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Five National Film Board of Canada works featured at the 2020 Vancouver International Film Festival. World premiere of acclaimed Vancouver filmmaker Jennifer Abbott’s The Magnitude of All Things in BC Spotlight—plus a selection of new and award-winning docs and animation.


September 3, 2020 – Vancouver – National Film Board of Canada (NFB)

The world premiere of Sundance award-winning Vancouver filmmaker Jennifer Abbott’s new feature doc The Magnitude of All Things (Cedar Island Films/Flying Eye Productions/NFB) tops a powerful lineup of National Film Board of Canada (NFB) produced and co-produced documentary and animation at the 2020 Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF), taking place September 24 to October 7.

Two NFB feature docs by acclaimed creators are also making their BC debuts:

  • Inconvenient Indian by Michelle Latimer, a filmmaker, producer, writer and activist of Algonquin, Métis and French heritage.
  • John Ware Reclaimed by Cheryl Foggo, a Calgary-born filmmaker, author and playwright whose work often focuses on the Black Canadian experience.

The festival is presenting two NFB animated shorts:

  • The Great Malaise by Quebec animator and illustrator Catherine Lepage.
  • The Fake Calendar by Meky Ottawa, from the Atikamekw Nation in Quebec, produced through the Hothouse program.

World premiere – BC Spotlight

The Magnitude of All Things by Jennifer Abbott

  • When Jennifer Abbott lost her sister to cancer, her sorrow opened her up to the profound gravity of climate breakdown. The Magnitude of All Things draws intimate parallels between the experiences of grief—both personal and planetary.
  • Stories from the frontlines of climate change in Northern Canada, Australia, Ecuador, Sweden and England merge with recollections from the filmmaker’s childhood on Ontario’s Georgian Bay. What do these stories have in common? The answer, surprisingly, is everything.
  • BC-based Abbott has been making films about urgent social, political and environmental issues for 25 years, including co-directing the 2003 Sundance award-winning The Corporation. She’s also back at VIFF this year with The New Corporation: The Unfortunately Necessary Sequel, co-directed with Joel Bakan.

Produced by Andrew Williamson and Henrik Meyer for Cedar Island Films, and produced and executive produced for the NFB’s BC & Yukon Studio by Shirley Vercruysse. With the participation of the TELUS Fund and Telefilm Canada and the Rogers Group of Funds, through the Theatrical Documentary Program.
Synopsis, biographies, images: mediaspace.nfb.ca/the-magnitude-of-all-things

BC premiere – True North

John Ware Reclaimed by Cheryl Foggo

  • John Ware Reclaimed follows Foggo on her quest to re-examine the mythology surrounding John Ware, the Black cowboy who settled in Alberta before the turn of the 20th century. Her research uncovers who this iconic figure might have been, and what his legacy means in terms of anti-Black racism, both past and present.
  • Eight-time world champion rodeo star Fred Whitfield appears as Ware in the film, which also features interviews with author Lawrence Hill, researcher Bertrand Bickersteth and historian David Breen and others, filmed at key locations in Ware’s life.
  • The film features original music by Juno-winning country songwriter Corb Lund as well as Miranda Martini, including compositions written while she was studying at UBC.

Produced in Alberta by Bonnie Thompson and David Christensen, and executive produced by David Christensen for the NFB.
Synopsis, biographies, images: mediaspace.nfb.ca/john-ware-reclaimed

BC premiere – Special Presentation

Inconvenient Indian by Michelle Latimer

  • In this time of radical change and essential re-examination, Inconvenient Indian brings to life Thomas King’s bestselling book, dismantling North America’s colonial narrative and reframing history.
  • Latimer’s film is a powerful visual poem anchored in the land and amplified by the voices of those who continue the tradition of Indigenous resistance, including artist activists, land protectors, hunters and those leading cultural revitalization.

Produced by Stuart Henderson (90th Parallel Productions), Justine Pimlott (NFB) and Jesse Wente. The executive producers are Gordon Henderson (90th Parallel Productions) and Anita Lee (NFB).
Synopsis, biographies, images: mediaspace.nfb.ca/inconvenient-indian


The Great Malaise by Catherine Lepage

  • A young woman describes herself and her life in glowing terms, but the visual narrative tells a different story: with heart-rending power it illustrates the heavy burden of anxiety carried by this worried overachiever.
  • The film received the People’s Choice Award and Jury’s Special Mention/Canadian Competition at the Sommets du cinéma d’animation in Montreal, and was an official selection in the Generation 14plus section at Berlinale 2020.

Produced by Marc Bertrand and executive produced by Julie Roy for the NFB.
Synopsis, biographies, images: mediaspace.nfb.ca/malaise

The Fake Calendar by Meky Ottawa

  • A neon glimpse at how people come up with interesting and creative ways to avoid social functions, in favour of their own private space.
  • For its 12th edition, the NFB’s Hothouse program for emerging animators teamed up with imagineNATIVE and associate producers Amanda Strong and Amanda Roy to help address underrepresentation of Indigenous creators in film animation.

Produced by Maral Mohammadian and Jelena Popović, and executive produced by Michael Fukushima for the NFB, in partnership with imagineNATIVE.
Synopsis, biographies, images: mediaspace.nfb.ca/fake

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Related Products

Electronic Press Kits | Images, trailers, synopses: Inconvenient Indian | John Ware Reclaimed  | The Fake Calendar | The Great Malaise | The Magnitude of All Things

Associated Links

Cedar Island Films
Flying Eye Productions
Vancouver International Film Festival
Telefilm Canada
Rogers Group of Funds
90th Parallel Productions

French version here | Version en français ici.

Media Relations

  • About the NFB

    Founded in 1939, the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) is a one-of-a-kind producer, co-producer and distributor of distinctive, engaging, relevant and innovative documentary and animated films. As a talent incubator, it is one of the world’s leading creative centres. The NFB has enabled Canadians to tell and hear each other’s stories for over eight decades, and its films are a reliable and accessible educational resource. The NFB is also recognized around the world for its expertise in preservation and conservation, and for its rich and vibrant collection of works, which form a pillar of Canada’s cultural heritage. To date, the NFB has produced more than 14,000 works, 6,500 of which can be streamed free of charge at nfb.ca. The NFB and its productions and co-productions have earned over 7,000 awards, including 11 Oscars and an Honorary Academy Award for overall excellence in cinema.