Tag Archives: Markham Street Films

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: 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.