There was at least one screening at last year’s National Canadian Film Day that was a bit unusual compared to our past experiences in schools, cinemas, community centres and other similar venues. But it was a screening with far-reaching implications.
What started with a contact in correctional services putting on a single screening at a correctional facility in 2016 revealed a big opportunity to engage incarcerated people across the country with Canadian films. The positive response and insightful discussion generated from last year’s event sparked an interest from other correctional facilities. REEL CANADA believes in the importance of Canadian stories and the value of art and education. We hope that participating in NCFD 150 will give incarcerated people a chance to share in a national cultural experience, and to see themselves represented in the characters on screen.
This year, ten screenings of diverse films are planned among a number of facilities. There will be light-hearted and comical fare such as BREAKAWAY and DR. CABBIE. There will be inspiring films about being true to yourself and following your dreams in spite of adversity, such as HOW SHE MOVE and ONE WEEK. Heartfelt films such as EMPIRE OF DIRT show the pains and joys of family relationships. And some guests will watch educational and engaging stories based on real life, such as OUR MAN IN TEHRAN and INSIDE HANA’S SUITCASE. With such a wide range of titles there is no shortage of Canadian stories on display here.
In an exciting initiative we have for NCFD 150, we are also partnering with the organization BOOK CLUBS FOR INMATES (BCFI). BCFI is a non-profit based out of Toronto who have been organizing book clubs in federal prisons for 8 years under the mission of “transforming lives, one book at a time.” REEL CANADA similarly believes in the life-changing power of stories, and is pleased to introduce Canadian films into BCFI’s book clubs for the first time. Six minimum, medium and maximum security institutions in British Columbia, Nova Scotia and Ontario will be showing films for NCFD 150 as part of the BCFI program. Many of the films were chosen for their roots in works of Canadian literature, such as the film adaptations of Roméo Dallaire’s harrowing war memoir, SHAKE HANDS WITH THE DEVIL, Margaret Laurence’s rich and complex THE STONE ANGEL, and Richard Van Camp’s stark and passionate coming-of-age novel, THE LESSER BLESSED.
We look forward to working with correctional facilities across Canada to present this unique opportunity as part of NCFD 150!