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Unsettling 150

Unsettling 150: Actes de résistance

Two Canadian independent media arts organizations—Vtape and Cinema Politica— have joined together to present the following film and video program for free streaming during this year’s “Canada Day” weekend. On the occasion of the government of Canada’s sesquicentennial celebrations, we are offering the following exceptional titles as works that challenge and unsettle dominant narratives that have storied Canada.

They will be available for free online viewing across the country on the July 1st “Canada Day” weekend for 72 hours: from Friday June 30 to Sunday July 2.

These are incisive stories of resistance told by some of the most committed and engaged media artists in the country. They represent only the tip of a massive iceberg of stories, both told and untold, but together cover crucial ground and provoke critical thought.

We acknowledge that these films and videos will screen in many traditional territories across this country, and that these territories, often unceded or subject to broken treaties, are sacred lands to many Indigenous nations. We are grateful to the artists and their subjects for allowing us to share these stories with you. We are further grateful to the National Film Board of Canada, who kindly provided five of the films.

To watch the Cinema Politica titles below, enter the promo code UNSETTLING150.

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À l'occasion des célébrations du cent-cinquantenaire du Canada, deux organisations d’ arts médiatiques - Vtape et Cinéma Politica - se sont associés afin de présenter les films suivants. Ces histoires percutantes perturbent les récits dominants qui ont défini le pays jusqu’à nos jours. Les films sont disponibles gratuitement ici pour la fin de semaine du 1er juillet («la Fête du Canada») pendant 72 heures: du vendredi 30 juin au dimanche 2 juillet.

Ce sont des récits incisifs, de résistance, filmés par quelques-un(e)s des cinéastes les plus engagé(e)s du pays. Ils ne représentent que la pointe d'un iceberg massif d'histoires racontées et méconnues, mais qui, ensemble, provoquent des réflexions critiques importantes. Nous espérons que cette sélection de films révélera de nouvelles facettes de notre histoire commune et provoquera un dialogue important sur des avenirs possibles pour le Canada.

Nous reconnaissons que ces films seront visionnés dans de nombreux territoires traditionnels autochtones du pays et que ces territoires, souvent non cédées, ou soumis à des traités violés, sont des terres sacrées pour de nombreux peuples autochtones. Nous remercions les cinéastes et leurs sujets, de nous avoir permis de partager ces histoires avec vous. Nous tenons aussi à remercier l'Office national du film du Canada, qui a gracieusement fourni cinq films.

Utilisez le code UNSETTLING150 pour visionner sans frais les films de Cinema Politica.



Terril Calder | 2013 | 3'35 (TAPECODE 972.03)
Vibrations still resonate from the lands past. If you paid full attention you can hear the history underfoot. Toronto has always been a gathering place for the interchange of knowledge, experience and goods. It has a rich history of those traditions and remains to be rich because of those traditions. Repercussions is a portal that examines the link aboriginal people have to the lands history and resonates into a future that is strengthen by this acknowledgement. Vtape is the distributor of REPURCUSSIONS - follow this link to book the film for educational or community screenings today.


Rah | 2012 | 4'41 (TAPECODE 1083.01)
On the right screen, I am threading my face which is a form of epilation and is common practice in Middle Eastern countries. This method of threading is used in Iranian culture and it has been a part of my upbringing since a young age. It is also a female bonding ritual, one in which I share with the women in my life and it is typically performed in a private space. This space is commonly reserved for story sharing and dialogue. I attempt to bring the viewer into intimate contact with acts that are usually performed in private; I attempt to create feelings of closeness and familiarity. My performance becomes an offer of intimacy and access. Vtape is the distributor of SOUND OF STRINGS - follow this link to book the film for educational or community screenings today.


Ali Kazimi | Canada | 2004 | 87' (TAPECODE 692.02)
Continuous Journey is an inquiry into the largely ignored history of Canada's exclusion of the South Asians by a little known immigration policy called the Continuous Journey Regulation of 1908. Unlike the Chinese and the Japanese, people from British India were excluded by a regulation that appeared fair, but in reality, was an effective way of keeping people from India out of Canada until 1948. As a direct result, only a half-mile from Canadian shores, the Komagata Maru was surrounded by immigration boats and the passengers were held incommunicado virtual prisoners on the ship. Thus began a dramatic stand-off which would escalate over the course of two months, becoming one of the most infamous incidents in Canadian history. Vtape is the distributor of CONTINUOUS JOURNEY - follow this link to book the film for educational or community screenings today.


The Pass System from Cinema Politica on Vimeo

Alex Williams | 2015 | 51' (TAPECODE 2000.00)
The Pass System illuminates Canada’s hidden history of racial segregation. For over 60 years, the Canadian government often denied Indigenous peoples the basic freedom to leave their reserves without a pass. Cree, Saulteaux, Dene, Ojibwe and Blackfoot elders of the prairie land where this took place tell their stories of living under and resisting the system, and link their experiences to today. Acclaimed Cree actor and activist Tantoo Cardinal narrates this investigative look into a little-known Canada, with music by Cris Derksen. Vtape is the distributor of THE PASS SYSTEM - follow this link to book the film for educational or community screenings today.

INAATE/SE/ [it shines a certain way. to a certain place/it flies. falls./]

Zack Khalil and Adam Shingwak Khalil | 2016 | 70' | English and Anishinaabemowin (TAPECODE 2051.00)
Adam and Zack Khalil’s debut film re-imagines the Seven Fires Prophecy, an Anishinaabe story which both predates and predicts the arrival of Europeans in North America. The story not only foretells their arrival, but urges the Anishinaabe people to begin a great migration westward to avoid them. It goes on to narrativize the devastating consequences of colonization, while also providing direction for the recovery of the Anishinaabe way of life in the future. It functions as both historical record and prophecy, and it would be added to and amended as time unfolded. Vtape is the distributor of INAATE/SE/ - follow this link to book the film for educational or community screenings today.


Marie Dauverné | 2015 | 5' | French / English (TAPECODE 1086.02)
Why can't boys wear skirts and girls grow a mustache? Why have sex and religion come to replace the plague as our number one collective fear? Set in a folkloristic alpine background, Les contagions barbares (Barbarian Contagions) is a whirlwind of questions that a child might ask. Through a melting pot of images and video extracts, folk music, medieval archives and handmade drawings, the childlike voiceover narrator embarks us on a journey where gender, sexuality and systemic violence collide with history, tradition, family taboos and even a Bobsleigh race. Vtape is the distributor of LES CONTAGIONS BARBARES - follow this link to book the film for educational or community screenings today.



Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers | 2013 | 10'
After the justice system fails the survivor of a brutal, racially-driven sexual assault, she becomes a motorcycle-riding, ass-kicking vigilante who takes on the attackers of other women who've suffered the same fate. A no-holds-barred, neo-noir action/thriller wherein an ass-kicking female vigilante seeks revenge in this social commentary on violence against Indigenous women. To watch this Cinema Politica title, enter the promo code UNSETTLING150 after clicking on "rent."


Martha Stiegman | Canada | 2013 | 59'
The film draws us into the lives of two young leaders: Marylynn Poucachice, a mother of five, and Norman Matchewan, the soft-spoken son and grandson of traditional chiefs. Both spent their childhoods on the logging blockades their parents set up to win a sustainable development plan protecting their land. But it turns out signing the agreement was the easy part. Now, 20 years later, Norman and Marylynn are taking up the struggle of their youth, to force Canada and Quebec to honour their word. To watch this Cinema Politica title, enter the promo code UNSETTLING150 after clicking on "rent."


Rémy Huberdeau | Canada | 2014 | 45'
This is a film about love, life and kids after a gender transition. It shares the struggles and strengths of several trans women and trans men navigating different stages of parenting: from pregnancy, through raising infants, toddlers and teenagers. To watch this Cinema Politica title, enter the promo code UNSETTLING150 after clicking on "rent."


Amy Miller | Canada | 2009 | 58'
This film is a dramatic, exposé documentary which explores 'Canada’s role in Industries of War and Peace’. Through diverse interviews and case studies this documentary unveils the specific interests and profits that are made by certain corporations, individuals and agency within Canada. By examining these myths we seek to find out what are the possible motives that hide behind these stories, and if there are certain people who stand to gain and maintain these misconceptions. Only by breaking down these myths can we hope to understand how these systems of power operate, and help empower people across Canada to change them. To watch this Cinema Politica title, enter the promo code UNSETTLING150 after clicking on "rent."


Sylvia Hamilton | Canada | 2007 | 60'
Extraordinary archival film footage, rare photographs, and touching first hand accounts from past students, teachers, historians and community leaders, are interwoven in this unflinching look at the heart of racial inequality in Canada. It sheds historical perspective on the contemporary calls to create “Black-focused” schools, after ongoing claims from within Black communities that African Canadian students are being ill served by the education system. To watch this Cinema Politica title, enter the promo code UNSETTLING150 after clicking on "rent."


Sergeo Kirby | Canada | 2006 | 66'
Six student activists. Thirty-six Canadian towns. One giant corporation. A daunting experiment in activism. A group of six university students, calling themselves Wal-Town, take to the Canadian highway over two summers. Armed with thousands of pamphlets and fliers, and with one gonzo journalist along for the ride, they visit 36 of Canada's more than 200 Wal-Mart stores with one formidable goal: to raise public awareness about Wal-Mart's business practices and the effects of the company's policies on cities and towns across Canada. To watch this Cinema Politica title, enter the promo code UNSETTLING150 after clicking on "rent."




This River, Erika MacPherson & Katherena Vermette, provided by the National Film Board of Canada


Finding Dawn , Christine Welsh, provided by the National Film Board of Canada


Incident at Restigouche , Alanis Obomsawin, provided by the National Film Board of Canada


You Are on Indian Land, Michael Kanentakeron Mitchell, provided by the National Film Board of Canada


Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resistance, Alanis Obomsawin, provided by the National Film Board of Canada


Le chat dans le sac, Gilles Groulx, provided by the National Film Board of Canada



Vtape is a vibrant distribution organization that represents an international collection of contemporary and historical video art and media works by artists. We make this collection accessible to curators and programmers, educators, scholars and public audiences worldwide. In addition to providing a distribution framework for established and emerging artists, Vtape is committed to establishing video art preservation and exhibition standards, and strives to support hybrid practices in an increasingly complex technical milieu.



Cinema Politica is a Montreal-based media arts, non-profit network of community and campus locals that screen independent political film and video by Canadian and international artists throughout Canada and abroad. We believe in the power of art to not only entertain but to engage, inform, inspire, and provoke social change. Cinema Politica is the largest volunteer-run, community and campus-based documentary-screening network in the world. All screenings are by donation.


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