What do you think of when you hear the word “strong”? Dwayne Johnson? The vast Canadian Rockies? Rosie the Riveter? This playlist challenges some of the traditional ideas and images of strength and how it’s represented on screen. What are some demonstrations of strength, courage and power that don’t always take centre stage? Strength can be quiet, resilient or playful, and often it goes unnoticed. Pay close attention to the strong women and girls in these films, because what makes each of them strong isn’t always the first thing you’d notice about them.
Unfolding with the rhythm of the seasons, Winds of Spring tells the tender story of a young girl who, driven by the irrepressible need for self-fulfillment, decides to leave the family nest. Keyu Chen employs her signature style of fluid transitions and fine, spare lines inspired by Chinese ink painting in her delicately crafted first film.Keyu Chen makes use of fine lines and fluid transitions in her delicately crafted first film, which tells the tale of a young girl who, driven by the irrepressible need for self-fulfillment, dreams of leaving the family nest.
This short animation is a zany version of the classic fairy tale, with the leading role played by a mistreated, romantic penguin, with hilarious results. Cinderella Penguin loses her magic flipper as she runs to meet her midnight deadline, but all ends well when Prince Charming finds the right webbed foot and the nasty step-family is brought to heel. A 1981 Oscar® nominee.
This experimental short animation is inspired by the NFB's Studio D (1975-1994), a production department aimed at creating filmmaking opportunities for women in Canada. Featuring a rhythmic soundscape and paint-on-glass animation, Assembly shows a woman’s hands cutting and editing a reel of film on a flatbed editing table as fragments of women walking in chains, protesting with placards, and speaking at podiums are inter-cut. We hear bursts of words and the percussive whir and click of the Steenbeck—until a “message” is finally revealed. The film is dedicated to the memory of Kathleen Shannon, a prominent editor and one-time Executive Producer of Studio D.
In this episode from the Wapos Bay series, Raven wants the men to realize how much they underappreciate the town's women. The women go on a week-long retreat, and only Jacob seems able to make coffee, cook meals and keep things running. Raven and Chief Big Sky negotiate to bring the women back, make everyone happier and strengthen the community.
Wapos Bay is a stop-motion animation series that follows the adventures of 3 kids from a Cree community in northern Saskatchewan.
Waseteg is the story of a young Mi'kmaq girl whose name means “the light from the dawn.” Sadly, her mother dies while giving birth and, though her father works very hard to provide for his family, Waseteg is surrounded by the bitterness and loneliness felt by her sisters.
As a young girl, Waseteg looks for solace in nature, and dreams of the stories she’s heard in the village – including one about Walqwan, the mysterious boy living across the river. Eventually, with the gentle care of the boy's grandmother, Waseteg succeeds in finding Walqwan, discovering the Spirit Path, and restoring love to her family.
A short story about dreams, courage, identity, creation and embracing our Elders, Waseteg showcases Phyllis Grant's signature style of bold lines, bright colours and simple movements. The film is beautifully narrated by legendary filmmaker Alanis Obomsawin.
It’s carnival in Balthasarville and the scoundrel Bonifacio is scheming to overthrow Léon and become King Quack. But he’s outsmarted by Molly Gingerbread and her friend Hedgehog, who manage to save the townspeople Bonifacio has poisoned. This puppet animation by Pierre-Luc Granjon tells a medieval tale of treachery and love.
This animated short by Theodore Ushev combines warmth, humour and magic in a story about a young girl who misses her grandmother. When Lili finds a tzaritza (magic shell) along the seashore, she hatches a plan to bring her Grandma from Bulgaria to Montreal to make her father happy. Part of the Talespinners collection, the film features music by Normand Roger.
This Oscar®-nominated animated film comes from Oscar®-winning filmmaker Torill Kove (The Danish Poet). It's a tall tale about her grandmother's life in Oslo, Norway, during World War II. Sharp and whimsical, her story combines her grandmother's tales with historical events and fantasy, showing how a cherished anecdote can come to acquire a mythical status. King Harald of Norway said, "I love the irony of this short."
Still feeling mischievously rebellious? Buy the book from Firefly Books for more historical sabotage!
This short animation tells the story of Saoussan, a young girl struggling to adjust to life in Canada after being uprooted from her wartorn homeland. She has come to seek a quieter and safer life, although memories of war and death linger, memories that are awakened when the children at her new school prepare for a scary Halloween. From Far Away speaks to the power within us all to adapt like Saoussan and to welcome a newcomer.
Part of the Talespinners collection, which uses vibrant animation to bring popular children’s stories from a wide range of cultural communities to the screen.