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World premiere of Julia Ivanova’s Fort McMurray doc Limit Is the Sky headlines a six-film NFB selection at the Calgary International Film Festival


2016 selection includes two new Indigenous feature docs from Alanis Obomsawin and Alethea Arnaquq-Baril and feature-length animation from Vancouver’s Ann Marie Fleming

September 7, 2016 – Vancouver – National Film Board of Canada (NFB)

The world premiere of Julia Ivanova’s Limit Is the Sky, an Alberta-produced National Film Board of Canada (NFB) feature documentary about Fort McMurray, heads up a stellar selection of four feature-length films and two short works at the Calgary International Film Festival, taking place September 21 to October 2, 2016.

Feature films

Directed, written, shot and edited by Ivanova, the character-driven documentary Limit Is the Sky explores the lives of a diverse group of millennials in search of money, identity and success, whose paths lead them to Fort McMurray, a remote town in the heart of the world’s third-largest oil reserves. Shot over several years, Limit Is the Sky follows these young workers as they do their best to join the ranks of the highly paid oil-field labourers who made “Fort Mac” a boomtown. But what happens when the boomtown goes bust? Can these so-called “gold-collar workers” hang on? Limit Is the Sky is produced by Bonnie Thompson and executive produced by David Christensen for the NFB’s North West Studio in Edmonton.

The latest film by legendary director Alanis Obomsawin, We Can’t Make the Same Mistake Twice explores an epic court challenge over child and family welfare services for First Nations children on reserves and in Yukon, filed by the Child and Family Caring Society of Canada and the Assembly of First Nations against Indian Affairs and Northern Development Canada. The film documents this landmark nine-year legal battle, giving voice to the tenacious childcare workers at its epicentre―especially Caring Society executive director Cindy Blackstock, who was spied on and harassed by the federal government. A member of the Abenaki Nation, Alanis Obomsawin is one of Canada’s most distinguished filmmakers. For over four decades, she has directed documentaries at the NFB that chronicle the lives and concerns of First Nations people and explore issues of importance to all.

Seal hunting, a critical part of Inuit life, has been controversial for a long time. Now, a new generation of Inuit, armed with social media and their own sense of humour and justice, are challenging the anti-sealing groups and bringing their own voices into the conversation. In Angry Inuk (NFB/Unikkaat Studios/EyeSteelFilm), Iqaluit-based filmmaker Alethea Arnaquq-Baril joins her fellow Inuit activists as they challenge outdated perceptions of Inuit and present themselves to the world as a modern people in dire need of a sustainable economy. Winner of the Vimeo On Demand Audience Award at Hot Docs, Angry Inuk is produced by Alethea Arnaquq-Baril and Bonnie Thompson (NFB), and executive produced by Bob Moore Daniel Cross, and David Christensen (NFB).

Written and directed by Vancouver’s Ann Marie Fleming, Window Horses: The Poetic Persian Epiphany of Rosie Ming is a feature animation about love—love of family, poetry, history, culture―in which a young Canadian poet embarks on a whirlwind voyage of discovery. The film’s voice actors include Sandra Oh, Ellen Page, Don McKellar, Shohreh Aghdashloo and Nancy Kwan. More than a dozen animators, including Kevin Langdale, Janet Perlman, Bahram Javaheri and Jody Kramer, worked on the film with Fleming. Window Horses is co-produced by Stickgirl Productions (Ann Marie Fleming), Sandra Oh and the NFB (Shirley Vercruysse and Michael Fukushima), and distributed in Canada by Mongrel Media.

Short films

Oscar (MJSTP Films/NFB) is acclaimed Quebec filmmaker Marie-Josée Saint-Pierre’s portrait of virtuoso pianist Oscar Peterson at the twilight of an exceptional career, as he wistfully meditates on the price of fame and the impacts of the artist’s life on family life. From the young prodigy’s beginnings in Montreal to his triumphs on the international scene, this 12-minute animated documentary explores the profound solitude of an artist constantly on tour. Set to the tunes of Peterson’s compositions, it’s a heartfelt story about a life in jazz, produced by Marc Bertrand (NFB), Jocelyne Perrier and Marie-Josée Saint-Pierre. The executive producer is Julie Roy (NFB).

The Head Vanishes (Papy3D/NFB/ARTE France) is French animator Franck Dion’s second NFB co-production, following the multi-award-winning 2012 animated short Edmond Was a Donkey. In this new 10-minute film, he takes us inside the faltering, fragile mind of a woman living with dementia who is determined to take the train to the seaside, as she does every summer. Winner of the Cristal Award for a Short Film at Annecy, the film is produced by Franck Dion and Richard Van Den Boom for Papy3D, Julie Roy for the NFB and Hélène Vayssières for ARTE France.


Related Products

Electronic Press Kit | Images, trailer, credits, synopsis: Angry Inuk | The Head Vanishes | Limit Is the Sky | Oscar | Window Horses


Associated Links

Calgary International Film Festival

Unikkaat Studios

Mongrel Media



ARTE France


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Media Relations

Canadian media contact for Window Horses

Bonne Smith

Star PR

Tel.: 416-488-4436

E-mail : starpr@sympatico.ca

Twitter : @starpr2

Media Relations

  • About the NFB

    The NFB is Canada’s public producer and distributor of award-winning documentaries, auteur animation, interactive stories and participatory experiences, working with talented creators across the country. The NFB is taking action to combat systemic racism and become a more open and diverse organization, while working to strengthen Indigenous-led production and gender equity in film and digital media. NFB productions have won more than 7,000 awards, including 12 Oscars. To access this unique content, visit NFB.ca.