The crazy dream of a platform entirely dedicated to author-driven documentaries has its roots in Ardèche, France, in the small town of Lussas, affectionately called the “Documentary Town.” For more than 30 years, Lussas has hosted a major European documentary festival: “Les États généraux du documentaire.”
Today, Lussas is an international reference in its field. In this village of 1000 inhabitants, more than 40 people work within 10 different organizations, which covers the entire chain of the documentary industry: courses, production, distribution, broadcasting and international activities as well.
Two Quebecers worked in Lussas, in turn, in 2016 and 2017. A strong desire to implement Tënk in Quebec emerged as soon as they got involved in the project in France. They had been dreaming of such a tool for a long time, a tool that would showcase independent documentaries, while focusing on individual choices from curators passionate about the films.
Back in Quebec, they developed a solidarity cooperative to get the project off the ground. Thus, Tënk.ca is an independent society, with complete editorial freedom. This does not prevent the team from relying on the resources and expertise developed by their colleagues in France. This is an incredible opportunity, made possible by the sharing of a political, social and artistic goal: the defence of author-driven documentary and free thought.
In Wolof, a language from West Africa, the word “tënk” means “to state a thought in a clearly and concisely. This choice refers to the coproduction encounters organized my Docmonde, a Lussas’s project, in three regions of the world, including West Africa. Tënk is pronounced [Tènk], but some prefer to say [teunk]!
Tënk.ca is available in Canada. Beyond this area, our website blocks the access to the videos. As for the European version, Tënk is available to French speaking Europe (France, Belgium, Switzerland and Luxembourg) via the website www.tenk.fr, and to the rest of Europe via www.tenk.eu.com.
Other countries in the world are currently developing their own Tënk. The idea being that each country creates its own independent platform, to propose a line-up rooted in the different territories. We hope this great documentary family will make the films travelled, and will take you to places you have never been.
In Canada, Tënk exists under the legal form of a solidarity cooperative. This type of cooperative is democratically and collectively governed by different parties sharing interests and goals. These parties all have a role in the strategic decision-making of the society. By choosing this legal form, Tënk allows the people and organizations of the industry to be directly involved and mobilized in the project, so that the decisions taken reflect a common vision.
Author-driven documentary—or creative documentary—is to documentary what auteur cinema is to fiction: a cinematographic look on reality that questions the images it presents. It differs from the journalistic documentary or reportage, widely shown on television. Indeed, author-driven documentary is not intended to be didactic or objective, but is rather the result of a subjective and assumed creative process.
We are currently working with a team of more than twenty curators who have a complete editorial freedom in the choices of the films they wish to defend. This is our preferred way of working at the moment, so as not to be overwhelmed with film proposals to which we do not have the means to respond to. This is why we don’t do calls for films.
When you are on the page of a film you’d like to watch and it’s written “subscribe” in the middle of it and there is no play symbol, either you need to log in to your account, or you do not have an active subscription for your account. You can log in here and you can subscribe here.
If you can see the play symbol on the page but you can’t get the film to start playing, your internet speed might be too low. Usually, Tënk is available for any connection with an internet speed above 512Kb/s (classic ADSL).
For any other problems, please get in touch with us via the Contact Us page.
Sometimes we have them… And sometimes we don’t! Unfortunately, at the moment, it still depends on the availability of these captions, which don’t always exist. Since our goal is to make independent documentaries accessible to all, this is obviously a concern for us. We hope that the captioning for the deaf and hard of hearing will be one of our coming developments.
The price varies according to the film’s running time, the versions and the areas available. It is not dependent on the number of clicks, or the popularity of the film. The non-exclusive rights are generally purchased for a two-month broadcast across Canada.