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FRIENDS' pick of our favourite Canadian films

FRIENDS' pick of our favourite Canadian films

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April 24th, 2020

FRIENDS is sharing recommendations for great Canadian content to lighten the load of our shared experience during the COVID-19 lockdowns. Help us share these Canadian gems with even more people and support Canadian artists during the pandemic. Become a patron today.

FRIENDS' pick of our favourite Canadian films

National Canadian Film Day (NCFD), celebrated on April 22, is an initiative by Reel Canada that aims to build an appreciation for Canadian films. Instead of the usual in-person screening events across the country, Canadian film buffs got to join the celebration from home last Wednesday with CanFilmDay Live — an interactive four hour-long livestream punctuated by conversations with Canadian stars like Atom Egoyan, Mina Shum, and Sandra Oh. Here at FRIENDS, we're continuing to celebrate home grown Canadian talent. Here are some of our team's recommendations.

Jenny's pick: Project Grizzly (72 minutes)

Decades before Tiger King became a Netflix sensation, Canada had Troy James Hurtubise, a man with the bizarre passion to create a grizzly-proof suit. In Project Grizzly, director Peter Lynch closely follows Hurtubise's exploits as he builds one prototype after another and tests them; you'll see him in a suit tumbling down a hillside, being hit full force by a log and even by a pickup truck. The only thing more fascinating than the daredevil's quirky personality is perhaps the dedication of his team who were with him every step of the way. While COVID-19 has many of us picking up new hobbies to stay busy, Hurtubise's singular drive to materialize his vision of a suit that can withstand a 700-pound grizzly bear attack is truly admirable, if not hilariously entertaining. — Jenny Armour, Designer

Project Grizzly can be streamed for free at nfb.ca.

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Once We Were Brothers is a classic rock-and-roll documentary that follows the journey of The Band and its lead guitarist, Robbie Robertson from obscurity to stardom. He is possibly one of the greatest Canadian exports to date; through The Band and later as a solo artist, Robertson created some of the hits that shaped the Americana music genre. Like many rock star journeys, Robertson's rise to fame had its share of hardships, which is poignantly captured through archival footage, photography and testimonials by a star-studded cast of collaborators including Martin Scorsese and Bruce Springsteen. — Daniel Bernhard, Executive Director

Once We Were Brothers can be rented on Amazon or streamed on Crave.



More ways to connect to stay home and stay connected:
Liisa's pick: And the Birds Rained Down (127 min)

This new Quebec film about seniors running away from civilization to live out their days in the wilderness probably wasn’t intended as a fantasy. But in the midst of COVID-19 isolation life, there’s something about Louise Archambault’s latest feature that plays like a dream. Based on the 2011 book Il pleuvant des oiseaux by Jocelyne Saucier, the story of octogenarian hermits whose quiet subsistence living by the lake is disrupted by the arrival of two very different women is a beautiful meditation on fiercely reinventing life on one’s own terms. It gently weaves themes of ecology, art, sensuality and death with grace and good humour — and a little Tom Waits cover for good measure. — Liisa Ladouceur, Digital Director

And the Birds Rained Down can be rented or purchased on YouTube.

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