National Canadian Film Day 150 was a huge and momentous opportunity for everyone to celebrate being Canadian… and we certainly didn’t want to leave out the amazing students and teachers from our year-round Our Films in Our Schools programme.
Tens of thousands of students, from a total of 439 high schools and elementary schools across the country participated on April 19th by watching a Canadian film and engaging in conversation afterwards.
Nearly 8,100 lesson plans were sent out to over 370 teachers and community leaders across Canada in anticipation of NCFD 150. REEL CANADA’s database of 500+ film-specific and general lesson plans assists teachers in furthering students’ interest in topics related to Canadian identity, history, and culture. Special NCFD 150 lesson plans were developed in English and French for all grade levels, titled “Canadians and Their Stories.” Additionally, a resource for high school students called “Indigenous Canada: Looking Beyond 150 Years” was designed to help teachers explore colonialism and reconciliation with their students.
High school students from every single province and territory participated in two innovative and interactive livestream events – one in French and one in English. A total of 46 high schools and 4,500 students participated in the French-language webdiffusion with PAUL À QUÉBEC stars Myriam Leblanc and Shanti Corbeil-Gavreau and author Michel Rabagliati. These students had the opportunity to engage with film and Canadian culture by asking questions of the guests.
A whopping 160 schools and 15,000 students participated in the English-language RCtv with stars Colm Feore (BON COP BAD COP), Emily Hampshire (THE TROTSKY) and Vinay Virmani (BREAKAWAY).
RCtv was hosted by REEL CANADA’s Anthony Swan and broadcast live across the country from the YouTube Creative Space in Toronto (and was developed in partnership with REDspace and with the support of Google). More than 2,400 tweets were sent out during the one-hour event, and thousands of students used the REDspace mobile app to engage in our Canadian Film Trivia Challenge, competing with other schools to win prizes.
Schools from every province and territory participated in RCtv through watching the stream, using the app and tweeting. A live in-person audience made up of students from Toronto’s Harbord Collegiate Institute was present at the YouTube Creative Space. At Silverthorn Collegiate Institute in Toronto, the Hon. Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, spoke to students before a screening of BREAKAWAY that accompanied RCtv.
Here is a small sample of what teachers said about participating in NCFD 150:
“It really opened our students’ eyes to Canadian Film. The book [of 150 Canadian Films] was phenomenal. I’ve already watched three new Canadian films I’ve never heard of!”
— Teacher at Holy Cross Secondary School in St. Catharines, ON
“Showing BREAKAWAY to a group of international students really helped explain what it means to be a Canadian. Small group discussions solidified for them some of the obstacles and benefits of living in a multicultural country.”
— Teacher at Vancouver Technical Secondary in Vancouver, BC
“Our students really enjoyed the film and especially the opportunity to be included in an online nationwide school initiative. NCFD 150 provided our small alternative school a chance to connect with other schools around the country.”
— Teacher at Oasis Alternative Secondary School in Toronto, ON
Our year-round schools programme is focused on high school-aged groups, but given the massive scope of National Canadian Film Day 150, we opened the day up to students of all ages… and they came flooding in. Through an amazing partnership with Canadian Parents for French, and various school boards nationwide, we had hundreds of screenings in elementary schools, showcasing some great family-friendly programming and activities.
Schools are the backbone of the REEL CANADA programme, and we love how eagerly they got involved with NCFD 150!