthier.

The NFB and Hot Docs will present an Outstanding Achievement Award Retrospective for groundbreaking NFB filmmaker and direct cinema pioneer Terence Macartney-Filgate. The NFB will also be partnering with Hot Docs on a Focus On screening series honouring the distinctive and highly personal work of Toronto documentarian Alan Zweig.

NFB premieres

The festival’s Canadian Spectrum program will feature two NFB world premieres:

In an unspoiled corner of southern Belize, cacao farmer and father Eladio Pop manually works his plantation in the tradition of his Mayan ancestors: as a steward of the land. A tender and moving family tale, Rohan Fernando’s The Chocolate Farmer intimately captures a year in the life of the Pop family as they struggle to preserve their values in a world that is suddenly and dramatically changing. A lament for cultures lost, this timely and vital film challenges our deeply held assumptions of progress. Fernando’s credits include the Gemini-nominated NFB/Triad Film feature doc Cecil’s Journey. The Chocolate Farmer is produced by Annette Clarke.

In  St-Henri, the 26th of August, director  Shannon Walsh and a team of 16 filmmakers spent the day following multiple stories in the Montreal neighbourhood of Saint-Henri. The result is a touching, funny and fascinating day-in-the-life of this eclectic community. The collaborative St-Henri, the 26th of August brings together some of the brightest talents in Montreal’s documentary scene and asks what community means today, and how we inhabit our neighbourhoods. Produced by Sarah Spring and associate produced by Selin Murat ( Parabola Films); and produced by Colette Loumède for the NFB.

Canadian Spectrum will also host North American premieres of two NFB docs:

Gary Burns and Jim Brown will be at Hot Docs with their new film The Future Is Now! In their follow-up to Radiant City, winner of the Genie Award for Best Documentary, Burns and Brown continue to probe the boundaries of fiction and non-fiction in a cinematic hybrid blending fictionalized narrative and documentary. Inspired by Nicole Védrès’ 1949 documentary La vie commence demain, The Future Is Now! looks for the positive in a world beset by global terrorism, environmental disasters and crass consumerism, and challenges audiences to think about their own vision for the future. The Future Is Now! is produced by Shirley Vercruysse and George Baptist for Burns Film and Bonnie Thompson for the NFB.

Making his directorial debut in the 52 Media/NFB co-production Wiebo's War, filmmaker David York follows the story of a Christian community at war with the oil and gas industry. Wiebo Ludwig is the prime suspect in a series of pipeline bombings near his family’s farm—bombings that echo a campaign of sabotage he waged against the gas industry in the 90s, culminating in the unsolved death of a 16-year-old girl. Ludwig’s large extended family lives in isolation and in accordance with his strict religious values, including the belief that all who do not share these values, like the filmmaker, are living in terrible darkness. Wiebo's War is co-produced by David York, Bryn Hughes and Nick Hector for 52 Media and Bonnie Thompson for the NFB.

Hot Docs will also host an Ontario premiere in Canadian Spectrum, from acclaimed Toronto filmmaker Charles Officer ( Nurse.Fighter.Boy). Officer’s Mighty Jerome documents the rise, fall and redemption of Harry Jerome—track and field star and one of Canada’s greatest athletes. This NFB production utilizes monochrome film imagery, interviews and rare archival footage to tell the compelling story of what Jerome’s coach, the legendary Bill Bowerman, called “the greatest comeback in track and field history.” Mighty Jerome is produced by Selwyn Jacob.

Rounding out the NFB film selection at Hot Docs is Stéphanie Lanthier’s The Lumberfros, making its Toronto premiere in the Hot Docs thematic program “Workers of the World!” In the film, Lanthier spends an entire season documenting the experiences of brush clearers in Quebec’s boreal forest, who live and work in logging camps far from home. It’s Lanthier’s second NFB-co-produced film exploring our relationship with the forest world, having co-directed the 2004 documentary Deux mille fois par jour, about tree planters. The Lumberfros is co-produced by André Mailly and Alain Corneau ( DOC Productions) and Jacques Turgeon (NFB).

Doc Talks

From May 3 through May 5, the NFB will be presenting Doc Talks, a new series of conversations giving doc lovers access to leading filmmakers. This inaugural season of Doc Talks will be devoted to exploring the social impact of documentary cinema. Discussions will take place daily from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. in Bell Lightbox 4, presented in collaboration with the Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund. Tickets are free.

About the NFB

Canada’s public film producer and distributor, the National Film Board of Canada creates social-issue documentaries, auteur animation, alternative drama and digital content that provide the world with a unique Canadian perspective. The NFB is expanding the vocabulary of 21st-century cinema and breaking new ground in form and content through community filmmaking projects, cross-platform media, programs for emerging filmmakers, stereoscopic animation – and more. It works in collaboration with creative filmmakers, digital media creators and co-producers in every region of Canada, with Aboriginal and culturally diverse communities, as well as partners around the world. Since the NFB’s founding in 1939, it has created over 13,000 productions and won over 5,000 awards, including 12 Oscars and more than 90 Genies. Its NFB.ca Screening Room features almost 2,000 productions online, including high-definition and 3D films. The NFB also puts the experience of cinema into the hands of Canadians everywhere through its acclaimed mobile apps for the iPhone, iPad, and now, Canada’s first film app for the Android platform.



Jennifer Mair, NFB Publicist           
T.: 416-954-2045 / C.: 416-436-0105        
E-mail: j.mair@nfb.ca               

Pat Dillon, NFB Publicist
T.: 514-283-9411 / C.: 514-206-1750
E-mail: p.a.dillon@nfb.ca