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Docs For Schools at Home

As school is out, or more precisely moved into the home, our popular Docs For Schools program is pleased to curate a variety of free, online documentary films.

Literacy, a key component in school curriculum, is not just about reading books. Learning also comes from the visual component of film and the documentary medium can richly enhance literacy learning and knowledge of our world.

Present times are difficult, full of anxiety that we do not want to compound. The selected films will engage and inform focusing on multiple subject areas and age levels. The target audience for our Docs For Schools programs ranges from grades 7–12.

The selected films will show our world in inspiring and informative ways. A few resources (click “Read More” below) will accompany the films to assist with ideas for discussion or assignments.

In our year-round Docs For Schools programs, we let the teacher decide which films are appropriate for their students. In this case, we leave this decision to the parent/guardian who knows their children and what content is appropriate. If a film is geared towards teens, this will be noted, but again we leave the decision up to you. As with our teachers, we recommend you preview before showing, especially with pre-teens.

If you have any questions or film recommendations, please contact Education and Youth Programs Manager Lesley Sparks at [email protected].


The Films

The selection will be updated weekly so check back regularly.

Defiance 1

Defiance

  • 10
    Director:
WATCH FULL FILM

Presented by The North Face, this 10-minute visual joy allows you to escape with some of the top North American snow borders as they challenge the backcountrya nd avalanche risk in the British Columbia Rockies.

Learn More

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Fashions Dirty Secret 2

Fashion's Dirty Secret

  • UK
  • 58
    Directors:
  • Emeka Onono
  • Executive Producer: Wendy Rattray
  • Producer: Allanah Langstaff

PASSWORD: DFSDirty1

WATCH FULL FILM

PASSWORD: DFSDirty1
Looking at the social and environmental implications of fast fashion, this film aims to raise awareness of the demands consumers are putting on the planet when they participate in this billion-dollar industry. How toxic chemicals released by the garment industry are polluting waterways that millions of people rely on. We will see the former Aral Sea once one of the largest bodies of fresh water now reduced almost entirely to dust. The doc challenges the viewer to make a difference, starting with their own closet.

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Fast Horse

Fast Horse

  • Canada
  • 13
    Director:
  • Alexandra Lazarowich
WATCH FULL FILM

Welcome to a world of horse racing few will know. The film follows the return of the Blackfoot bareback horse racing tradition in a new form: the Indian Relay. Siksika horseman Allison Red Crow struggles to build a team with second-hand horses and a new jockey, Cody Big Tobacco. We see Cody take on the best riders in the Blackfoot Confederacy at the Calgary Stampede.

Winner - Short Film Special Jury Award for Directing, Sundance 2019
Winner - Best Documentary Work Short Format, imagineNATIVE 2018

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Hair Love

Hair Love

  • USA
  • 7
    Director:
  • Matthew A. Cherry
WATCH FULL FILM

Discover the warmth and love between an African American father and his young daughter—and her hair. This charming story received the 2019 Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film.

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Lander Avro To Apollo

Lander: From Avro to Apollo

  • Canada
  • 32
    Directors:
  • Shelley Ayres
  • Mark Foerster

PASSWORD: luna

WATCH FULL FILM

Password: luna
This short film tells the story of Owen Maynard, a Canadian engineer from Sarnia, Ontario who worked on the Avro Arrow design. When Prime Minister Diefenbaker ended the program in 1959 Maynard moved to NASA to work on the early space program. Contributing to the design and engineering of the lunar module, Maynard was recognized as one of the chief engineers in the Apollo program, and was instrumental to the 1969 Apollo 11 mission that landed Neil Armstrong on the moon.

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Now Is The Time

Now Is the Time

  • Canada
  • 16
    Director:
  • Christopher Auchter
WATCH FULL FILM

When he was only 22 years old, world-famous Haida carver Robert Davidson set out on a project of major cultural importance. With the help of his brother, he carved the first new totem pole on the island of Haida Gwaii, British Columbia in almost a century. Through archival footage, animation, and new interviews, Davidson revisits the historic day in August 1969 when the village of Old Massett gathered to celebrate the raising of the totem pole and their culture.

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Open Water

Open Water

  • UK
  • 15
    Director:
  • Dan McDougall

English, with some subtitles

WATCH FULL FILM

A glimpse into the lives of three Greenlanders: a hunter, a ship’s captain and a fisherman, individuals who very existence and heritage is intertwined with the Arctic Ocean. Like many who live in the polar north, their fortunes straddle the extremes of summer and winter. Faced with a drastically changing environment, these seafarers reflect on their past, their present and uncertain future with a complex of emotions. The Guardian

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Out On A Limb 2

Out on a Limb

  • USA
  • 21
    Director:
  • Jordan Manley
WATCH FULL FILM

Kai Lin has been drawing and making art for as long as he can remember and now, he’s using design as a means to improve other people’s quality of life. Craig DeMartino lost part of his leg in an accident years ago but didn’t let that stop him from pursuing his passion of rock climbing. In this film, the unlikely pair comes together to design the perfect prosthetic foot to get Craig back on the mountainside. Taking inspiration from nature, this is a story of creative problem solving, resilience, and empowerment.

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Portrait Of Pockets 1

Portrait of Pockets

  • Canada
  • 12
    Director:
  • Brina Romanek
WATCH FULL FILM

Pockets is a capuchin monkey who was originally raised at a home in British Columbia. When the owner could no longer take care, Pockets was moved to the Story Book Farm, a primate sanctuary in Southwestern Ontario. One of the volunteers at the sanctuary introduced Pockets to a canvas and a set of paints, and voila, Pockets Warhol comes to be. Meet Pockets, see his art and learn how his work has saved the sanctuary.

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Propaganda 1

Propaganda: The Art of Selling Lies

  • Canada
  • 89
    Director:
  • Larry Weinstein

Recommended for high school | With English subtitles

WATCH FULL FILM

Artists Kent Monkman, Shepard Fairey and Ai Weiwei highlight this cautionary tale about the power of persuasion. As the roots of indoctrination are traced from cave drawings through to presidential tweets, potent lies have never been better disguised.

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Salish Sea 1

The Salish Sea

  • Canada
  • 9
    Director:
  • SeaLegacy
WATCH FULL FILM

This short film invites us to experience a body of water that we see on a map of Canada, but likely know little about. There was hope that the Salish Sea would be selected as the Canadian submission to be considered for designation as a UNESCO World Heritage site. It was not, but we can learn about this vibrant, living body of water just of the B.C. coast.

Learn More

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Unveiled

  • USA
  • 5
    Director:
WATCH FULL FILM

As part of the SXSW Film Festival Texas High School short program, this is a short doc featuring two teen girls discuss their decision and the potential challenges they face in choosing to wear the hajib. Online until April 25.

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Exclusive Education Partner

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Supported by

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Additional support is provided by The S. M. Blair Family Foundation, Patrick and Barbara Keenan Foundation, Pitblado Family Foundation, Flavelle Family Foundation, The McLean Foundation and through contributions by individual donors.

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Presenting Platinum Partner

  • logo Scotia Wealth Management

Founding Partner

  • logo Rogers

Signature Partner

  • logo CBC Docs

Presenting Partners

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  • logo Netflix

Major Supporter

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