Canada Backs Two Feature Documentaries

Written by James MacGregor on . Posted in Documentary

Canadian flagThe National Film Board of Canada has announced the winners of its Feature Documentary Fund, which is investing $800,000 in two new theatrical documentaries.

The winning projects are Basement Tapes, directed by Brett Gaylor and co-produced by Mila Aung-Thwin and John Christou (Eyesteelfilm) and Germaine Ying Gee Wong (NFB); and Love at the Starlite Motel, a film by Alison Rose and co-produced by Karen Hawes (Inigo Films) and Silva Basmajian (NFB).


Basement Tapes looks at the corporate control of music through the vision of "Free Culture" advocate Lawrence Lessig, who challenges the record industry to look beyond outdated copyright laws and allow for a free and vital public domain. At the centre of the copyright war are "mash-ups" - clever hybrid songs that people can create themselves and share online - and director Brett Gaylor plans to make the world's first "mash-up" documentary in Basement Tapes, a veritable Open Source of global collaboration.


Love at the Starlite Motel is a film about how Latin attitudes towards love and sex are meeting America at the intersection of 8th Street and Route 826 in Miami. The Starlite Motel is the busiest motel in the city. It rents rooms by the hour and is one of many on 8th Street - the major east-west artery through the city and the heart of Little Havana. Motels like the Starlite are Latin American institutions that were introduced to the United States by Miami's large Cuban and Latin American population. Director Alison Rose explores life at the Starlite and asks if it reflects a healthier attitude toward sex and infidelity.

"We were looking for films that would attract theatre-going audiences; films ready to explore our world with cinematic verve and wit," said Tom Perlmutter, Director General of the English Program at the NFB.


"This new fund for Canadian documentary filmmakers is one more example of the NFB's commitment to long-form documentaries," said Jacques Bensimon, Government Film Commissioner and NFB Chairperson. "Now Canada's documentarians have an important new source of support as they work to realize their visions and put long-form docs back on the big screen."

The Feature Documentary Fund was first announced in June 2005 at the Banff Television Festival, where the call went out for new, original projects that tell innovative stories that appeal to both Canadian and international audiences. Over 80 submissions were received.

Submissions were evaluated jointly by the NFB and The Documentary Channel, which will broadcast the films after their theatrical releases.