2012 Films

Midnight's Children Canada Deepa Mehta Salman Rushdie David Hamilton This film is an adaption of an epic Booker Prize novel about the Indian partition of 1947. Filmmaker Mehta has captured the color and spirit of writer Rushdie’s remarkable work, at once refining the complexly layered narrative structure into an accessible plot and transmuting the words of the novel into a glorious visual spectacle.
Just Himself: Story of Don Jamieson Canada Joshua Jamieson Joshua Jamieson Jill Knox-Gosse, Joshua Jamieson Grandson of larger-than-life Newfoundlander, politician and broadcaster Don Jamieson created this doc as a wonderful reminder of the large reach of Jamieson’s career. As a model inspiration to Newfoundlanders who followed him, Jamieson showed how well a local boy could play with the big shots on the Hill and beyond. of interest to anyone who lives here, not to mention anyone interested in media or politics, should see this film.
The Other Side of Silence: The Untold Story of Ruby Mccollum USA Claudia Johnson Claudia Johnson Dave Schmeling, Claudia Johnson Filmmaker Johnston spent almost two decades on this documentary about social injustice, with racial prejudice at the centre of history. Uncovering the truth about Ruby Mccollum, a wealthy African-American married to rackateer “Bolita” Sam. in 1952 she was convicted and sentenced to the electric chair for having murdered her white doctor and alleged lover, LeRoy Adams. To this day, the news of affair, murder, and conviction haunts the Florida town where this all (was reported to have) happened. What the filmmaker unravels is a far more disturbing and race-based cover up that has taken 60 years to surface. This is an absolutely fascinating doc about power and gender.
Assembly Canada Jenn Storm Jenn Storm Tracey Friesen The title of this gorgeous tribute to the fabulous women of the NFB’s Studio D and founder Kathleen Shannon is a pun in progress. Lovingly painted-on-glass animation captures at once the art of filmmaking and the gathering of women in solidarity. Assembly is a short and sweet tour de force, quite literally a primer in movement--artistic and social.
Girl Sweden Fijona Jonuzi Gustaf Boman Bränngård Emma Kjellander This film centres on Hannah, a 32-year old woman who drifts into a cluster of 20-year old boys. There is an uncanny naturalness to this slice of life short as the actors really embrace their roles with gusto, subtly marking the inevitable tensions between young horny guys without much experience and the party older woman who finds their interest appealing. Girls is an ironically understated title for a film that delivers so much gender interest.
Desperate Scribbles Canada Martine Blue Martine Blue Martine Blue What happens when your own fictional character runs away from you? Ms. Blue experiments wittily with this familiar nagging question. This wry short film could have been called Death of the Author, but Desperate Scribbles gives you a hint about what characters might feel like when they have been so rudely abandoned.
Shirin Stephen Fingleton Stephen Fingleton Loreta Zajarskyte, Matt Kaufman This is a dark story. The sad truth is that it is just that--a sad truth. This film is a hard-hitting story about patriarchal culture gone mad. It begins calmly in the late afternoon of a London apartment. Suspense builds slowly as a father and daughter discuss her life over a quiet meal. The what-happens-next remains to be seen, but the why of it will haunt you long after your experience of this forceful drama.
Chef de Meute (Herd Leader) Canada Chloé Robichaud Chloé Robichaud Fanny-Laure Malo, Sarah Pellerin, Matt Kaufman This film is a brilliantly droll example of what can happen when girl meets dog. Clara is a disaffected young woman with a giant emotional hole in her life. One day she inherits her late Aunt’s pet, a stubby little guy with the face of Winston Churchill.
Le Grand Ailleurs et le Petit Ici (Here and the Great Elsewhere) Canada Michèle Lemieux Michèle Lemieux Julie Roy Another stunning piece of animation from the brilliant creators at the NFB, this gorgeous film dares to raise the biggest questions of all: what are we made of, and what’s it all about? Animation can take us to place reality can’t reach--that is, the imaginative possibilities of mind and matter. The film is a kind of dream of awareness. The everyman character at the centre of the embedded narrative is us, lost in a dream of a film about a dream of life itself.
Life Doesn't Frighten Me Canada Stephen Dunn Stephen Dunn Holly O'Brien Does anything suck more than the life of a teenager? Sweet Esther is living the awkward nightmare of transition from childhood into the next uncertain stage. With the birthday blues upon her, it’s her party and she’ll cry if she wants to. But how bad can things really be when your grandfather bears an uncanny resemblance to Gordon Pinsent?
Blue Alchemy: Stories of Indigo USA Mary Lance Ben Daitz This sensuous feature do is about indigo, the time-honoured blue dye that connects cultures and people across the globe. This gorgeously shot doc draws you into the impressive history of indigo while reinforcing its undisputed symbolic and spiritual function in almost all of our lives, whether we realize it or not. The film also answers a question you probably never thought to ask: why are our jeans blue? Indigo is a part of an ambitious cultural project, as communities aim to revive its function as a significant element of social economy. Anyone who owns denim needs to see this beautiful example of how meaningful color is the human civilization.
Turn Me On, Dammit! Norway Jannicke Systad Jacobsen Jannicke Systad Jacobsen Brede Hoyland Set in a small town in Norway this sometimes hilarious and always candid hilarious and always candid treatment of a young girl’s sexual awakening could have been shot in Twillingate or Tweed. The story of young Alma is universal. Bored with her life, indifferent to the beautiful countryside around her, and impatient with the uncomprehending world of adults, young Alma might as well wear a sandwich board that announces she’s horny. She crushes hard on handsome Artur, but she can’t quite get no satisfaction. You wouldn’t want to be 15 again but you’ll love the way the film takes you back through the sweet funny torture of longing.
It’s a Girl Thing: Tween Queens and the Commodification of Girlhood USA Shannon Silva Shannon Silva, Tim Rizor, Donna King, Andre Silva Shannon Silva, Andre Silva, Donna King, Tiffany Albright This doc really must be seen by mothers and dads everywhere. Sometimes alarming, sometimes amusing, and always provoking, this film explores the enormously monolithic culture of the tween/pre-teen market. The doc harnesses a clever fake interactive website to explore the cultural phenomenon, peeling back all the sugar puffball coating to reveal just who benefits from the construction of the sexualized, fashion-forward, gadget-dependant figure of the tween girl. Let’s just say for now that the Olsen twins have a lot to answer for, and don’t even get us talking about Britney.
Safe Home Canada/Ireland Rosemary House Rosemary House Rosemary House This sensitively rendered doc takes up a personal story of grief to show us a larger story of loss and remembering. At the emotional centre is Marie Stamp, Dubliner/Newfoundlander who speaks to us about the death of a son. Painful as the reality is, the film pulls us up and out into a larger frame where nature continues to live out Her cycles, time marches on, and life inexorably carries on. Handled with care, this thoughtful meditation sure helps put things in proper perspective.
Return to Reichenbach Canada Maureen Kelleher Maureen Kelleher Maureen Kelleher There seems to be endless stories about the war and the Holocaust, each as powerfully moving as the next. Here we have yet another true account of an amazing kind. Two women from opposite sides of the Third Reich meet in Toronto more than 50 years later. One is a Jewish woman who was orphaned by the regime; the other is, most likely, the Nazi guard who protected her. Rare is a documentary about reconciliation as told through the eyes of victim and enemy; this is an utterly unforgettable story.
Las Malas Intenciones (Bad Intentions) Peru/Argentina/Germany Rosario Garcia-Montero Rosario Garcia-Montero Benito Mueller, Paul Typaldos, Wolfgang Mueller This award-winning feature is the charming account of a 6-year old girl, Cayetana, who must endure and absent socialite of a mother and a rich stepfather about whom she is at best indifferent. Learning that her mother is pregnant, the young girl imagines a disturbing scenario--that she must die on the day her new brother will be born. The film is set in Peru of the ‘80’s, as violence and civil unrest erupted. Poignant and humorous, infused with a powerful sense of how history shapes a young mind. This film achieves a rare blend of times, a little masterpiece of social history as seen through the eyes of a child.
Belly UK Julia Pott Julia Pott Julia Pott This film is an animated journey into the awkward, uneasy experience of being 15. Oscar is the peculiarly conceived young soul whose body is changing, as it must, but whose capacity to understand the nature of that change is inhibited by the very acts of life. Director Pott has captured that relentless feeling of uncertainty in highly original ways, creating an entirely fabulous universe of strange yet familiar creatures.
Indie Game: The Movie Canada James Swirsky, Lisanne Pajot James Swirsky, Lisanne Pajot James Swirsky, Lisanne Pajot Who knew that smart nerdy guys who play in their basements could have generated such fascinating and entertaining stories. This doc is a compelling study of those brilliant obsessive nerds who construct indie video games--offbeat, personal, witty experiments in cyber vidoe land. The film specifically follows three game designers, each of whom is working on highly original material. Watching these journey opens us up to world we had no idea existed, a vast subculture of young innovators who have thrown their entire lives into the construction of new media gaming narratives. If you know how to spell Nintendo you’ll want to play Super Meat Boy in no time.
The World Before Her Canada Nisha Pahuja Nisha Pahuja Ed Barreveld, Andy Cohen, Mike Chamberlain, Nisha Pahuja This smart feature takes a compelling look at the rapidly changing faces of women in India. The filmmaker focuses on two parallel universes, one in which 20 hand-picked contestants for the Miss India pageant go to beauty bootcamp and another in which young women attend a military camp for fundamentalist Hindus. This intimate exploration of these two worlds generates many more questions about the clash of old and emerging values, of Eastern and Western cultures, and of patriarchal and modern practices. Change is in the air, and women are seeking ways to express and assert themselves throughout India.
Goths! On the Bus! Canada Jaimz Asmundson, Karen Asmundson Jaimz Asmundson, Karen Asmundson Jaimz Asmundson, Karen Asmundson Satire! On the screen! Kristin Stewart! Eat your heart out!
The Tentacle's Claw Canada Michael Rigler Michael Rigler Tara Manuel Who knew Corner Brook ould be the sight of so much horror? A former Nazi scientist, the obviously named Demonius Horlack, runs a little lab of horrors in the unsuspecting little town. Horlack displays a giant cephalopod--the tentacle of the title--to wreak havoc, not to mention deliberate over acting, everywhere.
My Country Canada Lalita Krishna Lalita Krishna Lalita Krishna Remember Welcome to Canada? A 1989 comic feature dramatizing the startling 1986 appearance of a boatload of escaping Sri Lankin Tamils on the shores of Newfoundland. Well, this film picks up that story some 26 years later, showing us in documentary form where some of these stranded Tamils ended up after all these years. In particular, the film follows two refugees into their new lives in Canada. This is a wonderful, inspired documentary about the sheer power of tolerance, a humbling lesson for a world in conflict.
Off Route 2 Amanda Dawn Christie Amanda Dawn Christie Amanda Dawn Christie A tour de force of composition and storytelling, this gorgeously shot short film from New Brunswick captures the otherworldly stillness in the aftermath of an accident. Never has a car collided with so much beauty in such a short time. That said, as you’ll see, it’s really only a movie.
Life Below Zero Canada Josh Freed Josh Freed Barbara Doran This film is a playful doc essay on the what, how, and why of Northern peoples--that is, unlucky people like us who insist on inhabiting forbidding climates. As this wide-ranging study shows, people accommodate themselves to frigid weather in all kinds of nutty ways, from polar swimming to Florida escapism.
Hockeyheart Canada Kim Faires Justin Hardjowirogo Apparently there are over 3,000 women playing hockey in St. John’s. OK, raise your sticks if this movie is about you. Director Faiers tells us her personal story of dreaming and then realizing a childhood ambition to play hockey. But this film is about more than getting on the ice. Hockey is almost a metaphor for other social needs, an arena where interaction and collaboration are paramount, and where freedom from the pressures of various social roles is so welcome. This is a personal story with wide appeal, and there’s no penalty for elbowing your friends to watch it with you.
Lace Bite Canada Sharron Bates Carmen Klotz Carmen Klotz, Sharron Bates This film is the account of a record-breaking challenge, the longest hockey game ever played. Largely a gesture on behalf of a dying friend, the game--involving 39 women in skates--took 243 hours. Totally inspiring, the film chronicles the whole nutty initiative and the cause for which it stood--cystic fibrosis. You’ll crave a good foot massage after seeing this one.
Vernal Equinox Canada Haiwei Hou Haiwei Hou Haiwei Hou A stunningly animated battle between seasonal forces of nature. As we hurl towards winter let us keep the inevitable triumph of spring in mind. You can’t have one without the other.
Fogo Canada/Mexico Yulene Olaizola Yulene Olaizola Yulene Olaizola Landscape is a major character in this magnificently shot feature about a place in transition, an island we all know. The film defies easy classification but you will settle in soon enough to appreciate its profound sympathy for the men who abide by the natural laws and history of life on the land. This film is a rare and exquisite example of time and place.
bruises, cake & cigarettes Germany Mariana Ivana Juicka Mariana Ivana Juicka Manoj Thomas We are quite literally two steps behind the central character in this little story about a woman on a walk. Who is she and where is she going? Is she escaping someone or on a different mission altogether? This cleverly shot short takes us on what at first appears to be a sinister journey. There’s no going back, however, and so stick with the woman in all her mysteriousness if you want to get the right affection.
Bagong Silang UK Zena Merton Giselle Santos You might think that a group of families who live on top of a cemetery in Manila would be some beautiful losers, but this short documentary bears no such attitude. The people who are the subject of this film claim their rightful dignity by openly acknowledging the nature of their work and the benefits such activity has for the wellbeing of their families. All judgements are off. It takes strength of character and resilience to be this resourceful. These are extraordinary people and this film defies all assumptions about their values and the contribution they are making.
The Stolen Canada Karen Lamb Karen Lamb Karen Wong This film is all about a young girl surrounded by violence--her father who committed suicide after Afghanistan and her bullying brother. One day she rescues a boy from her brother’s clutches but releases unintended consequences in the bargain. To say more we’d spoil your guilty pleasure, but trust us when we tell you you’re in the hands of some wily clever filmmaker.
The Summer Home USA Kris Boustedt, Lindy Boustedt Kris Boustedt, Lindy Boustedt A lovingly shot short about a couple in trouble in more ways than one. Clearly on the lam and desperate for shelter they break into a summer home and start to inhabit a life of domestic stability. But how long can the occupation last? ALmost exclusively free of dialogue, the drama is advanced through clever editing and the expressive faces of the actors who convey exactly what we need to know. An inspired piece of storytelling.
Under Pressure Australia Kate Lefoe Kate Lefoe Kate Lefoe Alex the geek and Ruby the beauty are awkwardly thrown together when gun shots ring out at their school. Fireworks of a different sort are sure to follow.
Imaginary Herioine Canada Sherry White Annette Clarke A witty celebration of the uniquely talented genius who is Mary Walsh, this short film takes us behind the lace curtain. How did Mary Walsh come to be? Narrating her own story in the third person, Walsh reveals how and why the vivid characters she have given birth to have come to be. Imaginative creatures born of abandonment--tender, touching, and close to home.
Le banquet de la Concubine (The Banquet of the Concubine) Canada Hefang Wei Hefang Wei Hefang Wei A gorgeously animated story set in the Imperial City during the Tang Dynasty. Emperor Li stages a banquet in honour of his fave concubine, Yang. Everyone shows up dressed to the highest number on the abacus. Consciously, however, the Emperor is a no show. Yang starts to suspect another in her place. Bad behavior ensues. Based on a famous love story of the period, this film is a beautifully rendered version of the folklore, a triumph of line and color.
Better People Canada Mark O'Brien Mark O'Brien Shannon Hawes Committing to love at first sight can be complicated.
Seconds Canada Jordan Canning Jordan Canning Jordan Canning Here filmmaker Canning remints the old cliche about life flashing before our eyes when buddy chokes alone at the dinner table. As he falls backwards in his chair he sees his life in discrete categories of memory montage, second by ever so stop-action second. You can practically hear the clock ticking as he tips towards the floor.
Dust. A Sculptor’s Journey Canada/UK Jeanne Pope Jeanne Pope, Marino Franco Jeanne Pope, Evan Beloff, Marino Franco This is an intimate artist profile and first-person ode. It explores the life and work of Montreal’s late great sculptor and printmaker Stanley Lewis for his contribution to Canada’s rich art heritage and also portrays his love for his beloved Boulevard St. Laurent, affectionately known as the Main.
The Disappeared Canada Shandi Mitchell Shandi Mitchell Walter Forsyth Less a ship of fools than a dory full of fishers, a boat (with six guys aboard) is the epicenter of all the moral action in this film. The filmmaker has assembled an outstanding cast of men to weather the ordeal, as they struggle to stay physically and psychically afloat. We applaud the sheer audacity of this feature in all its shades of light and fog.
Big Mouth Canada Andrew Dorfman Andrea Dorfman Annette Clarke Filmmaker Dorfman illustrates a typically colorful pictures of a nuclear family--Mom, Dad, and a youngster who speaks her gloriously unfiltered mind. Problem is, as we know, the truth hurts, and so it is that she might be better off zipping it up, or lying. It’s just not as easy as it sounds. Ever said the wrong thing and lived to regret it? You’re human, aren’t you.
Auditioning Fanny Australia Mia Kate Russell Mia Kate Russell David Leadbetter Hopeful, post-it-note philosopher Fanny Love has big dreams. She longs to star in a musical opposite leading man Jack Baron. Her voice may be golden, but she might not be quite the right fit. Determined, nonetheless, Fanny pursues her ambition with relentless optimism. Be careful what she wishes for.
Wonder Women! The Untold Story of American Superheroines USA Kristy Guevara-Flanagan Kelcey Edwards A feature doc about one of our favorite subjects--Wonder Woman herself, and all her pretenders and wannabes. As the film points out, we all need role models to live by, but sadly, there aren’t really enough to go around. Wonder Woman fills a great big need--a female heroine who is self-reliant, self-directed, and self-confident, not to mention that sassy outfit.
Winners Canada Elsa Morena Elsa Morena Patrick Condon This is a fresh short film about school, best friends, and competition. Life teaches us many lessons, some in strangely unpredictable ways. So it is that fertilizer can lead to enlightenment. This is a clever, well-made example of talent on the rise.
The Other Side Israel Khen Shalem Khen Shalem Orit Fisher A simple soccer ball sparks an unusual friendship between two young boys on either side of the Israeli and Palestinian separation wall. Can this wordless and gaze free relationship overcome the wall’s towering presence?
Must Be A Zombie Apocalypse (FRAMED West) Canada FRAMED Film Camp Jana Gilis MENTORS: Jacqueline Hynes, Laura Churchill, Peter Buckle A running joke on campus informs this funny and ambitious film which is most definitely not another zombie movie. A partnership with Grenfell, CNA, NLFDC and the SJIWFF.
Other People’s Faces (FRAMED Drama) Canada FRAMED Film Camp Aley Waterman MENTORS: Ruth Lawrence, Victoria Wells, Jacqueline Hynes, Elsa Morena A young woman struggles to find herself in a world where we all wear many faces.
Cradle to the Stage (FRAMED Documentary) Canada FRAMED Film Camp MENTORS: Latonia Hartery, Victoria Wells A partnership with For The Love of Learning and the SJIWFF, this film explores the importance of traditional NL music in today's world through the eyes of young musicians in the Byrne family.
Through the Storm (FRAMED Bell Island) Canada FRAMED Film Camp Naomi Russell, FRAMED Participants MENTORS: Jacqueline Hynes, Victoria Wells A young woman struggles with the grief of losing her sister. A partnership between the SJIWFF and St. Michael’s High School.
FRAMED 24 Hour Film Challenge Canada FRAMED FRAMED Participants MENTOR: Elsa Morena High school students get together with one prop, and using their immediate surroundings, make a film in 24 hours over a weekend leading up to the festival.
It’s Okay To Be…(FRAMED Animation) Canada FRAMED Film Camp MENTOR: Julie Lewis An experimental collaboration between the SJIWFF, Boy & Girls Clubs St. John’s, and the Pratt Foundation. Using animation to explore and celebrate equality and tolerance, we made our animations with 4 groups of kids. This is an example of that process.
Paper (Films On The Go) Canada Films On The Go A banner year for Films On The Go screening tour and workshop series. Here is an example of what you can do with a camera and a keen bunch of kids in 3.5 hours.
Justice for Sale The Netherlands Ilse van Velzen, Femke van Velzen Ilse van Velzen, Femke van Velzen Ilse van Velzen, Femke van Velzen This film reveals how the present justice system in Congo misses its mark, partly under pressure for local and international NGO’s. Questions are raised about the role of the International community and non-governmental organizations within the judicial system.
Two Square Feet Canada Ruth Lawrence Ruth Lawrence Brad Gover This Michelle Jackson award winning film stars the indomitable Jeanne Beker as a woman who is decidedly--ironically--out of step. We mean that quite literally. Ruth Lawrence directs the fashion maven squarely against type. Beker plays a woman in transition, alienated from her body, or key parts of it, and not quite sure how to walk ahead of it all. Charmingly satisfying, this short comic drama is the Cinderella of our time.
Hard Light Canada Justin Simms Justin Simms Annette Clarke Filmmaker Simms uses Michael Crummey’s seminal piece of Newfoundland literature as the lens to examine cultural change and modern relationships. Mixing dramatic recreations, interpretive contemporary sequences and conversations with the compelling author, the film intimately explores how we are shaped by our environment, in the present as much as in the past.
Elling Lien