Comments Off on Canadian National Film Day NewsletterMay2016

Canadian National Film Day

GRFF Executive Director Tamara Louks and HURT director Alan Zweigat the post-screening Q&A. Photo credit: Brian Duggan
Thank you to Idea Exchange and those who joined us at our first National Canadian Film Day screening! We were honoured to partner with Idea Exchange and invite award-winning director Alan Zweig and his film HURT to Cambridge. It was a powerful film exploring the life of Canadian hero Steve Fonyo, who ran coast to coast raising $13 million for cancer research, was named to the Order of Canada and then spent the next 30 years in a downward spiral. Through the film and the post-screening Q&A, we spent a year with Steve and witnessed how the run impacted his life.
This year for National Canadian Film Day, Canadians from coast to coast to coast celebrated films made by your fellow Canucks at 415 events, in 217 communities, in every province and territory across the country! We even created a Twitter moment when #CanFilmDay trended on Twitter, reaching 20 million users! National Canadian Film Day is an initiative of REEL CANADA, a non-profit organization that brings Canadian films to high school students, new Canadians, and Indigenous communities across the country throughout the year. Supporting Canadian film isn’t just a one-day thing, so make sure to watch great Canadian films year-round!

TIFF POSTERAcclaimed documentary filmmaker Alan Zweig (When Jews Were Funny) profiles one-time Canadian national hero Steve Fonyo, who raised millions of dollars for cancer research with his 1984-85 coast-to-coast run and was subsequently disgraced by numerous troubles with the law. Winner of the Platform Prize, TIFF. Rated 14A.

Three decades ago, Steve Fonyo, an 18-year-old who’d lost a leg to cancer, became both a national hero and the youngest recipient of the Order of Canada when he ran across the country to raise funds for research. His life since has been no fairy tale. Substance abuse, jail time, and the government’s decision to strip him of his Order of Canada left Fonyo publicly disgraced and forgotten. (The only attendee at an anniversary celebration of his epochal run was the cop who busted him.) Yet he soldiers on, eventually giving us glimpses of the teenager who had the perseverance to complete such a feat back in 1985. Though Fonyo’s story is transfixing, it is director Alan Zweig’s empathy and wit that lift this documentary to the level of contemporary classics like . Zweig shows us a Canada seldom seen onscreen — and rarely with such impact. – Steve Gravestock, TIFF

For more information about National Canadian Film Day, visit

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