Tag Archives: CBC Docs POV

Preview: CBC’s Year of the Goat spotlights the farm’s curious creatures

Back in 2018, Markham Street Films made the excellent “Catwalk: Tales from the Cat Show Circuit,” for CBC’s documentary stream. Detailing the behind-the-scenes drama in the Canadian Cat Association and competitions to name “Best Cat,” it was a lot of fun to watch.

Now Markham Street Films is giving goats their due in a splendid follow-up.

“Year of the Goat,” airing as part of CBC Docs POV on Saturday at 8 p.m. on CBC and CBC Gem, it follows five families as they prepare to show their goats at competitions around Ontario. The goal? To land a spot in The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, the holy grail of agricultural fairs.

Described as “livestock monkeys,” “dogs that give you milk” and “too smart for their own good,” by three of the human interview subjects, viewers catch up with the Vickers family first. Based in Guelph, Ont., the Vickers breed goats as a hobby. Next up is the Yantzi’s who call their farm in New Hamburg, Ont., home alongside four breeds of goats. Then it’s off to meet the Emons, just outside London, Ont.; the Holyoakes in Peterborough, Ont.; and the Kerrs in Newburgh, Ont. All detail their reasons for having goats in the first place and share their thoughts on the animals.

Then the meat of the story: how goats are judged in fairs, categories, the qualifying process and the ultimate trip to The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair. Aside from preparing them for competition, it takes a lot of hard work making sure the animals are fed and watered, cared for and treated when sick. What do judges look for when handing out ribbons? It’s all covered here.

As with Markham Street’s past doc on cats, “Year of the Goat” offers viewers a lot of information delivered in a very natural, entertaining way. From what they eat to the different breeds (why La Mancha’s have tiny ears is fascinating), directors Michael McNamara and Aaron Hancox capture the energy and curiosity of the subject matter brilliantly.

I kid you not: you should check this out.

“Year of the Goat” airs as part of CBC Docs POV on Saturday at 8 p.m. on CBC and CBC Gem.

Image courtesy of CBC.


Preview: Never Too Old proves you can do anything regardless of age

As they say, age is just a number. That saying is driven home in the excellent, inspiring “Never Too Old.”

Debuting Thursday at 9 p.m. on CBC as part of CBC Docs POV, the project—from Dream Street Pictures, who made the equally excellent “Sickboy”—tells the story of 82-year-old Olive Bryanton who aims to earn her PhD, and documents the lives of women over 85 living in rural Canada.

Never one to relax, cameras capture Prince Edward Island native Olive as she works on her doctoral thesis at the University of Prince Edward Island. Her thesis? To prove most octogenarians and older defy the stereotype of taking it easy. Olive recruited 10 women aged 85-91, living in rural P.E.I., to document their busy lives and determine what support, if any, was there helping or hindering them in their lives.

“I’m sick and tired of hearing older adults are a burden on society, because they’re not,” Olive says. She, and the ladies we meet in “Never Too Old,” would run circles around me and a lot of younger folks I know. Like 91-year-old Theresa, a self-professed tomboy who delights in cutting the grass on her riding lawnmower and has “no notion of living anywhere else.” Or 88-year-old Anna, who is still active in her farming community; 87-year-old Ruby, the centre of her senior’s group; and 89-year-old Nan, who paints, revels in her “beautiful junk” and still feels sexual.

At the heart of Olive’s message is dropping the stigma that the older generation isn’t of value to society. As she points out, society’s focus is on those living in care facilities. But a mere 10 per cent of seniors are living in them. They’re active and they have something to say.

“I have never said to myself, ‘It’s too late to do something’ or ‘I’m too old to do something,'” Olive says. “That has never entered my mind.”

“Never Too Old” airs as part of CBC Docs POV on Thursday at 9 p.m. on CBC and streams on CBC Gem.

Image courtesy of CBC.


Preview: CBC Docs POV’s Humboldt: The New Season should not be missed

How can you possibly return to the ice after fellow teammates, coaches and others close to you die? That path is explored through the eyes of Humboldt Broncos players and their families in the heartbreaking and touching “Humboldt: The New Season.”

Debuting as part of CBC Docs POV on Thursday at 9 p.m. on CBC, “Humboldt: The New Season” follows five survivors—Brayden Camrud and Derek Patter as they return to play for the 2018-2019 Humboldt hockey season with a different coaching staff and new teammates and Tyler Smith, Kaleb Dahlgren and Layne Matechuk—as they continue their recovery while pursuing their love of hockey in new ways.

Produced by Chris McIvor and Libby Lea of Frank Digital and Lucas Frison and Elise Beaudry-Ferland of Prairie Cat Productions, “Humboldt: The New Season” recalls the horrific crash between the Broncos bus and a tractor-trailer on that lonely road on April 6, 2018. Sixteen perished and those left behind have been affected physically and mentally for the rest of their lives. Set against a haunting rendition of Tom Cochrane’s “Big League,” while a drone hovers over kids playing hockey on a frozen pond, “Humboldt: The New Season” is a gut-punch from Minute 1.

Banners sit on the ice in a hockey rink.

“I didn’t know if I was going to be able to return after my injuries,” Brayden Camrud says in the opening minutes. “It’s been tough. You have a lot to think about. You think about all those other guys every day. I think about the boys who aren’t here.” Much of the documentary is spent telling the stories of those who were lost, including coach Darcy Haugan, assistant coach Mark Cross and athletic therapist Dayna Brons.

It’s also about healing, whether it’s the players themselves or the small town of Humboldt, whose citizens were thrust onto the world stage because of the accident and who rallied around each other.

The danger of making a project like this is that it can feel invasive, an excuse to get into the faces of those affected and exploit them. But the producers don’t ever do that. The result is a tear-filled story of remembrance and respect that everyone should watch.

“Humboldt: The New Season” airs as part of CBC Docs POV on Thursday at 9 p.m. on CBC.


Preview: Spaceman delves into Granger Taylor’s strange disappearance

It could be the A-story in an episode of The X-Files. The tale of a man who, in 1980, announced to his friends and loved ones that he was leaving Earth aboard a UFO and would return in a few months and then disappeared. But rather than being the stuff of “Duane Barry,” the Season 2 episode of Fox’s sci-fi drama, this story really happened. At least, two-thirds of it.

“Spaceman,” debuting as part of CBC Docs POV on Friday at 9 p.m. on CBC, is the strange tale of Granger Taylor, a young man who climbed into his truck in Duncan, B.C., and was never seen again. He left the following note for his family:

Dear Mother & Father,
I have gone away to walk aboard an alien spaceship as recurring dreams assured a 42-month interstellar voyage to explore the vast universe, then return. I am leaving behind all my possessions to you as I will no longer require the use of any. Please use the instructions in my will as a guide to help.
Love, Granger

Now, almost 40 years later, Alibi Entertainment—the folks behind shows like Carnival Eats and Sarah Off the Grid—sit down with Granger’s family and friends to look back at his life and reflect on the rumours and reports surrounding his whereabouts.

“One of the things that became really obvious right from the beginning that made this stand out from your average story that might not be true was just how current a topic this still is on Vancouver Island,” says executive producer Jennifer Horvath. “It’s been this unanswered question in a smaller community and has stayed in people’s minds.” What isn’t disputed is that Granger was a technical genius. From disassembling cars to building an airplane and steam engine, Granger’s social skills were lacking but his ability to build things wasn’t.

Through interviews with Granger’s sister, Grace Anne Young Reynolds, and close friends Robert Keller and Darrin Manns, viewers learn the details of his life and untangle the theories behind his disappearance. A journalist, Tyler Hooper, digs into the official record to separate fact from fiction. Among the things unearthed by Horvath and her team are Granger’s mental health—something simply not discussed in the 80s—and drug abuse.

But before making the mistake—like I did—and assuming the case of this missing man was simply one to do with his state of mind, “Spaceman” delivers two earth-shattering revelations you’ll shake your head at.

“At the beginning, I would have said, ‘Absolutely not. [Granger leaving on a UFO] is ridiculous,'” Horvath says. “But meeting people who were so whole-heartedly convinced … it leaves the question open.”

“Spaceman” airs as part of CBC Docs POV on Friday at 9 p.m. on CBC and CBC Gem.

Images courtesy of Alibi Entertainment.


Preview: Catwalk: Tales from the Cat Show Circuit frolics in the lives of cat fanciers

I’m a cat person, and I’ve noticed a dearth of programs devoted to the celebration of our feline friends on television and film. There are copious hours devoted to canines via Best in Show, the Puppy Bowl and—of course—the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. Heck, there have been documentaries screened at Hot Docs spotlighting donkeys and chickens. But nary a moment really spent on cats aside from the excellent episode of The Nature of Things, “The Lion in Your Living Room,” which was more about the science of cats than the animals and those who love them.

Until now.

Cats and their owners are celebrated to great—and often comic—effect in “Catwalk: Tales from the Cat Show Circuit.” Broadcast on Sunday at 9 p.m. as part of CBC Docs POV, the hour-long episode from the folks at Markham Street Films (Celtic Soul, Fight for Justice: David & Me) is a riot of fur and the colourful characters who lug their cats around Canada to determine which is “Best Cat.” It’s a cutthroat business in the Canadian Cat Association, as evidenced by Kim Langille who sums it up thusly: “If you’re not No. 1, you’re the first loser.” Wow. Over 12 years ago Kim was bitten by the competitive bug when she adopted Clancy and he became champion. Now she hopes to do the same with Bobby, her white Turkish Angora.

Standing in Kim and Bobby’s path to fame are Shirley McCollow and Oh La La, a fluffy Red Persian who made a splash at the Canadian National Exhibition. The claws are out and the fur flies as … OK, not really. There are no literal catfights in “Catwalk,” but there is plenty of side-eye and glimpses into the truly, um, unique, world of the  Canadian Cat Association. After an introduction as to how cat competitions work from Kim, Bob and Elaine Gleason—a husband and wife cat show judging team—detail how purebred felines are led through multiple rings where each is judged on whether they tick the boxes of what a purebred should look like.

As the season rolls on, it appears to be a two cat race between Oh La La and Bobby until some young upstarts begin clawing their way into the standings. Who will take home the title of “Best Cat”? Tune in to the highly entertaining “Catwalk: Tales from the Cat Show Circuit” for the final showdown.

“Catwalk: Tales from the Cat Show Circuit” airs Sunday at 9 p.m. as part of CBC Docs POV.

Images courtesy of Markham Street Films.