After the Harvest:
Fighting Hunger in the Coffeelands
Thursday, February 6 | 6:15 pm
22 min. | 2011 | Optic Nerve Productions
FILMMAKER: Brian Kimmel
NARRATOR: Susan Sarandon
Coffee farmers in Chiapas, Mexico greet the rainy months between May and September with a mix of hope and trepidation. Consistent rainfall is vital to their crops, but too much water makes their rural dirt roads impassable. The price of beans and corn goes up, just when income from the coffee harvest is depleted. These are “los meses flacos,” or the thin months, when families make ends meet by eating less, eating cheaper foods, and/or borrowing against their future. This film reinforces the fact that our choices for coffee purchase matter. Fair and direct trade makes a difference during the “thin months.”
>>> Film Website
Seeds of Freedom
Thursday, February 6 | 6:50pm
30 min. | 2012 | Gaia Foundation
FILMMAKER: Jess Phillimore
NARRATOR: Jeremy Irons
Seeds of Freedom charts the story of seed from its roots at the heart of traditional, diversity-rich farming systems across the world to being transformed into a powerful commodity used to monopolize the global food system.
The film highlights the extent to which the industrial agricultural system, and genetically modified (GM) seeds in particular, goes hand in hand with loss of biodiversity and related knowledge; the loss of cultural traditions and practices; the loss of livelihoods; and the loss of food sovereignty. Seeds of Freedom challenges the mantra — promoted by the pro-GM lobby — that large-scale, industrial agriculture is the only means by which we can feed the world. It shows how small-scale farmers feed 70 percent of the world, using less land and water. They protect the soil, and their practices lead to more crop resilience as the climate changes. >>> Film Website
More Than Honey
Thursday, February 6 | 7:30 pm
91 min. | 2012 | Eye Steel Films
DIRECTOR Markus Imhoof
Over the past 15 years, colonies of bees have been decimated throughout the world. “Colony Collapse Disorder” is still spreading from beehive to beehive. We have good reason to be worried; many plant species, including our food crops, require bees for pollination. Should we blame pesticides or even medication used to combat them? What about parasites such as varroa mites or travelling stress? So far, it looks as though a combination of all these factors may be implicated.
The camera flies from the US, where massive bee-factories-on-wheels travel by truck between fruit regions, to China, where the bees are gone and legions of labourers pollinate blossoms by hand. The film ends on a hopeful note with lessons about the importance of biodiversity. Exquisite cinematography of the bees in flight and in their hives, reveals a fascinating and complex world. >>> Film Website
BEST DOCUMENTARY, German Film Awards; BEST DOCUMENTARY, Santa Barbara Film Festival
Friday, February 7 | 2:30 pm
59 min. | 2012 | Women Make Movies
DIRECTOR: Karima Zoubir
Working as a videographer at weddings in Casablanca, Khadija Harrad is part of the new generation of young, divorced Moroccan women seeking to realize their desires for freedom and independence while honouring their families’ wishes. Mother of an 11-year-old son and primary breadwinner for her parents and siblings, she navigates daily between the elaborate fantasy world of the parties she films and the harassment from her traditionally conservative family, who disapprove of her occupation and want her to remarry. Camera Woman, shot in vérité style, follows Khadija on the job, at home, and with supportive women friends who are divorced and share similar experiences. As it unveils the issues that confront working-class Muslim women in societies now undergoing profound change, this film reveals that for Khadija the camera becomes a liberating force.
World View Award, IDFA
We Women Warriors
Friday, February 7 | 3:35 pm
84 min. | 2012
DIRECTOR Nicole Karsin
In Colombia’s war-torn indigenous villages, three brave women from distinct tribes use nonviolent resistance to defend their peoples’ survival. Warfare between the guerrillas, paramilitary groups and armed forces imperils Colombia’s 102 aboriginal groups, with many facing extinction because of the conflict. Trapped in a protracted predicament that is fueled by the drug trade, native women are resourcefully leading and creating transformation imbued with hope.
We Women Warriors bears witness to neglected human rights catastrophes and interweaves character-driven stories about female empowerment, unshakable courage and faith in the endurance of indigenous culture. >>> Film Website
Friday, February 7 | 6:00 pm
59 min. | 2012 | Why Poverty?
DIRECTORS: Hugo Berkeley & Osvalde Lewat-Hallade
As food prices rise, agribusiness has started to move into Africa in search of big profits and stable food supplies. Land Rush tells the story of a Malian farming community’s struggle to save itself from an onslaught of land-grabbing foreign agro-investors. From U.S. sugar cane growers to Chinese and Saudi Arabian producers, Mali is awash with foreign investors working hand-in-hand with the Malian government. Peasant leaders are determined to protect the rights of small-scale subsistence farmers who stand to lose out in these deals.
The documentary follows American sugar developer, Mima Nedelcovych’s Sosumar scheme – a $600 million partnership between the government of Mali to lease 200-square kilometres of prime agricultural land for a plantation and a factory. Many Malian peasants see this as yet another manifestation of imperialism. The scheme is highly controversial and a military coup changes everything. >>> Film Website
Friday, February 7 | 7:00 pm
11 min. | 2013 | Equitable Cambodia
A glimpse into the people’s lives who have been affected by the land concessions awarded to private sugar industry by the Cambodia government. The sugar industry, motivated by the EU Everything But Arms preferential trade scheme, has been one of the worst offenders in Cambodia’s land grabbing epidemic which has led to devastating human rights impacts.
Friday, February 7 | 7:20 pm
55 min. | 2013 | Northland Films
FILMMAKERS JT Haines, Tommy Haines, Andrew Sherbourne
Gold Fever witnesses the arrival of Vancouver-based Goldcorp, Inc. to a remote Guatemalan village. 500 years after the conquistadors invaded and still reeling from decades of US-backed repression, the Mayans of San Miguel Ixtahuacan find themselves on the front lines of an increasingly globalized world. Together with members of their divided community, and in the face of grave consequences, Diodora, Crisanta and Gregoria resist the threat to their ancestral lands. This hard-hitting film exposes the impacts of destructive transnational mining operations and how our Canadian Pension Plan investments are implicated. >>> Film Website
RIGOBERTA MENCHú GRAND PRIX, 2013 Montreal First Peoples Festival
Fire in the Blood
Friday, February 7 | 8:30 pm
60 min. | 2012 | Kinetic Video
DIRECTOR: Dylan Mohan Gray
NARRATOR: William Hurt
An intricate tale of “medicine, monopoly and malice,” Fire in the Blood shows how multinational pharmaceutical companies and Western governments aggressively blocked access to low-cost AIDS drugs for the countries of Africa and the global south, resulting in 10 million or more unnecessary deaths. a monumental change was brought about by a small group of people who decided to fight back against the unjust blockade.
Shot on four continents, Fire in the Blood is the untold story of the remarkable coalition that came together to stop “the corporate crime of the century,” saving millions of lives in the process. This struggle is by no means over; the real fight for access to life-saving medicine is just beginning. >>> Film Website
Honouring Residential School Survivors
Saturday, February 8 | 1:00 pm
12 min. | 2013 | Carswell Productions
DIRECTOR: Ed Carswell
Project Heart is the story of an extraordinary school event in Courtenay, BC. Teacher Susan Leslie leads a school-wide project and ceremony to honour Indian residential school survivors. Leslie organizes storytelling circles, art and inquiry projects, and encourages students to create ceremonial blankets. Verna Flanders shares her experiences as a survivor of St. Michael’s Residential School in Alert Bay, BC. Project Heart culminates with a moving school-wide Blanketing Ceremony to honour Verna and four other survivors. This film was inspired in part by Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation events.
Saturday, February 8 | 1:15pm
46 min. | 2013 | b4apres Media
FILMMAKERS: Nicolas Teichrob & Anthony Bonello
STAND is a surf and Stand-Up Paddleboard (SUP) film focused on the west coast of BC, and on what is at stake with the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline and tanker route. The film follows expedition stand-up paddler, Norm Hann, as he travels the length of Haida Gwaii, a group of Bella Bella students building their own wooden SUPs, and West Coast surfer, Raph Bruhwiler.
With a pipeline proposal, some people talk about what will be gained, but shouldn’t we be asking, ‘What do we stand to lose?’ This film is a hauntingly beautiful examination of the people and culture of the Great Bear Rainforest and the lives of those committed to defending its fragile ecosystems and fjords, one paddle stroke at a time. >>> Film Website
BEST FILM, Vancouver Festival of Ocean Films
Saturday, February 8 | 2:15 pm
85 min. | 2012 | NFB
DIRECTOR Paul Emile d’Entremont
Last Chance tells the compelling stories of five asylum seekers who flee their native countries of Jamaica, Colombia, Jordan, Egypt and Lebanon to escape homophobic violence. They face hurdles integrating into Canada, fear deportation and anxiously await decisions that will change their lives forever. The 1951 UN convention on refugees, signed by Canada, obliges us to the commitment we made that “we will not return someone to persecution”. How well are we living up to that obligation?
Martin Luther King in Palestine
Saturday, February 8 | 3:45 pm
96 min. | 2013 | Clarity Films
DIRECTOR: Connie Field
The glorious strains of gospel music wash over the West Bank in Connie Field’s powerful new film. As the Palestinian National Theater and an African-American choir mount a touring play about Martin Luther King Jr., an impassioned cultural exchange ensues, new friendships are forged and attitudes are altered.
This dynamic and complex work elegantly displays the timeless inspiration of Martin Luther King’s struggle for human rights. It is a cinematic wonder that dives into the heart of the non-violent Palestinian struggle for self-determination without polemics. Al Helm: Martin Luther King in Palestine is utterly unique. It shows artists meeting across worlds; it refracts the political situation through the lenses of theater. It weaves together threads of suffering and courage, political activism and artistic creation. It shows the power of art and is, in itself, a “must-see” work of art. >>> Film Website
Audience Award, Mill Valley Film Festival; Top 10 Audience Favourites, Vancouver International Film Festival
Saturday, February 8 | 7:00 pm
60 min. | 2012 | Why Poverty?
DIRECTORS: Mona Eldaief & Jehane Noujaim
Solar Mamas is a film about the heroic efforts of one woman as she overcomes significant difficulties to become a solar engineer. The film follows Rafea, the second wife of a Bedouin in Jordan, who wants a better life for herself and her children. The Barefoot College takes uneducated women from poor communities around the world and trains them to become solar engineers to create power and jobs in their communities. The film shows their lives on the campus and how learning about electrical components and soldering without being able to read, write, or understand English is the easy part. Harder to negotiate is the pressure from Rafea’s patriarchal, unemployed husband who demands that she return home.
Saturday, February 8 | 8:10 pm
84 min. | 2012 | lirofilms
DIRECTORS: Lisa & Rob Fruchtman
Sweet Dreams follows the story of Rwandan women empowering themselves, forming the first female drumming troupe and an ice cream business; both were previously unheard of in Rwanda. This film focuses upon the hopes and challenges of a post-conflict society.
A group of 60 women pound out rhythms of power in the drumming group, Ingoma Nshya (New Dreams). For the women (orphans, widows, wives and children of perpetrators and victims alike) the group has been a place to begin to live again, to build new relationships and to heal the wounds of the past. The drumming, singing and dancing are pure joy; yet the struggle to survive and provide for their families still persists.
The group decides to partner with two young American entrepreneurs from Brooklyn’s Blue Marble Ice Cream to open Rwanda’s first ever ice cream shop. With this decision, these remarkable Rwandan women embark on a journey of independence, peace and possibility. Sweet Dreams interweaves intimate, difficult stories from the past with joyous and powerful music to present a moving portrait of a country in transition. Filmmaker, Lisa Fruchtman: “The film is about healing through art and enterprise.” >>> Film Website
Best Documentary, Festival de Cine Mujer DOC; Audience Award, IDFA