Challenge for Change / Société nouvelle was a trailblazing initiative that tapped into the power of media for social transformation. Launched in Canada in the late 1960s, it aimed to empower marginalized communities and give them a platform through participatory documentary filmmaking. This innovative approach disrupted traditional media practices, sparking conversations and driving meaningful social change. CfC’s enduring impact continues to inspire similar movements globally, highlighting the transformative potential of media in shaping a better world.
Encounter at Kwacha House – Halifax
Rex Tasker / Canada 1967 / 17'58" / black & white / English / Doc
This short film presents a lively discussion between black and white youths at the interracial club in Halifax, touching on racial discrimination in employment, housing, education, and interpersonal relations.
Bonnie Sherr Klein/Maurice Bulbulian / Canada 1969 / 30'25" / black & white / English/French / Doc
When an old part of a city is to be demolished to make way for a new low-rental housing development, is there anything that the residents can do to protect their own interests? This film, produced in 1968, airs such a situation in the Little Burgundy district of Montréal. It shows how citizens organized a committee that effectively represented them at City Hall and influenced housing policy.
These Are My People…
Michael Kanentakeron Mitchell/Barbara Wilson/Willie Dunn/Roy Daniels / Canada 1969 / 13'16" / black & white / English / Doc
Released in 1969, «These Are My People…» was the first NFB film made entirely by an Indigenous crew. The co-directors were members of the Indian Film Crew (IFC), an all-Indigenous unit established in 1968 as part of Challenge for Change. One of the first Canadian documentaries to foreground an Indigenous perspective on the history of Indigenous–settler relations, it features Standing Arrow and Tom Porter from the Kanien’kéhaka (Mohawk) community of Akwesasne, who discuss longhouse religion, culture, government, and the impacts of settler arrival on their way of life.
Martin Duckworth / Canada 1971 / 14'26" / colour / English / Doc
This short documentary portrays the complex effects of incarceration on individuals. Prisons, the film shows, lock men within themselves, depriving their minds of normal life experiences, confiscating their humanity.
... and They Lived Happily Ever After
Anne Henderson/Kathleen Shannon/Irene Angelico / Canada 1975 / 13'10" / colour / English / Doc
This film from 1975 takes a long, hard look at marriage and motherhood as expressed in the views of a group of young girls and married women. Their opinions cover a wide range. At regular intervals, glossy advertisements extolling romance, weddings, and babies flash across the screen, in strong contrast to the words that are being spoken. The film ends on a sobering thought: the solution to dashed expectations could be as simple as growing up before marriage.