Classic Canadian films find new life through Telefilm’s digitization initiative

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To preserve landmark films that shaped the Canadian film landscape, and to share them with the next generation, Telefilm Canada is taking on a new digitization initiative, Canadian Cinema – Reignited, in partnership with Hot Docs, the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television, the Festival du Nouveau Cinéma and the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF).

Through the digitization initiative, audiences will be able to discover and experience the many ways in which quality Canadian cinema continues to reflect our country’s diversity, talent, and the global appeal of our broad scope of stories. Digitization helps celebrate the influence of Canada’s filmmaking legacy, paving the way for continued creativity, innovation, and international success.

“Digitization is the natural next step to preserve the legacy of Canadian films,” said Christa Dickenson, Executive Director & CEO of Telefilm Canada. “We are partnering with the industry to promote the rediscovery of Canadian cinema, first theatrically and then on streaming platforms around the world. We know there is an appetite for Canadian storytelling, and together we can ensure audiences get what they want.”

For Canadian Cinema – Reignited, each partner has curated classic cinematic gems, ranging from features to shorts and docs; among them, iconic works by both Indigenous and women directors.

Here’s a sneak peek at some of the films chosen:

From Hot Docs, we have a collection of films from renowned documentary directors Janis Cole and Holly Dale:

  • P4W: Prison for Women (1981)
    A look at love and isolation in an invisible community, the documentary profiles five inmates at the Prison for Women of Kingston Penitentiary.

  • Hookers on Davie (1984)
    After spending two months on Davie Street talking to sex workers, the directors were able to gain their trust and shoot the footage for this documentary. It’s an insightful look at Vancouver’s sex work industry, with a focus on Davie Street.

  • Calling the Shots (1988)
    An in-depth analysis of the changing role of women in the film industry, with interviews from actresses and directors like Agnes Varda, Jeanne Moreau and Margot Kidder.

From FNC, we’ve got:

  • West of Pluto (À l’ouest de Pluton)
    This 2008 drama by Myriam Verreault and Henry Bernadet follows 24 hours of a dozen Quebec high schoolers who are in the midst of their coming of age troubles.

  • The Left-Hand Side of the Fridge (La moitié gauche du frigo)
    This 2000 mockumentary (the first full length feature from director Philippe Falardeau) follows an unemployed Quebecois engineer who agrees to be the subject of his friend’s film project.

Can’t wait to (re)discover these Canadian classics? Keep your eyes on here and on Telefilm Canada’s social channels (Twitter, Facebook) for updates on Canadian Cinema –  Reignited, and stay in the loop when each digitized film title becomes available!

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