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By Anne Brodie

Meet the 2024 Governor General artistic laureates in their natural habitats in a new series of seven short films. The National Film Board of Canada commissioned filmed profiles averaging 3 – 5 minutes and one at 23 to honour Canadian performing artists of excellence, via “portraits of distinguished Canadians that stand on their own as innovative short works of cinema”.  Find them below or at NFB.CA, CBC Gem, ICITOU.TV in French, and YouTube.

Writer-director Janine Windolph’s documentary short Our Maternal Home traces the origins of the Cree Nation of Waswanipi via a family confronting the impacts of generational and cultural disconnection. They discover the best medicine in the bond of kinship.

Wes “Maestro” Williams: Wes to the East – Forward Movin’ by Gilles Doiron

“Don’t make records, make history.” Wes “Maestro” Williams was the first Canadian rapper to break into the mainstream. In Wes to the East – Forward Movin’, we follow him takes us through the early days to today, as a recording artist, actor, author, and motivational speaker. His optimism and confidence are inspiring.

Measha Brueggergosman-Lee: A New Song, by Will Prosper 

Measha Brueggergosman-Lee has sung in concert halls around the world with one of the most beautiful voices today. And we step into her painterly, warm home to see another side. A New Song paints a picture of the first Black recipient of the prestigious Governor General’s Lifetime Artistic Achievement Award for Classical Music. 

Diane Juster: Foundation of a Song by Gilles Doiron

Diane Juster: Foundation of a Song explores the legendary singer-songwriter’s relationship to melody, lyrics and emotion. Juster, an advocate for protecting and encouraging Canadian artists, reflects on a love, her family and what she hopes to leave to the next arts gen.

Mélanie Demers: Artistic Frictions by Gilles Doiron

Artistic Frictions follows iconic dancer and choreographer Mélanie Demers who has “reinvented the language of dance” with her company, MAYDAY. Demers’ imagination shines forth as we watch contemporary dancers and performers bring her inspiration to life.

Jenny Belzberg: Home is Where the Art Is by Will Prosper

“Being part of communities is how you understand them.” Calgary’s Jenny Belzberg takes us into the renowned Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, for live music and imagery from Canadian artists. Her passion is bringing communities and creativity together.

The Passion and Puppetry of Ronnie Burkett by Michelle Mama

Theatre artist Ronnie Burkett’s remarkable work “reinventing” puppetry and storytelling has won him admirers; we see him at work and at home as he ponders the unusual career that he has lived on his own terms.

Andrea Martin: Nine Lives …And Counting!  By Michelle Mama  

And Andrea Martin! One of Canada’s funniest performers in its history remembers back to the roles she played, live and on television, that shot her to fame. In her home Martin shows off amazing memorabilia including an hysterical letter sent to her by Phylis Diller, emanating that same wonderfully out-there vibe we know and love.

All shorts streaming now courtesy NFB.CA



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