This film follows a 3 month journey taken by an Aboriginal Youth Leadership group in BC’s Sea to Sky corridor. Inspired and empowered by an Urban Ink slam poetry workshop, the youth created work around two chosen themes; 1) missing and murdered Aboriginal women and 2) what it is like to be Aboriginal today. They rehearsed and then performed spoken word and poetry in schools throughout the region at the 24 Hour Drum event on May 1, 2015. Twelve days later they performed to an audience of over 400 at the Canadian Association of Principals Conference in Whistler. Now there is no stopping them!
Is saying “sorry” enough? In 1988, Mitch Miyagawa’s Japanese-Canadian family received an apology from Prime Minister Brian Mulroney for the internment of Japanese Canadians during WWII. Mitch’s stepmother Etheline was a young victim of residential schools for Aboriginal children. His stepfather, Harvey, is the son of Chinese immigrants who were burdened with a racist head tax. Both also received official apologies from the Canadian government. But what do these apologies mean, to his parents, his young children and to his country? A Sorry State investigates how we deal with past traumas perpetrated by governments, explores our sense of nationhood and identity and witnesses the different ways we pass these dark legacies down to future generations. Screenwriting Award for Documentary, Writers Guild of Canada, 2013
Worlds collide when a former neo-Nazi skinhead and the gay victim of his hate crime attack meet by chance 25 years after the incident that dramatically shaped both their lives. Together they embark on a journey of forgiveness that challenges both to grapple with their beliefs and fears, eventually leading to an improbable collaboration…and friendship. Nominated for Best Short Documentary, Academy Awards; Audience Award, Best Short Documentary, Outfest LA
Farm labour has always been one of the most difficult and poorly paid jobs and has relied on some of the most vulnerable people. Exploitation still exists, ranging from wage theft and sexual harassment to modern-day slavery. This exploitation is perpetuated by the corporations at the top of the food chain, supermarkets. Their buying power has kept wages pitifully low, but desperately poor people are willing to put up with almost anything to keep their jobs. In this exposé, an intrepid group of Florida farmworkers battle to defeat the $4 trillion global supermarket industry through their ingenious Fair Food program, which partners with growers and retailers to improve working conditions for farm workers in the US.
Knitting Nannas Against Gas is a group of sweet ladies who ‘protest’ by unfolding some lawn chairs, popping the kettle on and knitting. The KNAGs, who formed in Australia in 2012, campaign against the growing coal-seam gas (CSG) industry, which they argue threatens to destroy prime farmland and unspoiled ecosystems. They are also absolutely delightful and effective. From the Nannafesto: “We peacefully & productively protest against the destruction of our land, air, and water by corporations and/or individuals who seek profit and personal gain from the short-sighted and greedy plunder of our natural resources. We support energy generation from renewable sources, and sustainable use of our other natural resources. We sit, knit, plot, have a yarn and a cuppa, and bear witness to the war against those who try to rape our land and divide our communities.”
Landfill Harmonic follows the Recycled Orchestra of Cateura, a Paraguayan musical youth group of kids that live next to one of South America’s largest landfills. This unlikely orchestra plays music from instruments made entirely out of garbage. When their story goes viral, the orchestra is catapulted into the global spotlight. With the guidance of their music director, they must navigate this new world of arenas and sold out concerts. However, when a natural disaster devastates their community, the orchestra provides a source of hope for the town. The film is a testament to the transformative power of music and the resilience of the human spirit. VIFF Impact: Int’l Audience Award
Little Moccasins is about young students honouring First Nations children who died and were buried in unmarked graves while attending the Dunbow Indian Residential School near Calgary from 1889 to 1924. Elementary students in the Strathcona Tweedsmuir Outreach Program are shocked to learn that the Dunbow Indian Residential School had been located only 15 minutes from their present day classroom. Struggling to come to terms with this dark period in Canadian history, the students embark on a journey to honour, give voice and identity to First Nations children who were buried and forgotten there long ago. Best Documentary, Vancouver Short Film Festival
Nefertiti’s Daughters is a story of women, art and revolution. Told by prominent Egyptian artists, this documentary witnesses the critical role revolutionary street art played during the Egyptian uprisings. Focused on the role of women artists in the struggle for social and political change, it spotlights how the iconic graffiti of Queen Nefertiti placed her on the front lines in the ongoing fight for women’s rights and freedom in Egypt today. Remi Award, Houston Int’l Film Fest; Grand Jury Prize, Athens Film and Video Festival
REQUIEM FOR THE AMERICAN DREAM is the definitive discourse with Noam Chomsky, widely regarded as the most important intellectual alive, on the defining characteristic of our time – the deliberate concentration of wealth and power in the hands of a select few.
Through interviews filmed over four years, Chomsky unpacks the principles that have brought us to the crossroads of historically unprecedented inequality – tracing a half-century of policies designed to favor the most wealthy at the expense of the majority – while also looking back on his own life of activism and political participation.
Profoundly personal and thought provoking, Chomsky provides penetrating insight into what may well be the lasting legacy of our time – the death of the middle class, and swan song of functioning democracy. A potent reminder that power ultimately rests in the hands of the governed, REQUIEM is required viewing for all who maintain hope in a shared stake in the future.
At a popular bakery café, residents of New York’s Upper East Side get bagels and coffee served with a smile 24 hours a day. Behind the scenes, undocumented immigrant workers face sub-legal wages, dangerous machinery and abusive managers who will fire them for calling in sick. Risking deportation and job loss, the workers team up with innovative young organizers and form their own independent union, launching themselves on a journey that will test the limits of their resolve. In one roller-coaster year, they must overcome a shocking betrayal and a two-month lockout. Lawyers battle in back rooms and workers walk the picket line with support from the “Occupy” crowd. If they can win a contract, it will set a historic precedent. But whatever happens, these workers will never be the same. Audience Award, Full Frame Documentary Film Festival; Audience Award, DOC NYC; Best of Fest, AFI Docs
This feature documentary recounts the incredible odyssey of 22 men from China’s persecuted Uyghur minority who were detained in Guantánamo as terrorists. These Turkic-speaking Muslims, persecuted by the authorities in Beijing, escaped to the Middle East where they were captured and sold as terrorists to the American forces. From northern China to Guantánamo, Cuba, this documentary by Patricio Henríquez charts the incredible odyssey of three of these “prisoners of the absurd,” wrongly linked to worldwide terror networks through no fault of their own.
It started simply enough, with the purchase of 18 cows. Bought by residents of the West Bank town of Beit Sahour, the cows were a symbol of freedom and resistance, allowing them to provide milk for their children rather than buying it from an Israeli company. But these were not ordinary times. The first Palestinian popular movement in the West Bank was rising and soon the illegal cows, cherished by the Palestinians, were being sought by the Israeli army. With humour and passion, The Wanted 18 captures the spirit of the 1987 uprising through the personal experiences of those who lived it, bringing to life one of the strangest chapters in the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Best Documentary, Traverse City Film Festival; Palestine Oscar nomination.
How well do you know your money? Two Vancouver-based filmmakers trace their investments to Canadian mines in Eastern and Southern Africa. If you live and work in Canada, chances are you’re connected to Canadian mining companies, whether you know it or not, through your savings, taxes, Canada Pension Plan contributions, RRSPs and other investments. We Call Them Intruders is a documentary that travels from Canada to Africa and back again to unearth the stories behind some of the continent’s largest Canadian-owned mining projects. The film brings viewers on a journey, taking a hard look at why communities, governments and corporations are so often pitted against each other in an explosive battle over extracting the Earth’s riches.