June 11, 2016 – Montreal – National Film Board of Canada (NFB)
Starting Saturday, June 11, at 10 p.m. ET, NFB.ca will feature six new short films by the National Film Board of Canada celebrating the achievements of Canadian performing arts legends, as the 2016 laureates are honoured at the Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards in Ottawa.
Since 2008, the NFB has sought out accomplished Canadian directors and found just the right combination of filmmaker, creative concept and laureate, to create highly original portraits of remarkable personalities―and a lasting tribute to Canadian performing-arts excellence.
The NFB has produced 69 films to date through its partnership with the Governor General’s Awards. Portraits of talented and passionate Canadian artists and performing-arts champions, and inspired works of cinema in their own right, they can all be enjoyed, free of charge, at NFB.ca.
TIFF award winner Randall Okita (The Weatherman and the Shadowboxer) takes us inside the architectural and sonic spaces inhabited by one of Canada’s pre-eminent musical ambassadors in Ben Heppner: Moving Through Music. The film plays with scale and layers of sound as it travels from country churches to the major opera houses of the world, exploring Heppner’s intimate connection to the power of performance.
In Breaths, Nyla Innuksuk weaves together stories of artistry and family in her film portrait of singer-songwriter and humanitarian Susan Aglukark as she explores the complex cultural shifts of the last 50 years of Inuit life. Turning her lens on the turbulence of colonial transition, Innuksuk examines the forces that shaped Aglukark’s voice and how that voice is now being translated for a new generation of Inuit artists.
Dancer of the Board, by Genie Award-winning filmmaker Mary Lewis (When Ponds Freeze Over), is a tribute to John D McKellar, a recipient of the Ramon John Hnatyshyn Award for Voluntarism who has worked tirelessly as a volunteer, donor and pro bono legal advisor in the arts for more than half a century. This short film profiles McKellar as he takes on a more involved creative role, as the producer of a large-scale, original musical-theatre production―and shows us he can also do a nimble soft-shoe!
In Marie Chouinard: A Portrait, directed by filmmaker and media artist Oana Suteu Khintirian, Chouinard reveals to us the deepest wellsprings of her creative work. She tells us of the impetus that drives her to pursue an idea to the point of total harmony. Between heaven and earth, between dark and light, this complete artist brings to life ecstatic beings who vibrate with the pure joy of living.
Robert Lantos: A Meta-Narrative Abridged is a collage-like celebration of Robert Lantos’s career directed by Jill Sharpe (Bone Wind Fire) in which memory, dream and story collide in a flickering state of imagination. Scenes from Lantos’s landmark films are playfully repurposed to underscore some of the key moments that have motivated him to be a producer.
On a stage set from one of Suzanne Lebeau’s many plays, two actresses pay tribute to this great woman of the theatre in Val-d’Or-born filmmaker Sophie Dupuis’ Suzanne Lebeau. One of them is Isabelle Miquelon, who brought Lebeau’s words to life on stage in Le bruit des os qui craquent. The other is a young actress who tells us about the passion for telling truth to children that has driven Suzanne Lebeau throughout her career.
The NFB’s GGPAA film collection is produced by the NFB in co-operation with the National Arts Centre and the Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards Foundation. The NFB has been a partner of the GGPAA since 2008.
Online Screening Room: NFB.ca