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environment/nature

A Whale of a Tale

The miraculous discovery of a whale bone during the excavation of a new subway line in downtown Toronto during the 1980s set the city all aflutter. The bone found in a landfill about 20 meters below the surface did not belong there. There existed no recorded history of whales ever having made it to the city on Lake Ontario. Could it be that the bone was pre-historic? Would it re-write the history of the Great Lakes? Did the greatest beast ever to live on earth swim in the shadows of the city? Was there a pre-historic ocean beneath the city? What other mysteries might the bone hold? It was difficult to tell who was more excited, the media, the general public or the scientific community. The story died down and the whalebone disappeared into a drawer into the basement of the Royal Ontario Museum. Until Now! Until Now!

Degrees North

A feature documentary shot south to north across the latitudes of Canada. Beginning at Pelee Island (42 degrees north) and finishing at the Arctic Circle (66 degrees north), DEGREES NORTH is a journey of discovery, space, and time. Using light, colour and composition, DEGREES NORTH is an alchemistic blend of live action landscape photography, animation, and music. Filmed on 10 Individual trips covering over 50,000 kilometres. Intial shoot, August 1997, Badlands, Alberta Final shoot, December 2011, Dawson City, Yukon Filmed entirely in 16mm

The Polar Explorer

From the makers of last year's hit climate change documentary, The Antarctica Challenge: A Global Warning, comes this new feature film reporting on the latest climate change discoveries being made at both ends of the earth - The Arctic and Antarctica. Sought by explorers for centuries as a possible trade route, Canada’s Northwest Passage was first navigated by Norwegian Roald Amundsen in 1903–1906, a true polar explorer - he was the first man to reach the South Pole as well. Until 2009, the Arctic pack ice prevented regular marine passage throughout most of the year, but climate change has reduced this ice, making the waterways more navigable.

Shift Focus

Rodrigo Moreno seems to have it all. He’s a wedding photographer who spends much of his professional life shooting lavish destination weddings where money is no object. He has a beautiful wife, a nice home and two mini dogs. Yet, something is missing. Rodrigo is haunted by memories of his troubled youth in an inner city neighbourhood popularly called ‘The Jungle’. He returns with the idea of finding some answers and starts a photography club to provide a creative outlet for the young people whom he befriends. In a surprising turn of events, the club catches the attention of Teresa, an animal lover who saved a captured monkey in Peru. She takes him to the real jungle – the Amazon. Here Rodrigo meets Carlos, a biologist, devoted to preserving the rainforest and Ronaldo, a young boy who is crazy about his butterflies. Rodrigo’s stunning lens captures the people, and a way of life on the brink of extinction. Shift Focus is one man’s photographic journey that gives permanency to people in two very different jungles.

Nuclear Dynamite

Nuclear Dynamite reveals the untold story of American and Soviet plans to use nuclear explosives to launch spaceships and carry out gigantic “geographical engineering” projects including digging a new sea-level Panama Canal with atomic bombs. More than 150 nuclear blasts were carried out between 1958 and 1988 before this bizarre and extraordinary atomic dream was destroyed by the emergence of the environmental movements in both countries. In the 1950s Edward Teller, the co-inventor of the H-Bomb proposed using “the great and violent power” of the atom bomb for peaceful purposes. Nuclear Dynamite explores the Soviet- American race to develop nuclear explosives for gigantic megaprojects. Scientists planned to harness the power of the bomb to launch huge spaceships, dig an instant harbour in Alaska, blast out oil and gas deposits, cut through mountain ranges, and dig a new Panama canal with 300 explosions. More than 150 nuclear blasts were carried out between 1958 and 1988 before this bizarre and extraordinary atomic dream was destroyed by the emergence of the environmental movements in both countries.

Walk Naked Singing

Walk Naked Singing is an inventive documentary filmed somewhere in the Ontario forest. The film follows the process of Wayne, Frank, and Gordie, over a summer, growing a commercial crop of 100% Canadian marijuana in gardens they call ‘rinks’. Wherever there is marijuana, there are authorities hunting it down and the film tracks the action of the police’s Marijuana Eradication Program. We also hear the story of Robert ‘Rosie’ Rowbotham, who holds the Canadian record for the longest time served in prison for pot, and the thoughts of Pat Crawley, a political activist and committed pot-smoker for some 30 years. Several people in the film are personal friends of the filmmaker. Walk Naked Singing is about time passing and disappointed idealism in a world gone corporate. In the straightest of times, freedom and joy might be running for cover but the longing to walk naked singing will live on. Walk Naked Singing was commissioned by TVOntario’s The View From Here. It premiered at Hot Docs! International Documentary Film Festival in Toronto in 2002. It was nominated for Best Director and Best Social Documentary at the Yorkton Festival in 2003. It was selected for the Yukon Film Festival in Whitehorse. It was broadcast several times on TVOntario, on the CBC summer series in 2004, on the Documentary Channel and on Spanish television.

Feel the Earth Move: The Gros Morne Project

At the peak of the summer season, Montreal’s renowned Coleman Lemieux Dance Company descends upon a quiet village in Newfoundland’s Gros Morne National Park with an artistic team of Canada’s finest solo dance artists to create a site specific work. Filmmaker Anne Troake (Pretty Big Dig, My Ancestors Were Rogues and Murderers) turns the camera on the cultural exchange between townspeople and art stars, and captures the moment of creation and the spectacular work itself. features Choreographer Bill Coleman and dancer margie Gillis. A Morag Loves Company production for CBC’s Opening Night. Selected for screening at the Yorkton Short Film & Video Festival, the Atlantic Film Festival, the St. John’s International Women’s Film Festival, Festival of New Dance, Dance on Camera Festival, and the New Dance Alliance Performance Mix Festival.

Tales of a Yellow Bike

In a world of automobiles, can one yellow bike make a difference? Of course not. But a fleet of bikes might create a new model for sustainable transportation. Toronto’s Bike Share Program is at a crossroads. Internationally recognized, it cannot maintain funding for its yellow bike program without stepping on a new path. Maogosha Pyjor is the Manager of Bike Share. Now that the program is cancelled, she is searching for models that can work for the challenges faced in North America. Maogosha looks for bikes and finds visionaries in Europe, North America, Columbia and China. Models for bike loaning are many and have different purposes. Corporate, political and community leaders share their lessons and thoughts on how the successes and failures of their system. But can Maogosha find a model that her community needs: accessible use of bicycles for everyone? Meanwhile, BikeShare is struggling to maintain a presence in Toronto, as the Community Bike Network evaluates its programming and explores a new model for operations. Geoff Bercarich was one of Maogosha’s key volunteers when BikeShare was running. He delivered bikes to the lending hubs using a cargo bike. While Maogosha travels the world, Geoff is still delivering bikes around Toronto trying to keep the yellow bikes of BikeShare visible. The fate of the yellow bikes rests in the hands of the Community Bike Network, and the new model it has found may not include the colour yellow. Join us on a trip that takes us to Beijing, Amsterdam, Bogotá, New York, La Rochelle, Paris and back to Toronto. Models for bike loaning are many and have different purposes. Corporate, political and community leaders share their lessons and thoughts on the successes and failures of their systems. We look for bikes and finds visionaries. Tales of a Yellow Bike is produced by Symmetree media for OMNI Television in English, Mandarin and Spanish and will be available in 2009.

An American in Muskoka

Americans often appear to Canadians as relentless in the promotion of their materialistic lifestyle and culture; but a group of wealthy American families defy that stereotype. For over a century, they have traveled north to a lake area in Canada called Muskoka. Current generations still enjoy Adirondack-style houses established by their great-grandparents. Their love of the history and preservation of traditions contributes to the quintessential meaning of Muskoka. But Muskoka is rapidly changing. A New York Times article;The Malibu of the North;Hello, Goldie! Hollywood Has Discovered Muskoka; compared it to the astronomical development on Lake Tahoe. Its wealthy Canadians who build monster houses and McCottages. It's Canadian kids who roar around the lakes in massive cigarette-style boats; buzz around in jet-skis; and throw off damaging wakes with their wakeboard boats as music blasts from their speakers. It is a surprising role reversal—not one most Canadians are used to. Can Americans be preserving history, tradition and environment in Canada while Canadians are contributing to its demise? An American in Muskoka sets these changes against the daily summer life of an American family dynasty on Cliff Island. The island with its holdings is one of the most valuable properties in Muskoka. But with the recent death of the patriarch, the future of the island has been thrown into doubt.

Build Green, The Nature of Things with David Suzuki

An insider’s look at the greenest homes in Canada, from strawbale to rammed earth, with eco-energy solar and wind power, even a geothermal retrofit. David Suzuki visits the ultimate sustainable house of Randy Bachman (of BTO rock and roll fame), then gets a picture of the future in Victoria BC at an up-and-coming eco-village construction. There’s even a completely self-sufficient mini-home for green aspirants with a tiny lot and a mini-budget.
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