2011 Films

Beat Down Canada Deanne Foley Deanne Foley, Ian MacLeod Paul Pope This homegrown feature production is a debut achievement for Deanne Foley, whose shorter gems have always found a place on our screens. Marthe Bernard (Republic of Doyle) plays the unsinkably feisty Fran, a young woman with vague dreams and a restless heart. Her Dad, know as Whitey, (played by Trailer Park Boys’ Robb Wells) is a former wrestling champ who forbids Fran from entering the ring at any time. He is profane, overbearing ,and hilariously emotional. THis film boasts a tag team of actors, with Any Jones, Mark O’Brien, Tony Nappo, and Janet Kidder. The script exploits the cliches of the underdog story with fresh attitude. Ultimately, what you see on screen is a legit hit--a knockout with a clean finish.
Phantoms of the French Shore Canada Barbara Doran Barbara Doran, Jerry McIntosh Barbara Doran, Jerry McIntosh This is a film about the artists who designed the tapestry and the women who sewed it, a 67-metre piece of cloth representing the history of French settlement in Newfoundland. This is a story scarcely know, a 400-year-plus history of conquest and culture. This is a gorgeous celebration of a gorgeous fabrication.
Signs Israel Tamar Natanel Tamar Natanel Neta Shiovits, Tamar Natanel At the centre of this dramatic Israeli film is Hannah, still mourning the loss of her brother who had been killed three decades ago in military service. As must transpire for all Israeli youth, Hannah’s son must eventually answer the call, if reluctantly, to duty. This actona generates Hannah’s ritual return to her brother’s grave, a place to which she retreats to grieve all over again, and perhaps to ward off dangers that might befall her son. Deaf, and gripped with a deep sense of loss and anxiety, she turn to dance to help express her feelings. Middle East politics aside, war is hell for both those who must fight and those who must watch and are left behind.
Scent of Strawberries Israel/UK Guy Natanel Guy Natanel This film is about the making of the film Signs, which was directed by this filmmaker’s mother. The documentary reveals the struggle she went through to represent her own sense of loss and fear, and especially her own helplessness. In effect, with this film we can walk through the looking glass to appreciate what’s on the other side of fiction. There we find the facts of identity, memory, and loss. A powerful lesson of both films is the therapeutic power of art. Watching these films might not stop Middle East conflict, but it does help us find a way to understanding in its most personal and human dimension.
Seven Sins: Lust Canada Anita Doron Anita Doron Amit Breuer, Peter Harvey Here is a hilarious animated recollection of (one of) our most popular sins. If only they had sown us this video in Sunday School--it all would have made so much more sense, and saved us so much grief, if not sin.
Sleeping With Frank USA Lily Baldwin Lily Baldwin Lil Baldwin Some couples trudge through their morning rituals with leaden feet. This couple not only think it can dance but it never met a bagel it didn’t bop to. We’ll have whatever they’re having.
St. John’s Women Excerpts: The Bev Brown Cut Canada Louise Moyes Louise Moyes Louise Moyes Local docu-dance talent Louise Moyes strikes again with an excerpt from her longer piece St. John’s Women--an interdisciplinary fusion of documentary film, interpretation and live dance that offers up a rare and often humorous glimpse into the private lives and memories of three fascinating women growing up in St. John’s.
Painted Houses Canada Rozalind MacPhail Rozalind MacPhail NL multi-instrumentalist Rozalind MacPhail perform live music to selected short films from the Painted Houses series at the Dawson City International Short Film Festival’s 1-Minute Film Challenge. Painted Houses highlights St. John’s in a way that evokes fond memories for those who live in and love the place and all its jellybean-cladded facades. Featured filmmakers include Ruth Lawrence, Roger Maunder, Brad Gover, Darrell Power, Ed Tanasychuk, Colleen Power and more.
Rough Skin UK Cathy Brady Laura Lomas Emma Burge, John Chapman, Tom Nash This film is a remarkably confident story about a woman who returns to her family after a hard stint in prison. Re-entry is awkward and painful, especially when one is guarding a secret. There’s a high art to showing the hard edges, and this strong UK production fearlessly achieves it.
Bare Knuckle Duet Canada Lindsey Connell Lindsey Connell Lindsey Connell, Vanessa Shrimpton, Caitlin Nicholls Brady and Angie are two hapless adults with an agreement that just can’t hold, not when they fight over who has the right to claim the place with the best echo chamber in Toronto. Is the tunnel of love a metaphor or just some archway near Spadina?
She Said Lenny Canada Jim Donovan Kate Hewlett Avi Federgreen, Mallary Davenport You know, sometimes you really do need spell check. This witty drama depends on an online misunderstanding. Then again, all things come to she who presses send.
Félix Et Malou Canada Sophie Dupuis Sophie Dupuis Nancy Grant This is every bit of a charming, intelligent study of adolescence, as experience by two neighbours in a small village, nothing but wide open spaces to keep them occupied. Félix and Malou are each going through some family rockiness, but each has the other for distraction, exploration, and a little emotional experimentation. Sweet.
Oliver Bump's Birthday Canada Jordan Canning Jordan Canning ,Simon McNabb Jessica Cheung, Mark Purdy This film features the titular character on the brink of both his birth--and his final day. Can Oliver defy the fate his parents seem to have mapped out for him, or must he submit to the grim pattern his siblings once followed? At once macabre and fanciful, comic and strange, this original story takes us on a journey on the space ship Apoliver--to a land high above the banal.
Kwik Fix Australia Kelly Hucker Kelly Hucker Fiona Leally Think The Office crossed with Flight of the Conchords--shot in Australia. The well-intentioned manager of a fast food joint is determined to fix the morale of his unhappy employees. he certainly has an unconventional way of improving the situation, but his McSolution leads to some McDisasters.
Atasco (Traffic Jam) Spain Anna Peris Lluch Anna Peris Lluch, Elisa Ferrer Molina Jacinto Cirbán It beings like a Godard film--a long slow pan of a traffic jam. Can any good come of this? This film brings two characters into collision with each other on the highway of fate. Everyone’s trapped in a metaphor locked inside a traffic jam, deep inside a film--not to mention under a car.
La Nadadora (The Swimmer) Spain Gemma Vidal Almudena Cendrero A bit of a brain stretch here, this film explores a romantic puzzle: why doesn’t Maria’s boyfriend want to reconcile after a seemingly inconsequential argument. If we told you more we’d have to kill ourselves.
Las Piedras No Aburren (Stones Are Not Boring) Spain Marta Parreño Marta Parreño Three young boys, three vivid imaginations. As they while away the time skipping stones and razzing each other, they see a large suitcase floating by, spurring much speculation. Boys will be boys.
Levedad (Lightness) Spain Lucia del Rio Lucia del Rio Lucia del Rio This is a really novel approach to the subject of body image. In fact, this is a lovely story about three women, a Mom and her two daughters. Sofia, the younger one, is intent on making a film about her family. What she discovers about her older sister Lola drives her to give up filmmaking altogether. the incredible lightness of being never seemed quite so heavy.
Mi Otra Mitad (My Other Half) Spain Beatriz Sanchís Beatriz Sanchís This amusing story is about two kids, Adrían and Andrea, who were each born with a strange optical deformity. Each sees only one, different, half of the other’s face. Together they have the whole picture, but separately they don’t make sense. Their doctor, Sophie, has been working on their obvious animal magnetism, determined to bring their complementary poles into alignment. You don’t need 20/20 to see what’s happening here.
Padres (Parents) Spain Liz Lobato Liz Lobato You never really know what you’re getting when you decide to adopt, do you? Such is certainly the case for this anxious Spanish couple. Be careful what you wish for.
Tashina Canada Caroline Monnett Caroline Monnett Kevin Lee Burton Moving from res to the city (of Winnipeg), a young aboriginal girl is determined to work out the uneasy tension between change and tradition. How can she maintain her identity while adapting to the big wide world of the mainstream? This wonderfully evocative film animates the dilemma in vivid, shifting tableaux, producing a powerful visual effect that speaks volumes of uncertainty.
How Does It Feel Canada Lawrence Jackman Annette Clarke (NFB) The subject of this moving doc is a 58-year old man named Kazumi who suffers from cerebral palsy and all the social discrimination that comes with it. But along came a performer and teacher named Fides Kruker, who brought Kazumi to trust himself by drawing him out and encouraging him to live his dream to sing. Each of his performances is simply awesome, a meaningful, inimitable cry of feeling. Music soothes this remarkably likeable man.
Madregot (77 Steps) Israel Ibtisam Ma’arana Ibtisam Ma’arana Gutsy Arab-Muslim filmmaker Ibtisam Ma’arana moves to the heart of Tel Aviv, an unwelcome guest among Jewish Israelis. She intends to film her adjustment, but along the way she falls in love with a nice Jewish boy who has moved to Israel. You might think the difference between the couple would be obvious, but what is even more interesting is seeing the pull of attraction. If Romeo and Juliet had lived in the Middle East they likely would have never made it to the balcony scene. We applaud this film for the honesty of its message and the persistence of its craft.
Irvine Welsh’s Ecstasy Canada/Scotland Rob Heydon Rob Heydon Joni Cuquet Following a strong drug-addled line of continuity from author Welsh’s Trainspotting, this dynamic dark comedy lives up fully to its title. Where once we saw how heroin played havoc with the bloodstream, here we are caught up in the charms of tiny powerful pills--methylenedioxymethamphetamine for all you scrabble players. The rave scene of Edinburgh takes centre stage, a buzzed urban playground where people like Lloyd Buist mean well but fell prey to the dark side of so much red bull. If you want to know what E really feels like without having to stay up all night, we’ve got a film for you!
Life Model USA Lori Petchers Lori Petchers The subject of this film is a 75-year old nude figure model who has no qualms about taking it all off in the name of art. Indeed, she admits to being most comfortable in a birthday suit, alive and exposed but in a thoroughly good way. This film not only compels us to admire this remarkable woman but it invites us to reflect on our own inhibitions and society’s unfortunately narrow conceptions of beauty.
Teamwork South Korea Seo-Yun Hong Seo-Yun Hong Seo-Yun Hong This film captures the ambivalence a young girl feels for the dying matriarch. When her grandmother shouts “Run run!” from her deathbed, Yeon-hee remembers full well the experience that generated these words. A decade earlier the two had been bound together in a foot race, an experience that led to both victory and humiliation. Such is the stuff of which regrets are made. It takes two to tie a yellow ribbon.
The Exit Canada E. Jane Thompson Nicolas Billon Daniel Bekerman, Danijel Margetic The morning after the night before can be complicated. And the morning after a wedding can be particularly messy. THis film twists the cliche into a bit of a knot, and then untangles it after a healthy round of musical bedrooms. We know we’re mixing our metaphors, but mixing and matching is so all about The Exit.
Wild Life Canada Amanda Forbis, Wendy Tilby Amanda Forbis, Wendy Tilby Bonnie Thompson, Marcy Page A sober lesson in false assumptions and denial, this film is a terrifically crafted piece of animation, as only the NFB can do it. This is the tale of a dapper young man who moves from England to Alberta at the turn of the last century to do some ranching. Bringing all of his colonial baggage with him, he fails to recognize the harsh reality under his feet. There is a current of dark humor here, of course, as the wannabe country squire persists in living his delusion.
Super.Full. Qatar/Lebanon Niam Itani Niam Itani Fatma Naib This charming short film is practically a model of low budget bravado. Shot in Qatar, screened in Cannes among other world festivals, this film features a couple with limited means but big appetites. When a young Indian husband promises to take his young wife to the hotel across the street for a fancy meal he has to figure out just how to deliver. Where there’s a will there is innovation, and filmmaker Niam Etany is certainly super full of that.
Little Heart Canada Janna-Marynn Brunnen Janna-Marynn Brunnen Janna-Marynn Brunnen This is some clever piece of animation. We love the way filmmaker Brunnen draws her little heart out. Follow the bouncing organ as it endures love, loss, and all that jazz. It’s got a good beat and you can live by it.
A River in the Woods Canada Christian Sparkes Christian Sparkes Christian Sparkes, Allison White This astonishingly accomplished short film bursts through the screen with a certain kind of dark genius. The elements of a fairy tale are evident, a time-honoured genre with the capacity to reveal our greatest fears. This films draws us deep into the woods where, if you remember the teddy bear’s picnic, you are in for a big surprise.
Rescue Wife Canada Lynn Kristmanson Lynn Kristmanson Lynn Kristmanson Sure, she dresses well, applies her lipstick perfectly, aims to look fresh every morning for the Man, and saves humanity just because she can, but do any of those guys notice? Local wit Lynn Kristmanson takes humorous aim at the female curse of invisibility, or irrelevance, whichever comes first.
Ida Canada Susan Wolf Susan Wolf An interview with Ida reveals an amazing story of survival, against all odds. It's short, and beautifully rendered in very fine lines that show us all we need to see.
Micky Bader (Bathing Micky) Denmark/Sweden Frida Kempff Erik Andersson A short swim a day keeps the doctor away. That certainly seems to be the case for 100-year old Micky, whose astonishing endurance, good humor, and eloquent insight demonstrate why the examined life is way better than its opposite. This is simply one of the most elegant short films you will ever see, a tribute to its subject and an affirmation of both character and story.
Us Canada Mazi Khalighi Mazi Khalighi Mazi Khalighi, Lola Davidson One moment you’re bored, with nothing to do, and then, suddenly, boredom is a luxury. Here’s a little nightmare for our time. What doesn’t kill you makes you scared as hell.
The Wind is Blowing on my Street USA Saba Riazi Saba Riazi This film perfectly captures the complex cultural reality in a mere quarter of an hour. Effectively shot in real time, the film focuses on a young woman in Tehran who accidentally locks herself out of her apartment--without a headscarf. Compelled to wait for her mother, she is fully exposed on her stoop, vulnerable to hassle and all manner of social reprobation. Does a conversation with a young man who keeps her company help or hinder the situation? There is a brilliant tension here, as we hold our breath, waiting for the wind to pass.
Evolucity Canada A. Megan Turnbull A. Megan Turnbull A. Megan Turnbull The title tells you we’re on some witty turf here. This film cleverly captures the evolution of urban space, while it also tells us something about how we historicize evolution itself. Besides being sheer fun, it's a visual brain teaser--all dressed up and so much to show for it.
Faster! USA Marie Ullrich Marie Ullrich Kathryn Henderson, Marie Ullrich Nancy Reagan might have had us all believing speed kills, but if you;re a bike courier in a big urban jungle you’ve got no choice--or do you? Racing to get ahead in the Windy City has a price. It also causes really smelly armpits.
Meters Canada Darcy Fitzpatrick Darcy Fitzpatrick Paula Gale A brilliant conceit, an elegant metaphor, this film is at once moving, witty, and warm. Here an old man and his sorrow face a tickling inevitability. The filmmakers could have inspired by poor J/ Alfred Prufrock who measured his life in coffee spoons. Whether they did, this short dramatic film is a poem unto itself.
The Not So Subtle Subtext Canada Sarah Rotella Sure, sometimes a warrior princess is just a warrior princess, but just what was really going on between Xena and Gabrielle, anyway? Were there benefits to the friendship? Were they girl and girl on girl? We might never know, but this film more than hints at why there’s an X in Xena and a quiver in her bow.
The Director USA Destri Martino Destri Martino What should a female director wear to work?
Miss Representation USA Jennifer Siebel Newsom Jennifer Siebel Newsom, Julie Constanzo, Regina Kulik Scully We know the message--women are left out of everything --but we’ve rarely heard it delivered with such conviction, craft, and power as this fine doc. Filmmaker Newsom has gotten face to face with all of the icons--Condoleezza Rice, Lisa Ling, Katie Couric, Nancy Pelosi, the list goes on and on. They’ve all been there, done that, and still have a lot to say about how the media misrepresents the reality of women’s lives.
Le Projet Sapporo (The Sapporo Project) Marie-Josée Saint-Pierre Marie-Josée Saint-Pierre There’s a gentle irony at work here--that the dying art of calligraphy is saved by the finely drawn lines of this gorgeously illustrated film. This is one talented man’s story, an artist who accounts for the creative pleasures of what is called “Sho Art”. he is always one with the brush, and so it is that we are happily one with this film.
Furies USA Deb Ellis Deb Ellis We don’t think we can really describe this gorgeous experiential journey into the multicultural universe of tokens, amulets, and signs of wonder that different cultures use to protect themselves, but we adore Roy Orbison when he is crying over you.
R Seymore Goes North Canada Rhayne Vermette Rhayne Vermette Rhayne Vermette The uneasy experience of the night train is caught vividly in this inspired piece of cinematic collage. The technique is obvious in this scrupulously edited experiment, as each live action segment of the film was then printed onto paper and in turn frame-by-frame collaged and stitched back together by hand and digitally. Holy labor intensive! The effect is expressionistic, fascinating, and well worth the trouble.
Libangbang USA Chia-Chi Tseng Neil Aitken Chia-Chi Tseng Come on, we dare you to repeat this title quickly. No, it’s not what you think. This is a stunning piece of animated poetry in honour of the fisherman, the sea, and the flying fish of Orchid Island, Taiwan.
Melt Canada Noéme Lafrance Natalie Galazka An extraordinary performance piece, in which the body is tested to its limits, this film gives us latitudes of expressiveness. It is at once sensuous and intense, a tour de force of physical potential. You will feel the heat.
Little Theatres: Homage to the Mineral of Cabbage Canada Stephanie Dudley Irene Sousa Animator Dudley opens us up, layer by layer, to that lowly objet, the staple of Newfoundland diets, the magnificently tiered cabbage. This gorgeously textured stop-motion film draws its mineral strength from a lyric poem by Erín Moure, essentially a celebration of that which we so often take for granted. With a translation from the original Galician--adding yet another layer of meaning--this lovely homage to the leafy biennial offers a head full of nourishment.
"Not Jane." UK Helena Astbury Helena Astbury, Jake Astbury An evocative performance of a girl-bride-woman, a dress, a narrow space, an open closet--a cycle of gain and loss. Nothing plain about Not Jane.
Variation on Elevators and Pink Girls Brazil Sarah Shamash Sarah Shamash, Toshiko Oiwa Uh, what’s with the title? Well, this is an awesome video, a collaborative effort between a video artist and a choreographer. it’s about what happens when two pink girls take over a cage elevator in Sao Paolo. Look, work with us here. The music is hypnotic. We love the dresses. Brazil is hot. This video rocks.
KOOP Canada Katherine Knight Katherine Knight This doc about acclaimed contemporary Canadian artist Wanda Koop really appeals to the creative spirit in all of us. Her mind’s eye--and her uncanny 3D gift of seeing--transmutes the world of experience into color and lines, abstract and beautiful evocations of familiar land and cityscapes. It isn’t easy making a film about the creative process, but filmmaker Knight expertly traces the journey from source to artistic object.
The Room at the Top of the Stairs Australia Briony Kidd Briony Kidd Adam Walker The gothic plot here is obviously inspired by Daphne de Maurier’s/Hitchcock’s Rebecca, which was in turn inspired by Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre. You don’t have to read your Ferud to know a madwoman in the attic can be a dangerous thing. That iconic figure is, yup, still crazy after all these years.
yaya/ayat Canada Shimby Zegeye-Gebrehiwot Shimby Zegeye-Gebrehiwot Shimby Zegeye-Gebrehiwot This compelling experimental doc is also an expressive poem about identities, a personal account of distance and the diaspora. Shimby lives far from her Grandmother in Greece, but years to cross the divide, and to find herself in the process.
AWOL USA Deb Shoval, Dominique LeFevre Deb Shoval Jessica Caldwell It’s a short film but it says so much about the emotional displacement that comes of youthful passion and strained circumstance. Young Joey returns home from Afghanistan to rural Pennsylvania, hoping she will have a special Christmas with a special love interest. This totally assured and intelligent drama covers a lot of ground, including class conflict and sexual orientation.
Martha and Dee Visit the Fifth Dimension USA Noelle Foster Adam Klusky, Noelle Foster Noelle Foster Fathers, what are they good for? Especially when they neglect their daughters. Mothers are sometimes not much better. At least little Martha has an imaginary girlfriend, Dee, someone to keep her company and keep the loneliness at bay. Dee has her own world too, but it’s in the fifth dimension, where you go where you are California dreaming. This lovely little cinematic story is sure to charm your dysfunction away.
Kathy Canada Mark O'Brien Emily Bridger Shannon Hawes If Barbie had, like, a totally cool awesomely confident sister she’d be Kathy. Born out of Emily Bridger’s brain, sure, but more commonly out of all our experience of Junior high, Kathy is that girl--the one you can’t stop following. What an assured piece of filmmaking this is.
Cold and Sunny Canada Jennifer Halley Jennifer Halley Gregory Fedun, Jennifer Halley A short, enigmatic essay on the complications of loss and grief,this film works in large part by indirection. Our narrator likes to run, and as she does she recalls her dying father, a parent with whom she obviously has had issues. You fill in the blanks. That’s the way this works.
Clipper Gold Canada Joel Thomas Hynes Joel Thomas Hynes Krissy Holmes, Paddy Daly There’s a lot of stuff going on in this ambitious directorial debut, more than just a cup of tea. You can cut the tension between this couple--played by Des Walsh and Ruth Lawrence--with a knife, and in fact that’s what he does, awkwardly drawing some blood in the process. Sometimes a moose sausage is just a moose sausage, of course, but just not here!
The Ride UK Marion Pilowsky Marion Pilowsky Rose Newall, David Willing Do all hitchhiking stories lead to trouble? This film is a superbly crafted variation on the genre, a double whammy of a plot, you bet. Well known Australian actor Anthony LaPaglia puts the metal to the pedal, ramping up the action--with a sidecar of shock. Just when you think it’s safe to get out of the car...
Point No Point USA Jennifer Campbell Jennifer Campbell Here we have a one-shot experiment in video art, as we follow a solitary figure entering the ocean. What happens after that is at once comic, absurd, puzzling silly, weird, and possibly even pointless--or not.
i am a good person/i am a bad person Canada Ingrid Veninger Ingrid Veninger Ingrid Veninger At once funny, inspiring, emotional, bizarre, quirky, naturalistic, charming, fresh, moving, and just plain entertaining. We love this film’s indie vibe, the way it takes its own sweet time with an oddball other and her vulnerable 18-year old daughter. They set out for Europe where Mom’s film is being showcased at festivals, and as with any good journey, it sure isn’t all about the destination.
Shades of Gray (FRAMED Film) Canada FRAMED Film Camp Stephanie House Women's Film Festival MENTORS: Wanda Nolan, Brad Gover, Jacqueline Hynes An overzealous teenager sets out to change the world while coming to terms with the one around her. A FRAMED Drama Production brought to you by the St. John’s International Women’s Film Festival and CBC.
Painted (FRAMED Doc) Canada FRAMED Film Camp Women's Film Festival MENTORS: Brad Gover, Jacqueline Hynes Participants at the Brother T.I. Murphy Centre Community Youth Arts Program turn the camera on themselves and open up about who they were before the program and where they hope to go. A FRAMED Documentary Production brought to you by the St. John’s International Women’s Film Festival and CBC.
Busk or Bust (24 Hr Film Challenge) Canada 24 Hr Film Challenge Participants 24 Hr Film Challenge Participants Women's Film Festival MENTOR: Elsa Morena A melancholy poet yearns to taste the sweet nectar of the java bean and will do anything to get it. A 24 Hour Film Challenge Production brought to you by the St. John’s International Women’s Film Festival and CBC.
Grace Switzerland/Phillipines Meagan Kelly Meagan Kelly Dekeyser & Friends Foundation This film is a tour de force in documentary realism. This film is Meagan Kelly’s affirmative chronicle of 13-year old Grace Raptan and gets intimately close with her troubling environment. She lives with her struggling family on a garbage dump in the Philippines, scavenging for anything that will help pay for her schooling. When Grace’s Dad falls ill, her education is threatened and Grace must do her part to make the meager ends meet. This film is a testament to the power of education, drawing on the remarkable resolve and native intelligence of this determined little girl.
Choke Canada Michelle Latimer Michelle Latimer Michelle Latimer, David Miller Young Jimmie leaves his reservation with the naive view that the city holds more possibility. Terrific animation renders a haunted look to this short film, conveying the effect of shadows and menace. This is a dark and familiar story cast afresh through the filmmaker’s confident vision.
Watching Emily Canada Elsa Morena Elsa Morena Elsa Morena, NIFCO It’s interesting how many films get made about generational divides, and generational bonds. Here is yet another delicate example of this theme. An older man, seemingly lost in his frailties, finds the child within by watching the child outside.
Wapawekka Canada Danis Goulet Danis Goulet Danis Goulet, Christine Kleckner An intimate portrait of the cultural disconnect between a Cree father and his son, Wapawekka tells the story of a final visit to an isolated family cabin. With its spectacular Northern landscapes and hip-hop beats, the film explores the tension in the gap from one generation to the next.
Jolly Friends Forever More USA Kaz Phillips Safer Kaz Phillips Safer Christina D. King, Jennifer Yeh Here is a lovely little film about two unlikely buddies, both innocent in their own way. But just where does she come from, and where is he going?
Warchild Canada Caroline Monnet Caroline Monnet Kevin Lee Burton If you know your Kurosawa you’ll appreciate the cinematic style of this short dramatic film. The disembodied voice speaks of a journey from the North to the city, and all that that implies. The lone figure who occupies the screen seems to be moving while standing still, as the natural landscape shifts around him. A provocative experiment in movement, and in cultural change.
Hidden Driveway Canada Sarah Goodman Brad Hart Sarah Goodman, Avi Federgreen Life can be pretty opaque from a child’s point of view. Here we have two brothers who are called to a family meeting. Their amusing speculations about the parental agenda will remind you of all the worrying and wondering we did as kids. Parents should be accompanied by their children.
Less Than Zero Canada Ruth Lawrence Ruth Lawrence Ruth Lawrence Body image: can’t live with it, can’t live without it. Routh Lawrence’s witty musical approach to this sensitive topic carries a whole lot of weight. Maybe we should put that another way. Less Than Zero adds up to a meaningful theme.
Le Fleuve À Droita (Good Night Truck) Canada Sarah Fortin Sarah Fortin Sarah Fortin Here is an act of random romance--boy meets girl on a long bus ride. Conversation happens. Then it happened one night. If you know your film history then you get that hey had to share a room. But what are the consequences, and what are the possibilities after such an isolated encounter, away from real life, cocooned on a Greyhound?
Petites Vues De Chez Nous (Movies From Down Home: Port-au-Port) Canada Pamela Gallant Pamela Gallant Monique LeBlanc This film gives us colorful snapshots of life on the Port-au-Port Peninsula, where a small coterie of tenacious francophones persist in their existence. Interview with mostly aging residents reveal the challenges of having been raised as a minority among the Anglo-Irish. Of course they have their own culture, and they cherish the language they have insisted on speaking, long before French immersion became de rigueur. Even their cats understand both English and French. And meow in any language means the same, bien sure.
The Price of Sex USA Mimi Chakarova This important and heartbreaking documentary about sexual trafficking will galvanize you into awareness if nothing else. Bulgarian-born photojournalist Mimi Chakarova is our new hero, who dared to inquire into the source of so much sexual slavery. This is a brilliant compilation of interviews with victims and perps, raw, underground footage of dark clubs and alleyways, and of the countries from which so many young women were lured into slavery. Poverty breeds atrocious behavior, and therein lies the real culprit. The Price of Sex paints a complex picture, and yes, it is hard to watch--but one must. Change, as a character wisely says in another film, is necessary.
Sarahbah USA Maria Luisa Gamble, Gloria Bremer This vibrant documentary features Senegalese rapper, singer, and activist, Sister Fa. Where it says “empowerment” in the dictionary, there’s a picture of here. A childhood victim of genital cutting, which is still a horridly common practice in much of Africa, Sister Fa is seen here taking her music and her message directly to the people. This film is largely about that journey home, where she throws considerable light on the heart of darkness. She’s nothing less than a force of nature, a passionate, bold, optimistic woman whose smile can brighten the entire continent. It’s impossible not to be inspired by her example.
Teta, Alf Marra (Grandma, A Thousand Times) UAE Mahmoud Kaabour Mahmoud Kaabour Eva Star Sayre No one’s grandmother is quite as unfiltered, amusing, candid, and feisty as the remarkable Lebanese woman at the centre of this documentary. She openly gabs at the camera, commenting, recollecting, joking, sighing, and laughing. Long widowed, she holds on the the memory of her husband, but is not shy about comparing his looks to others more handsome; nor is she reluctant to pass judgement on her new daughter-in-law, or even on the sometimes annoying camera itself. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll wonder at the license again gives. This doc not only reveals a personality but it captures a historical moment--the passing of the older ways as the 21st century comes boldly into view.
Decoloured Canada Allison White Allison White Allison White This film is a result of the first ever Michelle Jackson Emerging Filmmaker Award. This is a keenly crafted story about a colour-blind man who encounters a colourful woman. Notice the scrupulous composition, the photographic aesthetic that informs the notable accomplishment. Bravo to Allison and the honour her film bestows upon us.
Regarding Our Father Canada Marjorie Doyle, John W. Doyle Marjorie Doyle, John W. Doyle Mary Sexton This feature doc looks closely at the man through the eyes of his children. Talented siblings John and Marjorie have proudly turned their attention to their father, Gerald S. Doyle, an extraordinary salesman and Newfoundland patriot. Importantly, he was also something of an early cultural anthropologist, taking his camera all over the province, documenting men, women, and children at work and play. The footage he left us is nothing less than a brilliant archive of rural Newfoundland, vivid and alive. Of course, Doyle also left a generous legacy of music, a collection of folk songs that might otherwise have never been known to our fondest musicians. This rich documentary in turn extends the legacy, honouring the man who honoured the people.
Elling Lien