The film examines the complex sense of identity of many Canadians, through the experience of four Canadians who share a Polish ancestral connection.
Two of the characters are Jewish, but have very different feelings about their Polish roots. One, whose family left Poland several generations ago, is actively seeking to regain, for himself, some way of “being Polish”, and has gone so far as to study the Polish language and to research his family’s genealogy in Poland. The other is the son of Holocaust survivors and, while wants to confront and examine his Polish origins, decides, in the end, that being Canadian and Jewish is what really defines him.
For the two Christian characters, Poland has not been a central part of their consciousness, throughout their lives, and the trip to Poland forces them to confront what it means to have Polish roots.
One character is of mixed Polish and Canadian Métis heritage, and being Métis is far more important to her. Professionally, she is an aboriginal rights lawyer. Early in life, however, she was a dancer, and had been inspired by a Polish dance troupe she saw as a child.
The other Gentile character had always associated being Polish with the poverty and hardship her grandparents experienced as immigrant homesteaders on the Prairies. The visit to Cracow and Warsaw opens her eyes to a Poland of great cathedrals and works of art, a country that was once a major power in Europe and has a long and glorious history.
The film weaves together the stories of the four characters, both in Canada and Poland. In the end, it opens the door, for viewers, to a broader reflection on Canadian identity. In many ways, these four characters are very typical Canadians - Canadians who carry with them the baggage of multiple heritages. The film helps us to understand what those multiple strands in our identities could mean – if we took the time to explore them.
What happens when two people are so unique, so different, that they break every possible convention?
Transfixed tells the story of a highly unconventional romance. Martine Stonehouse and John Gelman are engaged and living with each other - and both living with Asperger Syndrome. Martine is a transsexual preparing for surgery. Her main motivation is her quest to marry John, who is straight identifying and will end their relationship unless she transitions fully.
But before John and Martine can fulfill their dream of living as husband and wife, they will have to overcome Martine's battle to lose weight, John's occasional stubborn-mindedness, medical complications, financial woes, and a stressful race to pull off the ultimate wedding to express their relationship - one that simultaneously celebrates and smashes down convention, one that is as unique and compelling as they are.
Transfixed is a deeply inspiring, humorous and human story about freedom, self-actualization and the quest for happiness - one that anyone who has ever longed for love and acceptance can empathize with and understand.
When people go searching for their biological families, what are they hoping to find? And do they ever find it? Original Kin follows three very different yet equally compelling stories of adult adoptees and their search for their biological parents. While united by lifelong questions of identity, roots, and belonging, the similarities end there.
Annie Ong: Lost and Found
After years of searching, filmmaker Jeannette Loakman had given up dreams of finding her birth mother and moved on with her life. Then, one fateful morning, Loakman suddenly finds herself with another mother, three sisters, and a guilty conscience brought on by her adoptive mother’s reaction to the news. Regretful yet fascinated by the turn of events, Jeannette takes viewers on each step as she adjusts to the trauma of a life with two mothers. Can she keep them both?
Broken Roots chronicles 17-year old David’s struggle with Tourettes syndrome and Bi-polar disorder. He hopes that returning to the place of his birth, South Korea, and finding his biological parents will ease the pain at the root of his destructive behaviour and dangerous sense of disconnection. His adopted family is supportive. They want to see him get better and this is their last resort. But will meeting his biological family provide the comfort he is looking for? And can he handle the reasons why he was abandoned at 2 years of age?
Relativity follows filmmaker Brenda Kovrig who, after meeting her birth mother, grapples with questions of identity, the nature of family, ancestral history, and genetics – not to mention deep, dark secrets. Funny and painful by turns, her journey brings her to philosophers, therapists and scientists, as she searches for clues to who she is and who she might have been. Part coming-of-age, part detective story, the film leaves no stone unturned as Brenda searches anxiously for answers while wondering if and when she’ll meet the rest of her biological family.
My Different Life: An Intimate Portrait of a Family Living with Learning Disabilities.
An education is a basic right most people take for granted. But when a child has learning disabilities, sometimes the system doesn't always work the way it should!
My Different Life explores the frustrations of Denise Difede, a single mother trying to get the proper care for her three kids, two of whom cope with a learning disability and the third, with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. (ADHD)
The film follows this family through pivotal points in their self-discovery and illuminates the challenges they face in their desperate attempts to navigate complex educational and medical institutions. It also offers hope by way of an educational advocate and unconventional therapies.
The Dogwalker is a remarkable cinéma-vérité portrait, a moving account of one man’s battle to reconstruct a shattered identity — and a winning meditation on Zen and the Art of Dogwalking.
“I’m the alpha,” he says, untangling the leashes. Meet The Dogwalker. Take a walk with the master.
Cubanos, a completely independent production, liberates itself from television convention to draw an impressionist portrait of the Cuban community. Sincere interviews and sequence shots reveal an identity fragmented by 48 years of dictatorship. The main character, Catuey, a Cuban musician who has been living in Québec for a number of years, brings to his journey and his songs the image of an ideal Cuba hurt by the division in its people and the group-think that prevails in Miami. While Catuey and the interviewees try to define themselves both as individuals and as Cubans, one scene at a time, the camera paints a broader, more complex portrait of a people held prisoner by their history. By exploring the richness of cinematographic language, Cubanos goes beyond the documentary genre to become a road movie that takes us to the heart of Catuey's struggle.