Film is such a powerful medium with which to communicate a message or raise awareness about an issue or problem. Subtle details and nuances can prove to be highly provocative statements, and allegorical films can be powerful critiques against a given regime or system. Attending a film festival such as the Vancouver International Women in Film Festival is activism in itself–it is only one of three festivals in Canada dedicated to films made by women. As has been discussed on this blog before, the gender disparities in the Canadian film in television are still a huge issue, with Canadian women fare behind their male counterparts in both annual earnings and opportunities, period. Supporting festivals such as ours is therefore especially important if you care about missing voices, overlooked stories, and challenging the status quo. If you’re an activist or a free thinker, these films should be at the top of your watchlist.
El Regreso (The Return)by Patricia Ortega is a narrative fiction that explores the tragic and true events of April 16, 2004 in the Wayuu community of Bahía Portete, at the Colombian Guajira, a territory split between Colombia and Venezuela. Given that it focuses on this painfully recent history, it is no doubt one of the most powerful films of the festival. Ortega will be present following the film for a panel discussion. The story is told from the perspective of Shuliwala (Daniela González), a 10-year-old girl who is forced to flee her home for an unknown city. The film is a bold contribution to the fight against racism while portraying little-known images of the Wayuu indigenous community. By focusing on a specific ethnic group, Ortega proposes a universal approach that vindicates the struggle for the rights of indigenous people.
The festival feature El Regreso / the Return is an opportunity to experience a heart-wrenching, beautifully lensed film made in Venezuela.
Apart from the obvious cinematic qualities of the film, including the excellent direction of lay child actors by debut filmmaker Patricia Ortega, the VIWIFF selection committee was particularly struck by the true events behind the story, Continue reading →
***Update: The 10th Annual Vancouver Women in Film Festival (#VIWIFF2015) is please to offer an encore screening of All the Time in The World on Sunday, March 8, 2015 at 3 PM. This screening is open to audiences of all ages. The feature documentary is preceded by three shorts, of which two are local: Michelle Kee’s Mattress and Arwen Hunter’s Vie.***
“I always envisioned myself as being one of those moms who would have fresh baked cookies and a glass of milk ready for their kids when they walked in the door after school,” says filmmaker Suzanne Crocker in the opening scene of her new doc All The Time In The World, as she pulls a canoe jam-packed with supplies up a rocky Canadian river. But she always felt there wasn’t enough time for the things that really counted.
Boneshaker, a short by Frances Bodomo caught the eye of our Festival Committee for its stunning cinematography and unique story–there’s nothing else quite like this film in the festival. Quvenzhané Wallis (star of Beasts of the Southern Wild and the upcoming adaptation of Annie co-starring Jamie Foxx) adds star power to a superbly crafted story. Here are a few other interesting facts about this film:
Our “Spotlight on Students” series focuses on movies that might appeal to students (of all ages, and who are currently attending college/university or not) of certain specialties. Whether you want to get extra credit on a paper by referring to one of the films below, or if you want to see the film and spread the word to your peers (sounding extra cultured and sophisticated, of course), you can’t go wrong with these picks.
Movies for Political Science & International Relations
This exceptionally well-crafted documentary by Lisa Jackson focuses on the forced relocation of the Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw Nations. The documentary delves into the most recent 100 years of history of these Nations, to their forced relocation in 1964, to present. Personal interviews, recollections, and archival footage provide an important reminder that we are not in fact in a post-colonial world, and offer a fresh perspective on histories deadened by Canadian high school textbooks. A timely, must-see for those interested in the Idle No More movements, and those who need to be shaken from the idea that Canada is a highly peaceful and tolerant nation state.
–Focus on Women 2013 report prepared by Dr. Amanda Coles
This year’s Focus on Women 2013 report prepared by Dr. Amanda Coles for Canadian Unions for Equality on Screen (CUES) had sober findings examining gender inequality in the Canadian independent screen-based production industry.
The quote above was emphasized in the report as stunningly few women in this Canadian industry advance up into key creative and decision making positions at the same rates at which men do. With few role models and seemingly fewer opportunities for women as the statistics in the report suggest, it is easy to see how prospective female employees cannot envision a rewarding future in this industry.The report noted,
“A gender balance of men and women within departments is more prevalent in entry level positions, such as Production Assistants and Camera Trainees. Yet as with other occupations and industries, the gender split within departments sharply favours men who progress up decision making levels, and income brackets, at much higher rates then women.This is particularly evident in some of the key creative positions that define Canadian content.”