2013 Films

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All Me: The Life and Times of Winfred Rembert - 2012 - USA
166 min
Director: Vivian Ducat
Year Presented: 2013

With his intensely autobiographical paintings, Winfred Rembert has preserved an important chapter of African American history. His images of toiling in the cotton fields, singing in church, dancing in juke joints, or working on a chain gang are especially powerful because he lived those moments himself. Now in his sixties, Rembert has an enthusiastic following among art connoisseurs. In this music-filled film he relives his turbulent life, and shows us how even the most painful memories can be transformed into something meaningful and beautiful.
Bidder 70 - 2012 - USA
73 min
Director: Directors: Beth & George Gage
Year Presented: 2013

In the name of climate justice, University of Utah student Tim DeChristopher outbid industry giants for oil and gas leases on land parcels which were adjacent to national treasures like Canyonlands National Park, even though he had no intention of paying for them. The film follows Tim, Bidder 70, from college student to incarcerated felon. Tim's commitment to future generations, his evolution as a leader and his willingness to courageously accept the consequences of his actions make his a story to inspire and motivate a new generation of activists.
The Carbon Rush - 2012 - Canada
85 min
Director: Amy Miller
Year Presented: 2013

From hundreds of hydroelectric dams in Panama to eucalyptus forests harvested for charcoal in Brazil, projects are being created to receive carbon credits for offsetting pollution somewhere else. But what impact are these offsets having? Are they actually reducing emissions? What about the people and communities where these projects have been set up? The Carbon Rush travels four continents and examines these situations and asks the fundamental questions: “What happens when we manipulate markets to solve the climate crisis? Who stands to gain and who stands to suffer?”
Chi - 2013 - Canada
60 min
Director: Anne Wheeler
Year Presented: 2013

This feature documentary follows Canadian actress Babz Chula to Kerala, India, where she is to undergo treatment by a renowned Ayurvedic healer in an effort to manage her 6-year battle with cancer. The bare-bones Indian clinic at first disappoints, but Babz is uplifted as her condition seemingly shows marked signs of improvement. Returning home, however, it is revealed that her cancer has actually advanced. Amazingly, the irrepressible actress invites filmmaker Anne Wheeler to continue bearing witness to her journey into the unknown.
Crime After Crime - 2011 - USA
93 min
Director: Yoav Potash
Year Presented: 2013

Two rookie attorneys step forward to take on the legal battle to free Debbie Peagler, a woman imprisoned for over a quarter century for the murder of the man who abused her. Through their perseverance, they bring to light long-lost witnesses, new testimonies from the men who committed the murder, and proof of perjured evidence. Their investigation attracts global attention to victims of wrongful incarceration and abuse, and takes on profound urgency when Debbie is diagnosed with cancer. Documented as it unfolded, this story is an unforgettable quest for justice.
Edible City - 2012 - USA
72 min
Director: Andrew Hasse and Carl Grether
Year Presented: 2013

Extraordinary people are digging their hands into the dirt, working to transform their communities and doing something truly revolutionary: growing local systems that are socially just, environmentally sound, and economically resilient. Local food production may be the answer to many of the challenges we face today. The film looks at examples of creative community based food security projects, including exciting work in many American inner city neighbourhoods as well as in Cuba.
The End of Immigration? - 2012 - Canada
52 min
Director: Marie Boti & Malcolm Guy
Year Presented: 2013

In Canada, temporary foreign workers are not just the seasonal agricultural workers who have been working in our fields for the past 40 years but these days are found in all sectors: as fast food employees, service station attendants, city bus drivers. Canada appears to be taking its cue from places like Hong Kong and Saudi Arabia, where there are citizens with full rights, and “rentaworkers” with few or none. Is this the kind of society we want to build?
For Once in My Life - 2010 - USA
94 min
Director: Jim Bigham & Mark Moormann
Year Presented: 2013

This documentary is an inspiring look at a band made up of singers and musicians with a wide range of mental and physical disabilities, revealing the struggles and triumphs they encounter while on a journey to become true musicians and perform for large audiences. With passionate concert footage and intimate behind-the-scenes glimpses into the band members’ lives, this film paints a heart-warming portrait of what people can do when given a chance.
Future of Hope - 2010 - UK/Iceland
75 min
Director: Henry Bateman
Year Presented: 2013

Over the past 20 years we have seen a growing realization that the current model for society and culture is unsustainable. We have been living beyond our means. Future of Hope focuses on Iceland's sustainable developments in organic farming, innovative business models and renewable energy integrated with its amazing geography of geysers and volcanoes, midnight sun and dark snowy winters. This is a story of struggle, determination and most importantly, hope.
The Grey Area: Feminism Behind Bars - 2012 - USA
65 min
Director: Noga Ashkenazi
Year Presented: 2013

With student teachers from Grinnell College, a small group of inmates at a women’s maximum security prison in Mitchellville, Iowa, share their diverse experiences of motherhood, drug addiction, sexual abuse, murder, and life in prison. The women, along with their teachers, delve into issues of race, class, sexuality and gender. The number of women in prison has grown by over 800% in the past three decades; two thirds are mothers and more than 80% have been victims of domestic violence or sexual assault at some point in their lives.
Heart of Sky, Heart of Earth - 2012 - Germany/Guatemala
98 min
Director: Frauke Sandig & Eric Black
Year Presented: 2013

The ancient Maya believed this present world would end and a new cycle arise after 5125 years. Heart of Sky, Heart of Earth follows six young Maya in Guatemala and Chiapas through their daily and ceremonial lives. Their indigenous perspective in which all life is sacred and interconnected is presented in their own words, without narration. Each story touches upon a facet of the current global crisis and is a deeply compelling alternative to the prevailing worldview.
Maestra - 2012 - USA/CUBA
34 min
Director: Catherine Murphy
Year Presented: 2013

In Cuba in 1961, 250,000 volunteers taught 700,000 people to read and write in one year. Maestra is a beautifully filmed reconstruction of this story. That same year the CIA funded the Bay of Pigs invasion. Although it was thwarted by the Cuban armed forces, escaped mercenaries combed the countryside, harassing the peasants and their literacy teachers. Fifty years on, the film clearly demonstrates the impact this experience had on the lives of all those who took part.
Mama Milk: the Tatamagouche Breastfeeding Experience - 2013 - Canada
21 min
Director: Shaani & Kaia Singh
Year Presented: 2013

Nova Scotia has the second lowest breastfeeding rate in Canada. Tatamagouche, Nova Scotia has one of highest breastfeeding duration rates in North America. Mother-to-mother peer support, prenatal education and early access to help (before you need it) have been the key to its overwhelming success. Can this model be replicated throughout Nova Scotia?
More Than Honey - 2012 - Germany
95 min
Director: Markus Imhoof
Year Presented: 2013

Over the past 15 years, numerous colonies of bees have been decimated throughout the world, but the causes remain unknown. Called “colony collapse disorder,” billions of bees leave their hives, never to return. No bodies are found in the immediate surroundings, and no visible predators can be located. Without bees, there is no pollination, and fruits and vegetables could disappear. Fifty years ago, Einstein predicted, “If bees were to disappear from the globe, mankind would only have four years left to live.”
My Neighbourhood - 2012 - USA/Israel/Palestine
25 min
Director: Filmmakers: Rebekah Wingert-Jabi & Julia Bacha
Year Presented: 2013

In the heart of East Jerusalem 11 year old Mohammed and his family are forced to give up part of their home to Israeli settlers who are leading a campaign of court sanctioned evictions to guarantee Jewish control of the area. To their surprise, they are quickly supported in peaceful protest by scores of Israelis who are horrified to see what is being done in their name. My Neighbourhood captures voices rarely heard: those striving for a shared future in the city of Jerusalem.
Noel Un-Corked - 2013 - Canada
35 min
Director: Peter Murphy
Year Presented: 2013

Born and raised in Cork Ireland, my father Noel Murphy immigrated to Canada in the 1950's and never once went back to visit any family members and never even talked about them. One day, out of the blue we received a call from an Irish cousin we'd never heard of and that was the start of the journey of discovery and the film.
Occupy Love - 2013 - Canada
86 min
Director: Velcrow Ripper
Year Presented: 2013

From the Arab Spring to the global climate justice movement, humanity is waking up to the fact that the dominant system of power is failing to provide us with health, happiness or meaning. The old paradigm is collapsing. Endless growth on a finite planet cannot be sustained. Millions of people are deciding that the time has come to create a new world. Woven through this action-oriented story is a deep exploration of the meaning of love, and concrete examples of just what “another world” could look like.
Paraiso for Sale - 2012 - USA/Panama
73 min
Director: Anayansi Prado
Year Presented: 2013

What price would you pay for paradise? And who would you be willing to take it from? The pristine archipelago of Bocas del Toro, Panama attracts retirees and developers from the U.S. with its crystal-clear waters and its island culture. This engaging and revealing documentary tells the personal stories of the people who call this area home and explores issues of modern day colonialism, residential tourism, and global gentrification.
The People’s Place: the People’s Space - 2013 - Canada
30 min
Director: Denise Davies
Year Presented: 2013

The People’s Place thrives as a vibrant and important hub of community life in Antigonish. It is a library, but it is much more. It is a center for the arts and culture; a place for meeting, learning, engagement, and improvement for all ages. It didn't happen by accident. In the hope of serving as a model for other communities, this film explores the process that Antigonish used to decide what to build and how the funds were raised to bring this vision to realization.
PLANEAT - 2011 - UK
72 min
Director: Shelley Lee Davies & Or Shlomi
Year Presented: 2013

Against a backdrop of colourful delicious food grown by organic farmers and prepared by world-famous chefs, Planeat brings together three ground-breaking studies: exploring the link between diet and disease, using nutrition to treat chronically ill heart disease patients and investigating how our food choices contribute to global degradation. It is possible to reduce your risk of heart disease and cancer, protect the environment, and make the planet sustainable while celebrating the joys of food.
Reflections: Art for an Oil-Free Coast - 2012 - Canada
22 min
Director: Cameron Dennison
Year Presented: 2013

Fifty artists ventured into the truly stunning and remote Great Bear Rainforest, a landscape threatened by Enbridge’s proposed Northern Gateway pipeline. These artists created an amazing collection of art to share with the world. Robert Bateman summarizes the matter: “The real problems facing this planet are not economic, and they are not technical. They are philosophical. So we need to get our philosophy right. We need a critical mass of people who care deeply in their hearts about nature. And that’s partly what we’re all about here.”
Room to Breathe - 2013 - USA
76 min
Director: Russell Long
Year Presented: 2013

A story of transformation, struggling kids in a San Francisco public middle school are introduced to the practice of mindfulness meditation. Topping the district in disciplinary suspensions, and with overcrowded classrooms creating a nearly impossible learning environment, overwhelmed administrators are left with stark choices: repeating the cycle of trying to force tuned-out children to listen, or to experiment with timeless inner practices that may provide them with the social, emotional, and focusing skills they need to succeed.
The Saga of Murdo MacLeod - 2012 - Canada
17 min
Director: G. Scott MacLeod
Year Presented: 2013

Within the diversity that is modernday Canada, all nonaboriginal people share an immigrant history, some recent, others of distant ancestors. This film fuses rich pencil animation with new digital media to portray the Saga of Murdo MacLeod, written and narrated by Mike Burns, a celebrated Montreal storyteller. Expelled from their land on the Isle of Lewis in Scotland in the 1830's, Murdo’s clan make their way to a region near Sherbrooke, Quebec. There, on Abenaki territory, they find their only hope for survival in the hands of Canada’s first people.
Shift Change: Putting Democracy to Work - 2012 - USA
70 min
Director: Mark Dworkin & Melissa Young
Year Presented: 2013

There is growing interest in firms that are owned and managed by their workers. Such firms tend to be more profitable and innovative, and more committed to their communities. They can compete successfully in today’s economy while providing secure, dignified jobs in democratic workplaces. Among others, this film takes us to the Mondragón Cooperative Corporation in Spain where it has transformed a previously depressed area into one with a high standard of living and an egalitarian way of life.
Sing Your Song - 2011 - USA
104 min
Director: Susanne Rostock
Year Presented: 2013

This inspirational film about Harry Belafonte begins with his birth into poverty in Harlem in 1927 and his childhood years in Jamaica. Director Susanne Rostock takes the viewer through his training as an actor, and on to his career and success as a singer. It also reveals the compelling story of his activism for social justice. Belafonte worked intimately with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., mobilized celebrities for positive change, and participated in the struggle against apartheid in South Africa. He continues to work in the prison rights movement.
Symphony of the Soil - 2012 - USA
104 min
Director: Deborah Koons
Year Presented: 2013

With beautiful cinematography and musical score, and drawing from ancient knowledge as well as cutting edge science, Symphony of the Soil is an artistic exploration of the miraculous substance, soil. By understanding the elaborate relationships between soil, water, the atmosphere, plants and animals, we come to appreciate the complex and dynamic nature of this precious resource, often misused in our modern practices of farming, forestry, and development.
Trash Dance - 2012 - USA
68 min
Director: Andrew Garrison
Year Presented: 2013

Choreographer Allison Orr finds beauty and grace in garbage trucks, and in the unseen men and women who pick up our trash. Filmmaker Andrew Garrison follows Orr as she rides along with Austin, Texas sanitation workers on their daily routes to observe and later convince them to perform a most unlikely spectacle. On an abandoned airport runway, two dozen trash collectors and their trucks deliver, for one night only, a stunningly beautiful and moving performance in front of an audience of thousands.
United States of Africa - 2011 - Canada
75 min
Director: Yanick Létourneau
Year Presented: 2013

In this hopeful and compelling film African hip hop pioneer Didier Awadi crafts an album that pays tribute to the dream of a united and independent Africa. This epic musical and political journey visits 40 countries to collaborate with hip hop activist artists, including Smockey (Burkina Faso), M-1 of Dead Prez (United States) and ZuluBoy (South Africa). Featuring a score by Ghislain Poirier, and Awadi’s own songs, this film is a profound meditation on the power of music and the impact of political engagement, both individual and collective.
Vito - 2011 - USA
93 min
Director: Jeffrey Schwarz
Year Presented: 2013

In 1969 a police raid on a Greenwich Village gay bar took a surprising turn when patrons decided to fight back. Vito Russo, a 23-year-old film student, was among the crowd. Vito would go on to become one of the most outspoken and inspiring activists in the LGBT community’s fight for equal rights. He was a pivotal figure in several well-known organizations and also wrote The Celluloid Closet, which explored how gays and lesbians were portrayed on film and how those negative images impacted homophobia.
Walk in Beauty: Clean Energy for a Changeable World - 2012 - USA
14 min
Director: Doug Crawford
Year Presented: 2013

Northwest New Mexico had hundreds of uranium mines, many of which have not been remediated, and is also home to two of the largest and dirtiest coal-fired power plants in the country. However, it has excellent clean energy resources, including solar power, which could create thousands of jobs in an area that has an unemployment rate above 50 percent. The Navajo communities living there have an historic opportunity to act as national and global leaders in the transition to clean energy.
We Still Live Here (Âs Nutayuneân) - 2010 - USA
56 min
Director: Anne Makepeace
Year Presented: 2013

Celebrated every Thanksgiving as the Indians who saved the Pilgrims from starvation, and then largely forgotten, the Wampanoag Tribes of Cape Cod and Martha's Vineyard are now saying loud and clear, and in their Native tongue, "Âs Nutayuneân," (We Still Live Here). Jessie Little Doe Baird, their celebrated linguist, uncovered hundreds of documents written in Wampanoag, leading her to a Master’s in Linguistics at MIT. Her efforts culminated in an unprecedented feat of language reclamation by her people.
Well Fished - 2013 - Canada
22 min
Director: Corinne Dunphy
Year Presented: 2013

Two young women have big dreams of living a life working on the Atlantic. Women have always participated in the ever-important shore work of the fishery, but today it is becoming more common for them to be stepping onto boats as well. Shot during the two-month lobster-fishing season in 2012, this film speaks to the rapidly changing society of Nova Scotia and the pride associated with working on the sea.