TORONTO — The goal of Wednesday’s second annual National Canadian Film Day is to encourage Canadians to do something simple: watch a great Canadian film.
But what is a Canadian film?
Hundreds of movies are shot in Canada — which has been dubbed Hollywood North — but only some qualify as Canadian movies.
It’s not necessarily about who is making the movie or who’s in it, but who’s paying for it. That’s why Ghostbusters — co-written and directed by a Canadian and starring two Canadians — is not a Canadian movie while Porky’s — written and directed by an American and featuring a mostly American cast — is a Canadian movie.
The first Canadian feature film is believed to be Evangeline, made in 1913 by Halifax-based Canadian Bioscope Company. It was followed by 1919’s drama Back to God’s Country, starring Victoria-born Nell Shipman.
Earlier this week, the Toronto International Film Festival released a ranking of the 10 best Canadian films of all time, based on a survey of industry insiders.
Zacharias Kunuk’s 2001 film Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner was ranked No. 1, followed by Claude Jutra’s Mon Oncle Antoine and Atom Egoyan’s The Sweet Hereafter.
National Canadian Film Day is coordinated by non-profit organization Reel Canada with the support of filmmakers, distributors, exhibitors and broadcasters (include Global parent company Shaw Media).
On shomi, a streaming service partly-owned by Shaw Media, the Northern Lights: A Celebration of Canadian Film collection features 10 titles, including Sarah Polley’s Away From Her, David Cronenberg’s Videodrome and Wiebke von Carolsfeld’s Marion Bridge.
On Wednesday only, the film Rude is being streamed for free at the Canadian Film Centre website and eight homegrown films are screening for free courtesy of the Canadian Filmmakers Distribution Centre.
One Week, starring Joshua Jackson, can be streamed for free here (for one week, naturally).