WIFTV Members With Films at DOXA 2017

With DOXA right around the corner, Women in Film and Television Vancouver caught up with three members whose films will be screening during the festival. DOXA, the name stemming from a Greek word pertaining to the realm of opinion and belief, is heading into its 16th year as Vancouver’s annual international documentary film festival. Presented by the Documentary Media Society, the 11-day festival explores the role of documentary as both an art form and a ‘site of dialogue’.

Shirley Vercruysse

The festival is opening with The Road Forward, an innovative stage play turned musical documentary from award-winning writer, director, and producer, Marie Clements. Clements explores the important and often untold stories of the Aboriginal political and social movements in BC. We chatted with The Road Forward Producer and WIFTV member Shirley Vercruysse  who told us the film reminds the viewer of the history of the First Nations activism in BC in a very personal way, stating “this film is by the right person, made with the right people.” The film tells the stories of Canada’s oldest active Indigenous organization, the Native Brotherhood of British Columbia, The Native Voice newspaper (1946 – 2002), and the Constitutional Express — a peaceful protest on an Ottawa bound train to ensure the rights of Aboriginal people were included in the 1982 Constitutional Act. Vercruysse went on to explain that many of the people involved in making this film, who have also been involved in Aboriginal activism for 50 or 60 years already, felt that the work is successful in telling these stories. Shirley Vercruysse is the Executive Producer of the National Film Board of Canada’s BC & Yukon Studio, based in Vancouver, BC, where she leads the team producing documentary and animation projects. The Road Forward is screening on opening night (May 4th) and again on May 10th. 

The Carnival Band – Photo by Sandra Ignagni

Sandra Ignagni

You’re Already in the Band (You Just Don’t Know It Yet), created by WIFTV member Sandra Ignagni, follows The Carnival Band as they celebrate community through music. The Commercial Drive-based band can be spotted at a variety of events, from protests to parades, all over Vancouver. Ignagni followed The Carnival Band for over a year, documenting rehearsals, road trips, a wedding, a funeral, and everything in between. In 2016 Ignagni was chosen for a WIFTV Short Film Mentorship program. She explained that “my participation in that program helped propel the project forward and that positive momentum was critical to me finishing the film.” Sandra Ignagni is an award-winning documentary filmmaker based in Los Angeles and Vancouver. She trained in film production at Maine Media and Langara College and holds a PhD in Political Science and a Master of Arts in Indigenous & Canadian Studies. You’re Already in the Band (You Just Don’t Know It Yet) will be screening on May 9th and 10th as part of the City Voices: Short Program.

Fixed! Film Still – Photo courtesy of Cat Mills

Joella Cabalu

Fixed! is having its world premiere on May 8th and screening again on May 11th. The film centers around the volunteer-run, grassroots organization known as Repair Café in Toronto. The group holds monthly events where people bring in unexpected items they cherish enough to find out if they can be repaired. We sat down with producer and WIFTV member Joella Cabalu who described these repair services as “tangible, accessible solutions that people can introduce in their lives.”  Cabalu explained that the film focuses on the interactions between the volunteer fixers and the visitors in a way that explores both the community aspect and environmental aspect of repair cafes. Joella Cabalu is a Filipino-Canadian Vancouver-based documentary filmmaker with an Art History degree from the University of British Columbia (2008) and a graduate of the Documentary Film Production Program at Langara College (2013). Fixed! is part of the Stuff: Shorts Program, described by DOXA as a collection of films that “calls attention to our increasingly complex and contradictory relationship with our stuff.”

DOXA 2017 is screening at select theatres throughout Vancouver from May 4th to 14th. Check out the schedule here.

Words by Kaitlen Arundale

 

Norma’s Story – Animation Glimpses into Traditional Aboriginal Life – #VIWIFF2016

Normas story egg hill (1)The award-winning animated short film Norma’s Story runs under only five minutes, yet the message transcends time.

Director Alex Hawley takes the audience into a whimsical world that is part mid-century children’s book styling and traditional beadwork.  Continue reading

Snapshot of a Stolen Childhood — The Chicken by Una Gunjak at #VIWIFF2016

By Mersiha Musovic

THE-CHICKEN_02_Selma(IMAN-ALIBALIC)The Chicken, by Writer/Director Una Gunjak, is a uniquely intense, yet very moving film, which takes the viewers back in time to 1993, to a volatile setting they might be unfamiliar with: the Bosnian War.  Continue reading

From rough cut to festival: How WIFTV and the Film & Media Showcase helped me finish a film

By Sandra Ignagni

Sandra Ignagni Picture-3Once a month Vancouver filmmakers gather at the Film & Media Showcase to watch a selection of short and feature-length films in a casual and supportive environment. Co-hosted by three artist-focused British Columbia organizations – Women in Film + Television Vancouver, Cineworks and DOC BC – the event offers filmmakers an opportunity to screen their work and discuss their creative process – both successes and challenges.

Last summer, WIFTV selected my short documentary One Step at a Time: A Story About Women and Shoes for screening at the showcase. The film, a portrait of four young women in Toronto and Vancouver who are embarking on unconventional careers in the traditionally male-dominated fields of cobbling and shoemaking, was decidedly in rough-cut stage. Continue reading

Vampire Superstition in Eastern Europe – The Cursed Days at #VIWIFF2016

The Cursed Days_Nataša NinkovićDid you know that the word “vampir” (vampire) originated in Serbia? The vampire superstition started in the 18th century when, as legend has it, a villager was accused of killing nine people after his death. Continue reading

Out of the comfort zone: Atsuko Hirayanagi about her award-winning short Oh Lucy! #VIWIFF2015

Kaori Momoi as Setsuko in Oh Lucy!

Kaori Momoi as Setsuko in Oh Lucy!

I believe everybody fantasizes about becoming somebody else and exploring a new world. Oh Lucy! depicts Setsuko’s secret and personal dream.

Setsuko is a reserved 55-year-old office employee in Tokyo, who doesn’t make friends easily. Her life is a repetitive routine without romance. One day, she attends an English conversation class with an unconventional young English teacher who gives her a new identity, Lucy. She meets Tom, a middle-aged Japanese businessman, who attends to the same class.

Oh Lucy! is a film about Setsuko’s self-discovery, which reflects modern chaotic Tokyo culture.  Continue reading

Belgian short comedy Taxistop to screen at #VIWIFF2015

taxistop A5-200dpiOddly, comedy was a somewhat underrepresented genre in the years when I volunteered for the Vancouver International Women in Film Festival programming committee. As a former story editor, I know how difficult it is to write and edit comedy and how unrewarding producing comedies can be – at least if you aspire to win any significant awards. The audience, however, tends to love comedies and for a festival programmer it is a welcome relief to watch a comedy now and then amongst a wide range of social and women’s issues films.

Belgium is a funny country per se. Did you know the tiny Western European nation with only 11 million inhabitants has three different official languages (Dutch/Flemish, French and German), three regional governments (Flemish, Walloon and Brussels-Capital), more than a dozen political parties and the dubious distinction of hosting Europe’s most traffic-congested cities? Continue reading

Catharine Parke’s Short Doc Very Good Dirt to screen at #VIWIFF2015

Dirt2

***update: Catharine Parke’s short documentary Very Good Dirt will screen in the shorts section “Around the World in Eight Shorts” on Saturday, March 7th, at 7 PM at the 2015 Vancouver International Women in Film Festival. WIFTV President Carleen Kyle spoke with Catharine about her film a few months ago for the blog post below.***

Catharine Parke wears many hats. The WIFTV member is an accomplished documentary and factual television professional winning Leo Awards for Best Direction in an Information or Lifestyle Series for Get Stuffed, Best Screenwriting in a Documentary Program or Series for Ice Pilots NWT and a Producer nomination in the Best Information or Lifestyle Series category for She’s Crafty.

I called her up to ask about her short documentary, Very Good Dirt being selected by Telefilm Canada for the 7th edition of Not Short on Talent.

Continue reading