This year’s DOXA Documentary Film Festival, Vancouver's version of Hot Docs, bristles with ideas and provocations over its 10 days in May. If the five films I’ve seen are representative of the whole program, expect some intelligent and well-crafted documentaries coming your way, along with lively Q&As and discussions with filmmakers and other audience members.
This is some early sample footage for Running On Climate which I submitted to Canadian commissioning editors. The clip introduces one of the main subjects of the documentary, University of Victoria climate scientist Andrew Weaver as he makes the transition from academic to politician.
Rob Stewart is the underwater filmmaker who with Sharkwater showed everyone that it’s safe to go back in the water, and what’s more, opened our eyes to the barbaric practice of shark-finning. The film’s impact came from gorgeous, up-close footage of the different species of shark combined with hard-hitting sequences of finned sharks being tossed back into the ocean still alive and writhing and an urgent message to take action. Revolution, Stewart’s latest documentary, is similar in its approach, but raises the stakes. He’s out to save not just the shark, but to “save the human”.
“When you retire, you become a bit of a leftist,” says one of the interviewees in Dror Moreh’s The Gatekeepers, a statement that helps explain why six retired heads of Shin Bet (Israel’s secret service) agreed to share candid insights into their shadowy and frequently lethal profession. While I’ve only seen clips from the Oscar-nominated documentary at time of writing, it’s easy to see why it’s been hailed for its revelatory and gripping take on Israel’s rocky history in the 45-years since the Six Day War in 1967.
When the hog-tied, naked bodies of three eight-year old boy scouts were discovered at the bottom of a ditch in 1993 it didn’t take long for the local authorities in the small town of West Memphis, Arkansas, to find their men.
President Obama was inaugurated for his second term yesterday in a short ceremony. Today he met his public with a rousing speech. Here's what he had to say about climate change.
As the Vancouver leg of the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipleline joint review panel wraps up inside the Sheraton Wall Centre, an Überdrop falls outside the building.
Around two hundred umbrella-sized drops were created which people held over their heads. They broke up into four teams to create streams around the plaza until they combined to form one massive, swaying, blue Überdrop from the hundreds of smaller drops.
I should have taken ear plugs like the organisers recommended. Hundreds of people banging pots and pans created an almighty din outside the tall, suitably sleek, shark-fin shaped Sheraton Wall Centre earlier tonight.
The protest was for the benefit of the federal joint review panel meeting inside to hear comments on Enbridge's deeply unpopular Northern Gateway Pipeline.
Taking cues from a series of speakers, protestors banged pots, drums, blew whistles, yelled, and hollered until the panel meeting was due to end at 9pm.
There's quite a few more bikes available now if you need one (you are expected to make a donation though), and the parts boxes are filling up. There doesn't appear to be any shortage of tools, stands and such like either.
Recently, I’ve been filming University of Victoria climate scientist Dr Andrew Weaver, who is campaigning as the BC Green Party candidate for the Oak Bay Gordon Head riding in Victoria in the May provincial elections. As I research the project (I'm calling it "Running On Climate"), I’ve been looking back at how climate change has been covered on screen in the past.
Moving chronologically, first is Soylent Green (1973).