• Anthony Nadeau

Five National Film Board of Canada works featured at the 2020 Vancouver International Film Festival

Updated: Sep 20, 2020

How exciting that some films from The NFB are going to be in this year's Vancouver Film Festival

September 3, 2020 – Vancouver – National Film Board of Canada (NFB)

The world premiere of Sundance award-winning Vancouver filmmaker Jennifer Abbott’s new feature doc The Magnitude of All Things (Cedar Island Films/Flying Eye Productions/NFB) tops a powerful lineup of National Film Board of Canada (NFB) produced and co-produced documentary and animation at the 2020 Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF), taking place September 24 to October 7.

Two NFB feature docs by acclaimed creators are also making their BC debuts:

Inconvenient Indian by Michelle Latimer, a filmmaker, producer, writer, and activist of Algonquin, Métis and French heritage.

John Ware Reclaimed by Cheryl Foggo, a Calgary-born filmmaker, author, and playwright whose work often focuses on the Black Canadian experience.

The festival is presenting two NFB animated shorts:

The Great Malaise by Quebec animator and illustrator Catherine Lepage.

The Fake Calendar by Meky Ottawa, from the Atikamekw Nation in Quebec, produced through the Hothouse program.

World premiere – BC Spotlight

The Magnitude of All Things by Jennifer Abbott

(Images provided by the NFB)

When Jennifer Abbott lost her sister to cancer, her sorrow opened her up to the profound gravity of climate breakdown. The Magnitude of All Things draws intimate parallels between the experiences of grief—both personal and planetary.

Stories from the frontlines of climate change in Northern Canada, Australia, Ecuador, Sweden and England merge with recollections from the filmmaker’s childhood on Ontario’s Georgian Bay. What do these stories have in common? The answer, surprisingly, is everything.

BC-based Abbott has been making films about urgent social, political and environmental issues for 25 years, including co-directing the 2003 Sundance award-winning The Corporation. She’s also back at VIFF this year with The New Corporation: The Unfortunately Necessary Sequel, co-directed with Joel Bakan.

BC premiere – True North

John Ware Reclaimed by Cheryl Foggo

Official Selection Calgary International Film Festival, Calgary, Alberta (2020)

(Images provided by the NFB)

John Ware Reclaimed follows Foggo on her quest to re-examine the mythology surrounding John Ware, the Black cowboy who settled in Alberta before the turn of the 20th century. Her research uncovers who this iconic figure might have been, and what his legacy means in terms of anti-Black racism, both past, and present.

Eight-time world champion rodeo star Fred Whitfield appears as Ware in the film, which also features interviews with author Lawrence Hill, researcher Bertrand Bickersteth and historian David Breen and others, filmed at key locations in Ware’s life.

Produced in Alberta by Bonnie Thompson and David Christensen, and executive produced by David Christensen for the NFB.

BC premiere – Special Presentation

Inconvenient Indian by Michelle Latimer

Official SelectionTIFF, Toronto International Film Festival (2020)

(Images provided by the NFB)

In this time of radical change and essential re-examination, Inconvenient Indian brings to life Thomas King’s bestselling book, dismantling North America’s colonial narrative and reframing history.

Latimer’s film is a powerful visual poem anchored in the land and amplified by the voices of those who continue the tradition of Indigenous resistance, including artist-activists, land protectors, hunters, and those leading cultural revitalization.

Produced by Stuart Henderson (90th Parallel Productions), Justine Pimlott (NFB), and Jesse Wente. The executive producers are Gordon Henderson (90th Parallel Productions) and Anita Lee (NFB).


(Images provided by the NFB)

The Great Malaise by Catherine Lepage

  • People's Choice Award - International CompetitionLes Sommets du cinéma d'animation, Montreal, Quebec (2019)

  • Jury's Special Mention - Canadian CompetitionLes Sommets du cinéma d'animation, Montreal, Quebec (2019)

  • Official Selection - Generation 14plusBerlinale, Berlin, Germany (2020)

A young woman describes herself and her life in glowing terms, but the visual narrative tells a different story: with heart-rending power it illustrates the heavy burden of anxiety carried by this worried overachiever.

The film received the People’s Choice Award and Jury’s Special Mention/Canadian Competition at the Sommets du cinéma d’animation in Montreal and was an official selection in the Generation 14plus section at Berlinale 2020.

Produced by Marc Bertrand and executive produced by Julie Roy for the NFB.

The Fake Calendar by Meky Ottawa

  • Official SelectionimagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival, Toronto, Canada (2019)

  • Canadian ShowcaseOttawa International Animation Festival, Ottawa, Canada (2020)

(Images provided by the NFB)

A neon glimpse at how people come up with interesting and creative ways to avoid social functions, in favour of their own private space.

For its 12th edition, the NFB’s Hothouse program for emerging animators teamed up with imagineNATIVE and associate producers Amanda Strong and Amanda Roy to help address underrepresentation of Indigenous creators in film animation.

Produced by Maral Mohammadian and Jelena Popović, and executive produced by Michael Fukushima for the NFB, in partnership with imagineNATIVE.

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