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Heaven or Not - DVD ONF/NFB

Catalogue Number:  NFB543292
Producer:  National Film Board Of Canada
Producers:  Danijel Margetic, Anita Lee, Lea Marin, Silva Basmajian
Directors:  Zuzana Hudackova
Producing Agencies:  Balkan Films Inc. (Toronto), National Film Board of Canada (Montreal)
Subject:  Canadian History, Documentary, Environmental Studies, Seniors, Social Issues, Tech/Voc, World History
Language:  English
Country Of Origin:  Canada
Copyright Year:  2007
Running Time:  26:59
Closed Captions:  Yes

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Filmed in the quaint prairie town of Herbert, Saskatchewan, Heaven or Not by filmmakers Zuzana Hudackova and Danijel Margetic is an intimate portrayal of one man's tireless journey to give his life greater meaning.

John Gerbrandt, a WWII veteran, has been singlehandedly building a 7,000-square-foot house over the past three decades with nothing more than his pension and salvaged materials. With no formal training, he is fuelled by a powerful determination to prove his worth to his God, his family and his community. John's story transcends day-to-day life in a small town and reaches the realm of deep spirituality marked by an unwavering commitment.

Now at the age of 84, suffering from health problems and the financial burden of property taxes, John might not be able to finish his lifelong endeavour. His desire to build the highest peak in the town of Herbert now faces the greatest obstacle of all - time. This massive house, half completed, has been viewed by many in the community as an eyesore over the years - a constant construction site that is unsafe for visitors.

Masterfully shot, replete with the nostalgic beauty of the picturesque surroundings, the film begins to reveal the house from the point of view of this small-town community. Gradually, we see the true nature of the townspeople's misgivings unfold.

John's story is one of quiet personal strength and the power of the mind. It shows us how one man, with a profound sense of duty and courage in his faith, can achieve greatness, even if it exists solely within the context of his relationship with his creator.

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