April 29 is National Canadian Film Day – a new workday holiday designed to bring awareness to the country’s long history of award-winning, homegrown moviemaking.
The day, presented by REEL Canada and a slew of sponsors (including the CBC, Scotiabank, and Cineplex) says it aims to achieve two things: Awareness and Availability, “to share these awesome films with our friends and neighbours – spread the wealth.”
“We want Canadians everywhere to realize what amazing, incredible films are created right here in our own backyard,” the site reads, on CanadianFilmDay.ca. “It’s a light-hearted intervention for our national consciousness, a wake-up call to anyone who has not yet been exposed to the great cinematic stories we tell one another in this cold, vast country.”
The site encourages people to share its existence on Facebook, Twitter, and whatever other social networks or online outlets viewers might have. The Day’s Flickr page is also dotted with photos of Canada’s most famous films and actors, from comedians Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas to director Atom Egoyan or actors Jay Baruchel and Paul Gross.
This year’s event is the first-ever National Canadian Film Day.
People are encouraged to take part by, well, watching… anything. Whatever would go well with a bottle of maple syrup or a cinnamon-coated beaver tail.
Online, Canadians can view a slew of the National Film Board of Canada’s award-winning shorts, like the Log Driver’s Waltz and the Oscar-nominated The Cat Came Back, as well as the animated movie based on Roch Carrier’s The Sweater.
(There is a long list of movies available to watch online – provided by REEL Canada – although some of them may require a login or have expired, such as The Rocket (a Canadian film about hockey legend Maurice Richard) and David Cronenberg’s Videodrome.)
44 Canadian films will also be screened across the country, with showcased listings in every province.
In B.C., for example, Campbell River’s Landmark Cinemas is showing Sisters & Brothers, starring Cory Monteith, Amanda Crew, and Dustin Milligan. Dawson Creek’s Landmark theatre is showing Bon Cop/Bad Cop. Kelowna’s Famous Players is showing C.R.A.Z.Y.
Vancouver is showing movies like We Are Here, Neurons to Nirvana, Reaching Blue and Double Happiness at various venues. Victoria’s Vic Theatre is showing Rhymes for Young Ghouls, and the city’s CineVic Society is showing Horses in Winter. Finally, Whistler’s Public Library is showing Watermark, a documentary.
(*A full listing of Canada-wide National Film Day screenings is available online.)
The day is also getting some love from broadcast partners, with the Hollywood Suite cable package airing Canadian-made films all day on its channels – AXN Movies, MGM Channel, Sony Movie Channel, and WarnerFilms.
Shaw will be broadcasting Canadian films on IFC and Showcase.
And The Movie Network is also getting in on the maple leaf-y action, with Canadian movies showing on its HD channel, Encore channels, MExcess, MFest, and HBO Canada.