Documentary Films

ll films start at 3 PM Films may change without notice due to circumstances beyond our control.

Please note: Many of these documentary films are available for loan through the McGill Library system (Redpath Library downtown and/or Macdonald campus) or through the FREE download on the KANOPY website.


This summer and fall our Documentary film series acknowledges and salutes the Canada C3 expedition. For more information or to access videos made on the expedition check the website here.

August 20: Great Lakes, Bad Lines (2016). Many environmental documentaries recount the aftermath of a grave disaster. Great Lakes, Bad Lines is refreshingly different in this regard. The film concerns the inevitable erosion and malfunction of Enbridge Line 5, a Canadian-owned pipeline that stretches across over 500 miles and transports 23 million gallons of oil through much of Michigan's Great Lakes on a daily basis. The line was built over 60 years ago, and is in urgent need of repair. Experts agree that something needs to be done, or the region will inevitably suffer one of the worst environmental catastrophes in recorded history. The film is a convincing and proactive effort to raise awareness and provoke change.

AND The Whale (Director Suzanne Chisholm)

August 27: Chevron vs. the Amazon. The oil industry giant Chevron began operating in Ecuador's Amazon rain forest in 1964. Over the course of thirty years, this majestic environmental wonder became the victim of unregulated corporate abuse and greed. By the time the corporation vacated the area in 1992, their toxic footprint had brought about 1700 times more damage to the environment than the infamous Exxon Valdez oil spill in the United States. Empire Files host Abby Martin visits the scene of the crime in Chevron vs. the Amazon, and uncovers the extent to which the criminal acts of industry have spoiled the riches of a tropical paradise. The Amazon plays host to hundreds of thousands of unique species of plant life, insects, animals, as well as an equally diverse human population. All of this came under threat when Chevron established operations in the region over 50 years ago.

Sept. 3: Museum CLOSED

FALL 2017

Sept. 10: No Fish Where to Go (NFB). Watch the trailor here; Tuktu and the Ten Thousand Fishes (NFB,1967); Operation Conservation (NFB)

Sept. 17: Martha of the North (NFB, 2009). Martha was only 5 when she and her parents were lured away from their Inuit village. Along with a handful of other families, they were moved to Canada’s most northerly island, Ellesmere, to ensure Canadian sovereignty in the Arctic. They were told that game would be plentiful and life would be easy. Instead, they discovered that the islands of the Arctic are among the least hospitable to human life in the world. For years, they endured hunger and extreme cold. Deprived of the right to an education and a childhood, Martha had to help her family survive. Yet she proved as resilient as the other people from her community who appear in the film. Martha of the North is the story of a journey and a childhood spent in a new and unwelcoming land.


Sept. 24 : A climate of change (2014).

Produced as a prelude to the 2015 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Canadian production A Climate of Change relies on the expert insights of several revered scientists to debunk the skepticism of global warming deniers and advocate for greater urgency in preventing further planetary abuse. Armed with easily understandable testimony and clear and concise evidence, the film hopes to put an end to the debate and begin the search for real solutions to an ever-worsening global crisis. The scientists featured in the film speak to the various aspects of the climate change crisis. Dr. Kimberly Strong, a Professor Physics at the University of Toronto, dedicates her professional research career to the measurement and study of gasses and other pollutants in the atmosphere. Her findings indicate a dangerous trend of ozone depletion. Dr. John Smol, Professor of Biology at Queen's University, speaks of the changes occurring in the Arctic region. From there, scientists can comfortably predict the global changes to come. What they find in the Arctic is immensely troubling, as ancient ponds and lakes are shallowing at an alarming rate. Richard Peltier, the Director of the Centre for Global Change Science, outlines the dangers inherent in our rising sea levels, which are caused in significant measure by melting ice sheets and warming climates.

Oct. 8: Museum CLOSED

Oct. 15: TWO Water Brothers episodes (about 25 minutes each): Water Everywhere…but not a drop to drink: Canadians are big water users and are also advanced in water treatment and distribution technologies. Yet, in one of the most water rich countries in the world, approximately one out of every five First Nations communities in Canada lacks access to clean, safe and sustainable drinking water. Why do some First Nations communities have these problems and others do not and are thriving? How can there be economic independence and advancement for these communities without this basic human right? The Brothers travel to First Nations communities in search of the answers.

AND On Thin Ice: Canada is home to over 1 million lakes and one of the largest freshwater supplies in the entire world, but scientists are discovering that these vast freshwater resources, and the ecosystems they support, are increasingly at risk due to the effects of climate change. From changing rainfall patterns, to reduced snowpack, melting mountain glaciers and warming lakes, Canada is more vulnerable to climate change than many of us assume. We are indeed living on thin ice.

AND Finding Nemo

Oct. 22: Belo Monte: After the Flood

Directed by award-winning environmental documentarian Todd Southgate and produced in collaboration with Amazon Watch, International Rivers, and Cultures of Resistance, Belo Monte: After the Flood brings us to the shores of the Xingu River in the heart of the Amazon. There, we hear the stories of indigenous community members and their decades-long fight against the multi-billion-dollar Belo Monte hydroelectric project. Amidst government corruption, environmental degradation, and neglected mitigation measures, this film shows how community members have taken matters into their own hands to fight for the protection of their waterways.

AND A Plastic Ocean

Oct. 29: Lost Rivers (CatBird films, 2015).  The film takes us across the globe, retracing the history of lost urban rivers by plunging into archival maps and going underground with clandestine urban explorers. We’ll search for the disappeared Petite Rivière St-Pierre in Montreal, the River Tyburn in London, England, the Saw Mill River in New York, and the Bova-Celato River in Bresica, Italy. Could we see these rivers again? To find the answer, we’ll meet visionary urban thinkers, activists and artists from around the world.

AND Finding Dory

Nov. 5 novembre: Flow: for love of water  (NFB, 2008). Builds a case against the growing privatization of the world's dwindling fresh water supply with an unflinching focus on politics, pollution, human rights and the emergence of a domineering world water cartel. Interviews with scientists and activists intelligently reveal the rapidly building crisis ... begging the question: Can anyone really own water?"--

Nov. 12 novembre: A Journey in the History of Water (2001

Nov. 19 novembre : A Drop of Life (2007)

Nov. 26 novembre: A New Culture of Water

Dec. 3 décembre : Pour la suite du monde (NFB 1963)

Dec. 10 décembre:  A World Without Water (2011)

Dec. 17 décembre: National Geographic Live!: Børge Ousland: Breaking Records in the Arctic