Canadian Film Day streams on to celebrate homegrown film

Reel Canada is taking the annual Canadian film celebration online with curated film collections on streaming sites and a four-hour livestream on April 22.

Social distancing won’t curb Canada’s annual celebration of domestic cinema.

Organizer Reel Canada has announced its annual National Canadian Film Day (NCFD) – set for April 22 – will have a big digital rollout this year, with a curated streaming collection, family activities and an interactive livestream to close out the day.

This year’s curated list, titled 20+20, focuses on a mix of feel-good films and dramas grounded in reality, all available on Canadian streaming services such as CBC Gem, Netflix and Crave. Titles vary from recently released films like Antigone, Menteur and The Grizzlies (pictured), as well as classics such as The Sweet Hereafter and I’ve Heard the Mermaids Singing. Most are available to view for free.

The CanFilmDay Live digital broadcast will livestream from 6 to 10 p.m. ET on YouTube and the NCFD website, with filmmakers, actors, producers and other industry figures joining in, and opportunities for Canadians to interact. Confirmed guests include Atom Egoyan, Colm Feore, Mina Shum, Philippe Falardeu, Vinay Virmani, Patricia Rozema, Emily Hampshire, Peter Keleghan, Mary Young Leckie and Don McKellar, with more to be announced. Canadians are encouraged to use the hashtag #CanFilmDay to keep up the conversation on social media.

There will also be special programming given to vulnerable or isolated Canadians long-term care facilities and retirement homes, with introductions provided by filmmakers.

“We believe that Canadians are hungry for an opportunity to be part of something larger, and especially something Canadian. It’s a chance to come together and give each other a big virtual hug,” said Jack Blum, executive director of Reel Canada, in a statement.

Meanwhile, Bell Media’s Crave will release its own curated collection of Canadian films for NCFD, including Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and the Band, The Hummingbird Project and Firecrackers. Pay TV channels Crave, STARZ, SUPER ÉCRAN and Cinépop will also broadcast a full day of Canadian film.

CBC Gem will feature a number of Canadian titles, including 2018 Canadian Screen Award best picture winner MaudieAtanarjuat: The Fast RunnerMonsieur Lazhar and Nurse.Fighter.Boy. The pubcaster’s streaming service adds a new Canadian film title each Friday and currently has more than 120 Canadian titles.

The National Canadian Film Day runs all day on April 22.