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

 

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Gender as Performance: the playful photography and life of Rosamond Norbury

Documentary filmmaker Joella Cabalu has a first look at WIFTV Board member Sharon McGowan’s upcoming documentary Bearded Ladies: the Photography of Rosamond Norbury, which will premiere at the Vancouver Queer Film Festival on August 18th.
***Update: The film will also screen at #VIWIFF2016 on Wednesday March 9th at 3:30 PM***

Rosamond Norbory's

Rosamond Norbory’s “Ismail” (aka past WIFTV board member Barbara Alexandre)

When was the last time you played?

As adults, we play league sports and Settlers of Catan but when was the last time you played “dress-up”? For women who want to dress-up as sexy, sultry, ultrafeminine versions of themselves there’s boudoir photography. And of course, there’s also Halloween – another reason to dress-up as a sexy, sultry, ultrafeminine version of a character or inanimate object (sexy Crayola Crayon, seriously?).

But how about dressing up as a male persona?
That’s not sexy at all for women, but it can be fun and silly! Such whimsy glows from the photography of Rosamond Norbury, the main subject of Sharon McGowan‘s documentary Bearded Ladies. Continue reading

Elizabeth Yake presents environmental Doc Hadwin’s Judgement at Hot Docs

Doug Chapman is Grant Hadwin in Hadwin's Judgement

Doug Chapman is Grant Hadwin in Hadwin’s Judgement

Producer and WIFTV member Elizabeth Yake and Director Sasha Snow enter a controversial and relevant conversation with their documentary Hadwin’s Judgement, which premieres at the 2015 Hot Docs Festival. Continue reading

Movies for Activists

Film is such a powerful medium with which to communicate a message or raise awareness about an issue or problem. Subtle details and nuances can prove to be highly provocative statements, and allegorical films can be powerful critiques against a given regime or system. Attending a film festival such as the Vancouver International Women in Film Festival is activism in itself–it is only one of three festivals in Canada dedicated to films made by women.  As has been discussed on this blog before, the gender disparities in the Canadian film in television are still a huge issue, with Canadian women fare behind their male counterparts in both annual earnings and opportunities, period. Supporting festivals such as ours is therefore especially important if you care about missing voices, overlooked stories, and challenging the status quo. If you’re an activist or a free thinker, these films should be at the top of your watchlist.

El Regreso

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El Regreso (The Return) by Patricia Ortega is a narrative fiction that explores the tragic and true events of April 16, 2004 in the Wayuu community of Bahía Portete, at the Colombian Guajira, a territory split between Colombia and Venezuela.  Given that it focuses on this painfully recent history, it is no doubt one of the most powerful films of the festival. Ortega will be present following the film for a panel discussion. The story is told from the perspective of Shuliwala (Daniela González), a 10-year-old girl who is forced to flee her home for an unknown city. The film is a bold contribution to the fight against racism while portraying little-known images of the Wayuu indigenous community. By focusing on a specific ethnic group, Ortega proposes a universal approach that vindicates the struggle for the rights of indigenous people.

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Suzanne Crocker finds happiness in the Yukon wilderness in her doc “All the time in the World”

ATT_Suz_canoe_on_ice

***Update: The 10th Annual Vancouver Women in Film Festival (#VIWIFF2015) is please to offer an encore screening of All the Time in The World on Sunday, March 8, 2015 at 3 PM. This screening is open to audiences of all ages. The feature documentary is preceded by three shorts, of which two are local: Michelle Kee’s Mattress and Arwen Hunter’s Vie.***

“I always envisioned myself as being one of those moms who would have fresh baked cookies and a glass of milk ready for their kids when they walked in the door after school,” says filmmaker Suzanne Crocker in the opening scene of her new doc All The Time In The World, as she pulls a canoe jam-packed with supplies up a rocky Canadian river. But she always felt there wasn’t enough time for the things that really counted.

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Spotlight on Students: Political Science & International Relations

Our “Spotlight on Students” series focuses on movies that might appeal to students (of all ages, and who are currently attending college/university or not) of certain specialties. Whether you want to get extra credit on a paper by referring to one of the films below, or if you want to see the film and spread the word to your peers (sounding extra cultured and sophisticated, of course), you can’t go wrong with these picks.

Movies for Political Science & International Relations

How People Live by Lisa Jackson

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This exceptionally well-crafted documentary by Lisa Jackson focuses on the forced relocation of the Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw Nations. The documentary delves into the most recent 100 years of history of these Nations, to their forced relocation in 1964, to present. Personal interviews, recollections, and archival footage provide an important reminder that we are not in fact in a post-colonial world, and offer a fresh perspective on histories deadened by Canadian high school textbooks. A timely, must-see for those interested in the Idle No More movements, and those who need to be shaken from the idea that Canada is a highly peaceful and tolerant nation state.

Sunday, March 9th at 1:00

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Preview of Best of the Festival Award Winners

VWIFF BEST OF FESTIVAL AWARDS

presented by Roslyn Muir, Festival Artistic Director

To close our festival, WIFTV celebrates the best of the festival by presenting awards to Canadian and international filmmakers for outstanding contributions to to their field. These Best of Fest awards include the: Annex Pro, NFB Animation Award, Chit Chat Productions Inc. Diversity Award, NFB Feature Documentary Award, NFB Short Documentary Award, Sharlene Chartrand Screenwriting Award, Feature Drama Award, Short Drama Award, Directing in a Short Drama Award, Mystique Films Directing in a Feature Drama Award, Barbara Alexandre Performance in a Feature Award, Performance in a Short Award, Moving Images Distribution Award, International Film Award.

Photo of Ana ValineAs well, Ana Valine will receive the Women in the Director’s Chair $100,000 Feature Film Award, presented by Carol Whiteman, President of Creative Women Workshops Association.

Awards will be presented at the Festival Closing Night, Sunday, March 11th, 2011.

BEST ANIMATION AWARD

ORIANA | Animation | British Columbia | 4:00 minutes Directed by Kara Miranda Lawrence A whimsical 3D animated fairytale adapted from the iconic Portuguese novel “A Fada Oriana” by the late Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen. A young fairy named Oriana is entrusted to take care of an Azorean forest and all its inhabitants. However, she becomes mesmerized by her reflection and the forest is destroyed due to her neglect. Will Oriana be able to redeem herself and save the forest in time? Rated: General

BEST DIVERSITY AWARD

CEDAR AND BAMBOO | Documentary | British Columbia | 22:00 minutes Directed by Diana Leung and Kamala Todd Recounting the life experiences of four descendants of mixed heritage, CEDAR AND BAMBOO explores the unique relationships shared by early Chinese immigrants and Indigenous people on Canada’s West Coast. Set in British Columbia, their stories reveal the difficult circumstances of Indigenous people and early Chinese immigrants. Rated: General

BEST DOCUMENTARY

SHORT CRY ROCK | British Columbia | 28:43 minutes Directed by Banchi Hanuse The wild beauty of the Bella Coola Valley blends with vivid watercolor animation illuminating the role of the Nuxalk oral tradition and the intersection of story, place and culture. Rated: General

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

LEAVE THEM LAUGHING Documentary | British Columbia | 88:00 minutes Produced by Montana Berg Directed by John Zaritsky Parental Guidance: Coarse Language Ninety minutes of songs about life and quips about death from the wheelchair of Carla Zilbersmith who vows to exit laughing. Once a nationally-known singer/comedienne, now fated by ALS, remarkable Carla leaves a teen-aged son, fans who adore her, and this 90-minute pre-mortem retrospective of a life lived fully but too fast.

BEST DRAMA SHORT

NEAR SILENCE | Narrative | British Columbia | 8:30 minutes Directed by Ana de Lara Roger, a former concert pianist debilitated by later stage Huntington’s Disease, is cared for by his devastated but loving wife, Fay, who struggles to find meaning in their existence. Rated: General – Violence

BEST DRAMA FEATURE

BLACK FIELD | Manitoba 2009 | Narrative | 80:00 minutes Directed by Danishka Esterhazy Black Field is a dark historical drama set in the wild Canadian prairies of the 19th century. Two sisters find their lives forever changed when a mysterious and charming man arrives at their isolated farm and refuses to leave. Rated: Parental Guidance – Coarse & Sexual Language, Drug Use

BEST EMERGING DIRECTOR – Julia Hutchings

Sill image from film IrradiateIRRADIATE | Narrative | British Columbia | 11:35 minutes Directed by Julia Hutchings Amidst the isolation of windswept fields, Loretta confronts the oscillating nature of grief and loss as she moves through the formalities of her mother’s death. Rated: General

Photo Sara Canning in Black Field

BEST PERFORMANCE – Sara Canning for her role in BLACK FIELD


DISTRIBUTION AWARD

A WINDOW LOOKING IN Documentary | British Columbia | 22:00 minutes Directed by Tara Hungerford and Eric Hogan General: Coarse Language The profile of 12 BC-based artists, among them writer William Gibson, designer/sculptor Martha Sturdy, photographer Fred Herzog and singer/songwriter Sarah McLachlan. Visually bold and captivating, the film peers into the artists’ inner world to uncover common truths about creativity, the artistic process and living and working as an artist in BC.

TORA | Narrative | British Columbia | 29:00 minutes Directed by Wendy Ord and Glen Samuel Starring David Suzuki in his first acting role, TORA follows a jaded city woman who inherits a property in BC’s Interior and is haunted by a little ghost girl. Jenna discovers through dreams and flashbacks of her new neighbour (Suzuki) that her land was a Japanese Internment Camp during WWII. Rated: Parental Guidance – Drug Use