Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](,dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

For those paying attention to this current moment in Canadian cinema, the names Ashley McKenzie, Kazik Radwanski, Hugh Gibson and Sofia Bohdanowicz will seem familiar. As the filmmakers behind Werewolf, How Heavy This Hammer, The Stairs and Maison du Bonheur, respectively, they are just four of the many bold, brash and hungry filmmakers busy interrogating the concept of what, exactly, a Canadian film could and should be.

For those not in the loop, though – ie., the many audiences both domestic and abroad who are unable to catch these films during their quick festival and theatrical runs, if such opportunities are even granted in the first place – Mubi is here to help.

In Kakiz Radwanski's film How Heavy This Hammer (2015), a family man who spends most of his time playing computer games makes a drastic shift when he suddenly decides to leave his wife.


The U.S.-based, globally available streaming service, which bills itself as a more tightly curated alternative to giants such as Netflix and Amazon, will on July 20 launch its first-ever series celebrating what it calls “the new wave of Canadian cinema.”

Story continues below advertisement

Every day, Mubi’s curation team introduces one new film into its online catalogue – but audiences only have 30 days to watch that movie before it’s replaced by another selection. The quick turnaround and limited selection (essentially, the service offers only 30 films at any one time) is designed to appeal to audiences who are propelled by urgency and curiosity – watch these carefully selected films now, before they disappear forever – unlike, say, Netflix, where films can languish at the bottom of your queue until either your interest and/or its streaming rights expire.

“We program festival-friendly cinema, art-house cinema, cult classics – movies that have a singular vision,” says Kurt Walker, a programmer for Mubi who designed the new Canadian series. “And this movement of emerging Canadian filmmakers, we’ve had them on our radar for a while. It’s a really promising time in Canadian cinema and we thought it was essential to share these works with our subscribers.”

Kicking off with McKenzie’s raw and riveting addiction drama Werewolf and closing with Bohdanowicz’s Maison du Bonheur, a poignant documentary about the life of an elderly Parisian woman, Mubi’s series will cycle through 10 recent and essential works that attempt to capture the verve and variances within the current Canadian landscape. Indeed, the rest of the lineup reads like a greatest-hits of the current moment: Radwanski’s dark drama How Heavy This Hammer and Gibson’s doc The Stairs, but also Chloe Robichaud’s Boundaries, Guillaume Langlois’s Historytelling, Olivier Godin’s The Art of Speech, Winston DeGiobbi’s Mass for Shut-Ins and Isiah Medina’s Idizwadidiz. Some selections played huge festivals such as TIFF, others barely made it into art-house theatres and some of the Quebeçois films failed to escape their own provincial boundaries.

Critically acclaimed filmmaker Ashley McKenzie's feature debut Werewolf examines the hardscrabble existence of two homeless addicts.

La Distributrice de Films

“A lot of these films haven’t travelled domestically, let alone internationally and there’s been maybe an indifference or lack of knowledge about Canadian cinema,” says Walker, a Vancouver native and filmmaker himself (the docs Hit 2 Pass and Everything Is Embarrassing). “We hope we can help change that with this program.”

The series came with only a few parameters – films had to be produced within the past three years and, naturally, the rights had to be available.

“This movement stretches back 10 years, I’d say, so we can’t call this the definitive representation of the movement,” Walker says. “But we’ve tried to select films that are distinctly Canadian – not American movies in disguise – and that have distinct ways of reconfiguring storytelling.”

Related: Review: Werewolf is one of the summer’s best movies

Story continues below advertisement

Meet the millennial filmmakers out to revolutionize Canadian content

How Heavy This Hammer is a raw portrait of a man in a rut

As to whether streaming services might offer a radical new model of exposure for Canadian filmmakers – a space where directors can loudly and proudly introduce their work to global audiences – or more of a secondary boost, Walker leans toward the latter. For now.

“I think it’s still essential to have your film on the festival circuit,” he says. “An online premiere on a streaming service is good, but for the time being, all we can do is service the films as best we can and I think we’re doing that with this international, globally exclusive program of Canadian films. Time will tell.” (Although it prefers to distance itself from its larger competitors, Mubi – such as Netflix – doesn’t provide specific viewership numbers.)

In the meantime, Mubi is keeping its eyes on Canada, “We’re eager to explore Indigenous cinema in Canada and devote a program to that in the future,” Walker says, as well as ensuring its subscribers are exposed to other globally specific work.

“We’ve done a series on new Argentine cinema, where we’ve similarly collected young talent and we’re working on a new Spanish cinema program, too,” Walker says. “We’re paying close attention to what’s going on across the board internationally. There’s a lot of synchronicity between nations with this influx of emerging filmmakers, and with all that facilitates their work.

Story continues below advertisement

“More and more young people are making movies and that’s changing movies. People are just picking up cameras – and that’s the future.”

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow the author of this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies