As the Holocaust survivor community ages, the Shoah Foundation, in collaboration with the University of Southern California’s Institute for Creative Technologies, has embarked on an ambitious new project to transform survivors into 3D digital holograms that will interact with generations to come. 116 Cameras follows Eva Schloss, a Holocaust survivor and stepsister of Anne Frank, as she tells her story. This creative project addresses the pressing question of what might happen when witnesses are no longer with us.
On July 25th, 2016, a young man attacked a center for people with disabilities in Japan, killing 19 and wounding 26. He had sent a letter to the president of the Japanese Parliament expressing his belief that people with disabilities cannot be happy and can only bring misfortune to their guardians. In this film we meet Sachiko Tanaka, a woman living with an intellectual disability and a member of L’Arche in Japan. Sachiko, whose name means “child of happiness”, is making recycled paper, as she does everyday. However, this time with her community, Sachiko is recycling the letter on which the murderer justified his actions. She uses the finished paper to make nineteen Origami cranes. According to Japanese tradition, the cranes’ task is to carry souls to paradise. This heartwarming film is a tribute to the victims and a challenge to assumptions about people with different abilities.
This is a film about the transformative power of the co-operative enterprise model. The co-op movement was built by people who took on the responsibility for their collective well-being in the face of government neglect, economic exclusion and cultural discrimination. As the modern economy increasingly denies the basic amenities for a decent life to vast sectors of the population, this cooperative spirit is as critical as ever. A Silent Transformation explores the innovative self-help efforts of different communities across Ontario. In these communities are the seeds of economic democracy, global solidarity, and a movement to transform society.
Three sisters and a brother, adopted as infants into separate families across North America, meet together for the first time in this deeply moving documentary. Removed from their young Dene mother’s care as part of Canada’s infamous Sixties Scoop, Betty Ann, Esther, Rosalie and Ben were four of the 20,000 Indigenous children taken from their families between 1955 and 1985, to be either adopted into white families or to live in foster care. As the four siblings piece together their shared history, their connection deepens, bringing laughter with it, and their family begins to take shape.
In the US today, a radical movement has tightened its grip on state power, seeking to control whether and how women bear children. In this crusade, pregnant women are subject to state control, surveillance, and punishment. Even women who don’t want an abortion face shocking risks—like the pregnant woman in Alabama who faced criminal charges for taking half a Valium. Or like the grieving woman in Nebraska who, already devastated by a bleak diagnosis at 22 weeks, was forced to continue an nonviable and dangerous pregnancy because of a new “fetal pain” law. Birthright: A War Story tells stories of women caught up in a frightening new legal system, which criminalizes and physically violates women, threatens lives, and challenges their constitutional protections. These stories are a warning to those who take their rights for granted.
Every day our changing climate pushes us closer to an environmental catastrophe, but the problem is easy to ignore. We often find it difficult to face change. We’d rather be in denial. David Hallquist, CEO of a Vermont utility, has made it his mission to take on one of the US’s largest contributors to this global crisis, the outdated and vulnerable electric grid. But when his filmmaker son, Derek, tries to tell his father’s story, the film is soon derailed by a family secret that can no longer be denied. David is a trans-woman. With stunning access to intimate family moments and behind-the scenes energy deals, and with unique humor in the face of overwhelming events, Denial manages to present insights into two important topics - one global and one personal - and at the same time to throw light on the messy business of change.
This is the story of organic agriculture, told by those who built the movement. A motley crew of back-to-the-landers reject chemical farming and set out to explore organic alternatives. It’s a heartfelt journey of change – from a small band of rebels to a cultural transformation in the way we grow and eat food. Organic has now gone mainstream, split into an industry oriented toward bringing organic food to all people and a movement that has realized a vision of sustainable agriculture. The next generation of organic farmers is broadening their scope to include methods such as “no till” and carbon farming as a climate solution. Regenerative agriculture is the new frontier.
In the late 1930’s China is in dire straits. The country will collapse under Japan’s military juggernaut if it doesn’t get outside help. Chinese American firebrand Li Ling-Ai jolts Americans into action with a new medium — 16mm Kodachrome color film. She hires photojournalist Rey Scott to travel to China and capture a citizen’s perspective of the war-torn country, including the massive bombing of the wartime capital Chungking (now Chongqing). Their landmark film KUKAN screened for President Roosevelt at the White House, was called “awesome” by the New York Times, and received one of the first Academy Awards for a feature documentary in 1942. Why have we never heard of this remarkable woman, Li Ling-Ai? And why have all copies of KUKAN disappeared? Filmmaker Robin Lung goes on a 7-year quest to find the answers.
The cargo shipping industry is a key player in world economy bringing 90% of the goods we consume in the West. Yet the functioning and regulation of this business remains largely obscure to many, and its hidden costs affect us all. Due to their size, freight ships no longer fit in traditional city harbors;they have moved out of the public’s eye, behind barriers and check points. The film answers many questions: Who pulls the strings in this multi-billion dollar business? To what extent does the industry control our policy makers? How does it affect the environment above and below the water-line?
This is a personal documentary exploring the connection between Christianity and homophobia in the wake of the 2016 shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando. Queer filmmaker Jessica Devaney grew up deeply immersed in Evangelical Christianity in Florida. After breaking with her youth as a nationally recognized activist and leader among conservative Evangelicals, Jessica left Florida and didn’t look back. She built a life that took her as far away from home as possible. Over time, her daily life became a progressive echo chamber. The mass shooting at Pulse was a wake-up call. By avoiding hard conversations with church leadership, had she missed opportunities to challenge homophobia? Love the Sinner probes our responsibility to face bias in our communities and push for dignity and equality for all.
With unique access to high-ranking candidate Helen Clark, award-winning filmmaker Gaylene Preston casts a wry eye on proceedings as the United Nations turns itself inside-out choosing a new Secretary-General.
Her cameras explore the cracks between the diplomats, the embedded press and feminist activists as they push for change while caught up in a power process as secretive and patriarchal as the selection of the Pope.
An observational documentary, My Year with Helen travels alongside Clark as she works on global development issues as head of the UNDP while also campaigning for Secretary-General and staying in daily contact with her 94-year-old father back in New Zealand.
Our People Will Be Healed, Alanis Obomsawin’s 50th film, reveals how a Cree community in Manitoba has been enriched through the power of education. The Helen Betty Osborne Ininiw Education Resource Centre in Norway House, north of Winnipeg, receives a level of funding that few other Indigenous institutions enjoy. Its teachers help their students to develop their abilities and their sense of pride in their culture. This positive story illustrates what is possible with proper funding and support.
What if tomorrow’s murders could be prevented today? To predict a future crime scene and to prevent a murder seems like something from a sci-fi movie. To make this possible, powerful computers and omnipresent cameras capture data from all sources, which is then evaluated and analyzed with the help of algorithms. At the same time, citizens are transformed into carriers of recorded data; our every move, message and purchase is tracked and mapped. Ratings of how likely we are to commit a crime are attached to our personae. Computers spit out lists of tomorrow´s criminals. But what if it´s you who ends up on this list? What if the data is wrong or biased? How can we be guilty of things we haven’t done? Who is, or isn’t, protected by the algorithm? The film exposes the creators of this technology, how they work and who really benefits from their invention. We are the first generation to hand over to computers the control over our freedom for the promise of total security. Pre-Crime is a chilling wake-up call.
Exploring universal themes of identity, dreams and family, Rebels on Pointe celebrates the world famous Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo. The notorious all-male, comic, drag ballet company was founded over 40 years ago in New York City on the heels of the Stonewall riots, and has a passionate cult following around the world. The film juxtaposes intimate behind-the-scenes access, rich archives and history, engaging character-driven stories, and dance performances shot in North America, Europe and Japan. Rebels on Pointe is a creative blend of gender-bending artistic expression, diversity, passion and purpose. A story which ultimately proves that a ballerina is not only a woman dancing— but an act of revolution in a tutu.
Students from School District 48’s Aboriginal Leadership Group travel throughout the Sea to Sky to interview Elders from both the Squamish and Lil’wat Nations. The teachings empower the students for their 3rd annual 24 Hour Drum event. Elders share stories, poetry, and deep wisdom surrounding issues of language revitalization, reconciliation and forgiveness.
It’s 1944 in occupied Paris. Four friends spend their days in a narrow room atop a Left Bank apartment building. The neighbours think they’re painters — a cover story to explain the chemical smell. In fact, the friends are members of a Jewish resistance cell. They’re operating a clandestine laboratory to make false passports for children and families about to be deported to concentration camps. The youngest member of the group, the lab’s technical director, is 18-year-old Adolfo Kaminsky. Their heroic actions helped save the lives of thousands of Jews. Kaminsky went on to forge papers for people around the world in practically every major conflict of the mid-20th century.
The Right To Remain is a look at Vancouver’s Downtown East Side residents and their fight to save their community from development. The documentary is told from a Japanese-Canadian perspective of those who remember their own displacement and internment and are guided by solidarity with their neighbors. The film follows Tom and others who sense homelessness knocking at their doors as rents skyrocket while the city lays out its development plans for the next 30 years.
The Road Forward, a musical documentary, connects a pivotal moment in Canada’s civil rights history—the beginnings of Indian Nationalism in the 1930s—with the powerful momentum of First Nations activism today. The Road Forward’s stunningly shot musical sequences, performed by an ensemble of some of Canada’s finest vocalists and musicians, seamlessly connect past and present with soaring vocals, blues, rock, and traditional beats. This is a rousing tribute to the fighters for First Nations rights, a soul-resounding historical experience, and a visceral call to action.
In Cambodia, more and more fertile land is being taken over by large-scale farming industries while small-scale farmers are fighting to keep ownership of their land in order to maintain local food security. Silent Land tells the story of one young farmer, Moon, who wants to continue to grow organic rice. She realizes that she has to find a middle way to survive between the large-scale companies and the precarious future of individual farmers. Moon has no formal education; her father, a rice farmer and bicycle repair man, had no money to send her to school. Now she attends evening classes and learns about the weak legal system in Cambodia. Since she can’t count on the legal system, she organizes a cooperative with other farmers in her village in order to improve their chances of resisting land grabs.
What’s going on with exploding housing costs in key cities around the world? Vancouver: No Fixed Address focuses on the global housing bubble in a city often voted to be the ‘Best City in the World’. The reality on the ground is that many residents are deeply concerned about their ability to stay here. This film engages with a group of experts who explain exactly what’s happening. It puts a human face on the housing crisis and the gross inequality it has left in its wake. The conclusions are pretty straightforward, but what about the solutions?
Waking the Sleeping Giant: The Making of a Political Revolution is the story of the attempt to build a 21st century progressive movement in the US. Five remarkable individuals wrestle with persistent racial injustice, growing economic inequality, and the corrupting influence of money in politics against the backdrop of an extraordinary 2016 presidential race. From the presidential campaign trail with Senator Bernie Sanders to a local race in the failing economy of rural West Virginia, from a mass sit-in on the US Capitol steps to racially-charged police commission hearings in Los Angeles, Waking the Sleeping Giant makes sense of this moment in American politics, probing widespread discontent during the 2016 election cycle, Donald Trump’s dramatic electoral victory, and the challenges ahead for those building a re-energized progressive movement. In crisis, there is also opportunity.