January 31, 2017 – Montreal – National Film Board of Canada (NFB)
The National Film Board of Canada (NFB) will have a strong presence at the prestigious Berlin International Film Festival, with five films including the world-premiere screening of the animated short Hedgehog’s Home (NFB/Bonobostudio), directed by Eva Cvijanović, which is also in competition. Two documentaries by Inuit women filmmakers are also featured as part of NATIVe 2017, the section devoted to Indigenous cinema: the feature Angry Inuk (NFB/Unikkaat Studios, in association with EyeSteelFilm) by Alethea Arnaquq-Baril, and the short Nowhere Land (NFB), by Bonnie Ammaaq. Two other documentaries—the feature-length Theater of Life (Triplex Films/NFB, in association with Phi Films) by Peter Svatek, with world-renowned chef Massimo Bottura, and the short HAND.LINE.COD. (NFB) by Justin Simms—will screen in the Culinary Cinema section. The 67th Berlinale takes place from February 9–19, 2017.
Generation Kplus section – World premiere and in competition
Hedgehog’s Homeby Eva Cvijanović
Produced by Jelena Popović for the NFB and Vanja Andrijević for Croatia’s Bonobostudio; executive produced by Michael Fukushima
In a lush and lively forest lives a hedgehog, respected and envied by the other animals. However, his unwavering devotion to his home annoys and mystifies a quartet of insatiable beasts. When they set off together to Hedgehog’s home, a prickly standoff ensues. Based on the classic story by Branko Ćopić, a writer from the former Yugoslavia, Hedgehog’s Home is a warm and universal tale for young and old that reminds us there truly is no place like home. This film marks Eva Cvijanović’s third collaboration with the NFB. The English narration is by Kenneth Welsh.
NATIVe – A Journey into Indigenous Cinema, dedicated this year to Indigenous films from the Arctic Circle
Angry Inukby Alethea Arnaquq-Baril
An Unikkaat Studios Inc. production in co-production with the NFB and in association with EyeSteelFilm. Produced by Alethea Arnaquq-Baril and Bonnie Thompson (NFB); executive produced by Bob Moore, Daniel Cross and David Christensen (NFB)
Alethea Arnaquq-Baril at last brings Inuit voices into the conversation about Canada’s seal hunt. In this multiple-award-winning feature, her cameras travel through the Canadian Arctic to hear from the people the animal activists rarely bother to meet—the hunters, the craftspeople, the families for whom the seal hunt is a critical part of their livelihood and survival―and follow a group of students to Europe, where they plead the Inuit case before a European Union panel.
Angry Inuk garnered some of Canada’s top film honours over the past year, including the Audience Award at Hot Docs, the Alanis Obomsawin Best Documentary Award at imagineNATIVE, a selection to the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) list of the top 10 Canadian films of 2016, and the People’s Choice Award at Canada’s Top Ten Film Festival. In addition, His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, recently awarded a Meritorious Service Cross to Arnaquq-Baril for her founding of Unikkaat Studios. The film is currently touring the festival circuit outside Canada, in the United States and Europe.
Nowhere Land by Bonnie Ammaaq
Produced by Alicia Smith (NFB); executive produced by David Christensen (NFB)
When Bonnie Ammaaq was small, she and her family moved from nowhere—the government-manufactured community of Igloolik—to somewhere: the vast interior of Baffin Island. For 11 years they lived like many past generations of Inuit, and look back now on a way of life lost not only to them, but also to the entire world. Produced in 2015 and selected to screen at numerous Canadian festivals, Nowhere Land won the Best Short Documentary award at the imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival in Toronto.
Culinary Cinema section
Theater of Life by Peter Svatek
Produced by Josette Gauthier (Triplex Films) and Annette Clarke (NFB), in association with Phi Films. Distributed by the NFB in Canada and internationally by eOne
Sixty of the world’s best chefs from across Canada and around the world are present in Theater of Life, Peter Svatek’s documentary about Refettorio Ambrosiano, an extraordinary soup kitchen conceived by Massimo Bottura, in which food waste from the Milan 2015 World’s Fair was transformed into delicious and nutritious meals for Italy’s hungriest residents. A visual feast in itself, Theater of Life captures the remarkable relationship forged between the finest haute-cuisine chefs in the world and the city’s most disadvantaged groups: refugees, recovering drug addicts, former sex workers and a host of others with no place else to go.
The doc received the Tokyo Gohan Award at the San Sebastian Film Festival in Spain and the Best Canadian Feature Award at the Planet in Focus Festival in Toronto. It has also been selected to screen at festivals in Canada (Atlantic Film Festival, Devour! The Food Film Fest) and abroad (Mill Valley and Flatirons in the U.S., as well as the Haifa, Rio and Warsaw festivals).
HAND.LINE.COD. by Justin Simms
Produced and executive produced by Annette Clarke (NFB)
Set in the coldest waters surrounding Newfoundland’s rugged Fogo Island, this short film follows a group of “people of the fish”—traditional fishers who catch cod live by hand, by hook and line, one at a time. Their secret mission? To drive up the price of the fish. After a 20-year moratorium on North Atlantic cod, the stocks are returning. These fishers are leading a revolution in sustainability, taking their premium product directly to the commercial market for the first time. The film is dedicated to the memory of NFB film pioneer Colin Low, who shot 27 films in Fogo Island for Challenge for Change, developing a revolutionary way to use film as a tool to bring about social change and combat poverty. HAND.LINE.COD. has been selected for several Canadian festivals, including the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) and the Atlantic Film Festival, and has been accepted into the Documentary Shorts Competition at this year’s Santa Barbara International Film Festival.
Berlin International Film Festival