Myth Busters

Myth Busters

It is said that truth always triumphs, but when it comes to certain hoaxes, long-held false beliefs and urban legends, there’s nothing quite like an illuminating doc to help set the record straight. This week on NFB.ca, we are highlighting 5 films that debunk popular myths. Was Christopher Columbus really the first to set foot in America? Are wolves really the ruthless beasts we make them to be? Watch and see.

  • Long Lance
    campus 1986 | 55 min

    Was he a black man, a white man, or an Indian chief? This documentary looks at legendary and fascinating impostor Chief Buffalo Child Long Lance. In the early 1900s, he garnered international acclaim as a soldier, journalist, writer, photographer, bon vivant and movie star. But despite his very public life, his origins remain a mystery. Based on a book by Donald Smith, this film outlines Long Lance's almost unbelievable life story.

  • The Vinland Mystery
    1984|29 min

    This short documentary depicts the search, discovery and authentication of the only known Norse settlement in North America - Vinland the Good. Mentioned in Icelandic manuscripts and speculated about for over two centuries, Vinland is known as "the place where the wild grapes grow" and was thought to be on the eastern coast between Virginia and Newfoundland. In 1960 a curious group of house mounds was uncovered at l'Anse aux Meadows in northern Newfoundland by Drs. Helge Ingstad and Anne Stine Ingstad of Norway. Added to the United Nations World Heritage List, l'Anse aux Meadows is considered one of the most important archaeological sites in the world.

  • The Defender
    1988|54 min

    This documentary is about Bob Diemert of Carman, Manitoba, and his dream of building the world's next great fighter plane. His worldwide reputation as a genius at restoring "warbirds" enables him to finance his dream. The Defender is a lively, sometimes wild and funny, tale about a remarkable, modern-day folk hero.

    For more background information about this film, visit the NFB.ca blog.

  • Death of a Legend
    1971|49 min

    This documentary film by Bill Mason is about wolves and the negative myths surrounding the animal. Exceptional footage portrays the wolf's life cycle and the social organization of the pack, as well as other film of caribou, moose, deer and buffalo. Mason later made a feature documentary on wolves (Cry of the Wild, 1973) that played theatrically throughout North America and earned $5 million at the box office.

  • Qallunaat! Why White People Are Funny
    2006|52 min

    This documentary pokes fun at the ways in which Inuit people have been treated as “exotic” documentary subjects by turning the lens onto the strange behaviours of Qallunaat (the Inuit word for white people). The term refers less to skin colour than to a certain state of mind: Qallunaat greet each other with inane salutations, repress natural bodily functions, complain about being cold, and want to dominate the world. Their odd dating habits, unsuccessful attempts at Arctic exploration, overbearing bureaucrats and police, and obsession with owning property are curious indeed.

    A collaboration between filmmaker Mark Sandiford and Inuit writer and satirist Zebedee Nungak, Qallunaat! brings the documentary form to an unexpected place in which oppression, history, and comedy collide.