Tag Archives: doxa

DOXA Delivers: Anticipating the 2013 Program

I’ve been lucky enough to be in Vancouver during the DOXA International Documentary festival the last three years and have seen some really amazing and inspiring stories brought to the screen.
Last year I participated in the Kris Anderson Connexions Youth Forum and had a full festival pass and got so many great workshops with female mentors and started my Flyryroo 2012 project.
This year the Forum is not running but I’m still going to splurge on a few tickets as it only comes once a year! The festival runs May 3 – May 12. Make time.
Here’s my list of films that tickle my fancy and hopefully yours as well. (Taken from the DOXA festival website)

Click on the titles for links to the film’s page on the DOXA program website for a full synopsis and trailer.

Lost Rivers

Looks like a eerie and beautiful film about sewers and underwater passageways that have been rediscovered and explored by people called “drainers”.

lost_rivers1_aeFree the Mind

About brain training… the neurological effects of meditation and brain exercises are studied on two veterans with PTSD and a preschooler diagnosed with ADHD.

Rent a Family Inc.

Super excited for this one: A character documentary about a man who acts for a living in real life stories. He is often hired to walk brides down the aisle and meet in-laws, but his own family seems rather indifferent to his existence.

The Manor

I hope it’s not like Pawn Stars, but I always like a good family drama. Two brother’s daily struggles as they try to run the family strip club they inherited from their father… who is still trying to be involved from the backseat.


Taxidermy, egyptians, funny cats… how can you go wrong? A doc that follows human’s attachment to their pets.

The Great Hip Hop Hoax

Two boys from Scotland (oh motherland) pull an elaborate prank on an American Hip Hop team by pretending to be two Californian skater boys called Silibil n’ Brains. Not sure what to expect, but DOXA is doing two screenings so that nobody misses it.

The Mosuo Sisters

Two girls from rural China arrive in Hong Kong to be absolutely overwhelmed by urban life. For example, they think that skyscrapers are individual houses. They try to make a life but it might not be what they had wanted.

The Mechanical Bride

I have always been fascinated with sex dolls. This film not only goes into the current story about sex dolls in society, but also delves into what sex might become (and is becoming) in the future.


The scourge that invades our schools, our relationships, our jobs, our lives. What is boredom and how does it effect us and our children? Focusing on the educational system and the implications for society.


Rose Colored Glasses

Watch the trailer on this one and you will have to go to the theatre to see it. Sonia Suvagau is an SFU film grad from Vancouver and this is her debut feature. A character piece (I love character pieces) about a life-long eccentric who runs a gallery called the Pink Prison and takes on different personalities such as Pink Hitler. I want to know what’s up with this guy.



Oxycontin and Oceana. Appalachian fatalism. I’m not a big fan of drug documentaries but this is about how pill-popping has been spread through generations of families in Oceana and observes the lives of those who live in a city so drugged up it’s name has changed.


Father Figures

I am most looking forward to this film above all. The filmmaker watches as her 70 year-old father marries a 23 year-old Philippina named Girlie. They have some strange symbiotic relationship but Gillian Hrankowski knows what lies are being told to make it work. Does she intervene and potentially hurt her father and ruin Girlie’s life?





Leave a comment and let me know which films you’ll be checking out!

Big Boys Gone Bananas

This is an old blog I wrote in May 2012 for the DOXA Connexions program. Big Boys Gone Bananas is a documentary follow-up to the film Bananas!* detailing the legal battle the filmmaker Fredrik Gertten with Dole. The film is a Coproduction between Sweden and Canada. Read on!

The tagline for the screening at the Pacific Cinematheque: Fredrik Gertten says film is about freedom of speech and the right of the “little person” to take a bite of JUSTICE out of the big boys.

Talk after the screening with Randy Hooper, a Fair Trade activist with Discovery Organics

Big Boys Gone Bananas is the story of Fredrik Gertten and his production team in Sweden and their battle against DOLE fruit company after the release of their first documentary BANANAS!* depicting the mistreatment and abuse of Nicaraguan banana plantation workers. The fruity giant came after Gertten before the world premiere of his film at the Los Angeles Film Festival, and proactively came after the filmmaker and began to spread falsities about his filmmaking practices and his documentary subjects in the film BANANAS!* before even seeing it.

The film does not use the opportunity as a way of making Fredrik Gertten a superhero, and BANANAS!*, the victim of corporations and the media. Instead, it follows the legal processes and investigates the ways in which mainstream media and government can be controlled by corporations as a way of educating the public. The story of Gertten and BANANAS!* is to show how this seemingly impossible force can be beaten, and is shown as a source of inspiration for others hoping to achieve similar goals that involve overcoming big industry and big money through grassroots and bottom-up efforts and storytelling.

The film calls out against PR firms, news media, and even professionals that have been brought over to the “dark side” by putting their name on an opinion piece written by a PR company, paid for by a client such as DOLE.

There is a call for support for independent storytellers, such as bloggers who can have a large role in influencing public opinion like the Swedish blogger who called for a DOLE boycott.

However at the end of the film, there were some issues that I still couldn’t find solutions for within the film itself. I don’t mean to say that a film is supposed to give the answer to the problem it exposes, but these are general questions I would like to see more discussion on as the film has screened as a part of the Justice Forum.

First of all, the success of Gertten against DOLE would not have been possible without the Swedish government. The Swedish government is much more centralized that the Canadian government, and is already suspicious of American neocolonialist tactics and reacts by being very protective of it’s own economy and industries. Without the support of the Swedish government, the lawsuit would not have been dropped. Do you have any ideas on how one might fight successfully against large corporations in a country like the US and Canada, or any idea on how the fight  would have played out in North America instead of Sweden?

I asked this question to Fredrik during the Q&A after the screening. His answer was that nothing is impossible, even in Canada. He directed that we support storytellers, challenge government, and break the isolation of these storytellers created by the media (that is being influenced by the corporations). He also called for journalists to be more active in questioning their sources, and for the public to support them.

Ii found the answer to be a little vague, but of course I don’t expect him to be familiar with how difficult it is to make progress in activism in a city such as Vancouver. Perhaps I am a pessimist, but I think it would take three Fredrik Gertten’s to have a chance at making the Canadian government take a direct stand against DOLE.

Lastly, the Justice forum is sponsored by CUPE BC, a worker’s union that I myself am a member of. The film was introduced by a Union Representative (I apologize for not remembering his name) and it brought up the interesting idea of increasing collaboration between independent filmmakers and unions. From audience suggestions during the Q&A, it was clear that both are invested in rights and quality of life rather than money. Why should there not be more funding for projects such a BANANAS!* from local unions?

P.S. If you are interested in taking action against DOLE, start by buying “FAIR TRADE” bananas. Also, take a look at the 10% shift program being pushed by CUPE BC. The program takes 10% of the money you spend, and reinvests it into local businesses such as grocers and markets, giving them more buying power and ability to compete with chain supermarkets locked into contracts with corporations such as DOLE.


The Original Post

Interactive Storytelling and Bear 71

Over the last year or two, Interactive Documentaries and Films have been discovered as a new and exciting way of telling stories. With the levels of interaction varying between complete user control to a slideshow, interactive films are an interesting way of telling stories in a non-linear way.
The NFB’s website has many interactive films that I recommend you check out, but I suggest you start with this documentary that premiered at DOXA 2012 with a live performance and installation to add appeal to the festival crowd. I wrote a blog on the experience when I was participating in the Kris Anderson Youth Connexions forum which you can check out as well. FYI, the total Bear 71 experience is about 40 minutes.

Bear 71

The NFB’s Interactive Film ListImage