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Alanis Obomsawin’s Bill Reid Remembers and Kitra Cahana’s Perfecting the Art of Longing. NFB short docs at Hot Docs 2022 explore two incredible lives.


March 30, 2022 – Montreal – National Film Board of Canada (NFB)

The National Film Board of Canada (NFB) selection at the 2022 Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival features inspiring and intimate personal portraits, as Alanis Obomsawin and Kitra Cahana turn their lens on two people close to them to create a pair of powerful NFB short docs.

For 2022, Hot Docs returns with a mix of in-person screenings in Toronto and national online screenings, from April 28 to May 8.

Bill Reid Remembers (24 min.)  — WORLD PREMIERE
A film by Alanis Obomsawin
Press kit: mediaspace.nfb.ca/epk/bill-reid-remembers

  • Screening Saturday, April 30, at 11:30 a.m. in the Isabel Bader Theatre, with Alanis Obomsawin in attendance
  • Online streaming April 28 to May 8 at ca

Hot Docs will feature the world premiere of legendary director Alanis Obomsawin’s new film, Bill Reid Remembers, a beautiful tribute from Alanis to her friend’s remarkable life and rich legacy.

  • Despite spending his early life away from his nation’s culture, renowned Haida artist Bill Reid always kept Haida Gwaii close to his heart. While working for CBC Radio, he started learning how to make jewelry, then later sculpture, using Haida techniques and images, a move that would forever change his life and the Canadian artistic landscape.
  • Reid’s powerful narration in the film—recorded by Alanis and interspersed with her own—recounts his complex childhood, his emergence as an accomplished artist, and his profound connection to his homeland. Decades after his passing, Bill Reid remains an enduring force and one of Canada’s greatest artists.
  • A member of the Abenaki Nation and one of Canada’s most distinguished filmmakers, Ms. Obomsawin has directed 54 films to date in a career spanning 55 years—chronicling the lives and concerns of First Nations people and exploring issues of importance to all.
  • The film is produced by Alanis Obomsawin and executive produced by Annette Clarke and John Christou for the NFB’s Quebec and Atlantic Studio.

Perfecting the Art of Longing (12 min.) – ONTARIO PREMIERE
A film by Kitra Cahana
Press kit: mediaspace.nfb.ca/epk/perfecting

  • Screening Sunday, May 1, at 10:45 a.m. in the Isabel Bader Theatre, with Kitra Cahana in attendance
  • Online streaming April 28 to May 8 at ca

The festival is also presenting Kitra Cahana’s short doc Perfecting the Art of Longing, a collaboration between the filmmaker and her father, Rabbi Ronnie Cahana, that’s a powerful meditation on love and hope, and what it means to be alive.

  • In 2011, Rabbi Cahana suffered a devastating brainstem stroke that left him “locked in,” only able to communicate through the blinking of his eyes. In the years that followed, the beloved poet and community leader regained some power of speech but remained paralyzed, requiring round-the-clock assistance at a long-term-care facility in Montreal. When the pandemic lockdown hit, he found himself completely isolated and cut off from his loved ones, connecting only through screens.
  • Using footage from security cameras, video calls and home-video archives, this experimental short film leads us on a journey through memory, family and faith, exploring the nature of connection and distance. A philosophical film unlike any other, it’s a tribute to the human spirit and a reflection on longing itself.
  • Kitra Cahana is an award-winning documentary photographer and filmmaker whose work explores a variety of social, anthropological and spiritual themes.
  • Perfecting the Art of Longing had its world premiere last fall in the National Short Films Competition at Montreal’s Festival du nouveau cinéma.
  • The film is produced by Kat Baulu and Ariel Nasr, and executive produced by Annette Clarke, for the NFB’s Quebec and Atlantic Studio.

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Associated Links

Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival

French version here | Version française 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.