DOK.guest Canada

Land of freedom. Land of contradictions.

Filmstill from NO VISIBLE TRAUMA © Lost Time Media

Indigenous culture and megacities, monarchy and liberalism. The dream of freedom, but also its contradictions, have shaped Canada like hardly any other country. As a place of refuge for entire generations of immigrants, the still young nation in America's north still has many links with Europe. At the same time, the influence of the USA is unmistakable. Members of the First Nations, on the other hand, have been fighting for a stronger voice in the country for decades. Today, many Canadians cite diversity as the core of their common identity. However, the internal tensions resulting from the country's chequered history persist and keep society in constant flux.

Canada's film landscape is similarly diverse as its culture. Along the linguistic borders, it can be divided into two major cinematic traditions: one oriented towards the USA in the English-speaking parts of the country and a documentary-oriented one in Francophone Québec. Since the 1990s, indigenous cinema has added a rich narrative tradition of its own. 

As part of the Guest Country Series Canada, DOK.fest München 2021 presents seven documentaries from and about Canada that take account of the country's tensions, contradictions and unique dynamics: we join protests against police violence in Calgary, uncover sexual abuse in Canada's Catholic Church and accompany ex-prisoners on their long journey back into society. We experience first-hand the struggle of the First Nations for recognition, empower ourselves with feminists and dream the city of the future. Two films introduce us to dazzling yet fundamentally different women personalities in Canada today. In four of the seven films, women directors take us into their Canadian reality. Anne Thomé

The Canada Focus is part of Canada's cultural programme as Guest of Honour at the Frankfurt Book Fair 2020/21 and is supported by the Canada Council for the Arts, Telefilm Canada and the Government of Canada. In addition to the film series, the Canada Focus includes a delegation of Canadian filmmakers at the Marketplace.



The documentaries



Canada 2020, Kim O'Bomsawin, 78 min.

The film proposes a foray into history in company with Joséphine Bacon, a woman of great spirit who has devoted her life to passing on her knowledge and that of her ancestors.



Canada 2020, Mike Hoolboom, 63 min.

Canadian Judy Rebick is a feminist icon. She fought for the right to abortion and against neoliberalism. JUDY VS. CAPITALISM tells her public and private biography - and of shame, depression and abuse.



Canada 2021, Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers, 124 min.

Uprooting and its toxic consequences: Almost every First Nation family is affected, has losses to mourn. Those who do not manage the hard path of abstinence fall through the cracks. The Blackfoot community decides to confront the drug spiral in its own way....



Canada 2020, Nicolas Lévesque, 94 min.

In a wood processing factory in Québec, offenders are employed during their last months in prison. THE FREE ONES accompanies these people who want to break free from the problems of the past in order to have a future.



Canada 2020, Marc Serpa Francoeur, Robinder Uppal, 98 min.

A young man is kidnapped and beaten, another seriously mistreated and a third is shot. The perpetrators: members of the local police department. A film about the police’s abysmal abuse of power, traumatised victims and ineffective monitoring bodies.



Canada 2020, Renée Blanchar, 106 min.

An abuse scandal within the Catholic Church in Canada does not come to light until years later. Why did the community fail to protect its children and choose to stay silent rather than reveal the truth? Filmmaker Renée Blanchar, who grew up in the region herself, confronts the perpetrators.



Canada 2020, Lulu Wei, 76 min.

The last thing the excavators tear down is the big, colourful sign that reads "Honest Ed's". Just like the legendary discounter, the residents of the block had to make way for a new building project. The story of a lost community.