Vancouver’s DOXA Documentary Film Festival begins this Friday, May 3, and runs through Sunday, May 12. The 12th annual festival presents more than sixty documentary features, in addition to shorts, panels, and special events. Intended to explore the elasticity of nonfiction, the fest aims to expose local audiences to innovative Canadian and international docs. DOXA opens with Canadian doc OCCUPY THE MOVIE, Corey Ogilvie’s overview of the history of the popular movement, which began in Vancouver; presents a “midweek special” centerpiece screening of Ben Lewis’ Sundance-premiering GOOGLE AND THE WORLD BRAIN; and closes with Ryan White’s SXSW alum GOOD OL’ FREDA. Selections from the rest of the lineup follow:
Ten titles participate in the festival’s Justice Forum, a section of social justice issue films and corresponding dialogues around the issues they present. Among these are Phie Ambo’s FREE THE MIND, an exploration of new modes of neuroscience and mindfulness training that can relieve trauma; Andreas M Dalsgaard’s THE HUMAN SCALE, about the need for people-focused, not car-centric, city planning; Nima Sarvestani’s NO BURQAS BEHIND BARS (pictured), a look at Afghani women imprisoned for “moral crimes”; and Hans Petter Moland’s WHEN BUBBLES BURST, a comprehensive overview of the global financial crisis.
Spotlight on the Future: Looking Forward is a special sidebar taking a wide-ranging view of the world to come. Included here are: Mike Freedman’s CRITICAL MASS, a consideration of the potential for the end of human society due to overpopulation; Bram Conjaerts’ THE CIRCLE, about the small village that lies on top of the Large Hadron Collider; and Saeed Taji Farouky’s world premiere, THERE WILL BE SOME WHO WILL NOT FEAR EVEN THAT VOID (pictured), a hybrid essay about the Arctic.
DOXA shows a commitment to younger audiences with initiatives geared to youth, including a new Youth Programming award determined by a youth jury, and Rated Y for Youth, a sidebar of age-appropriate films and discussions. Among the latter: Liz Marshall’s THE GHOSTS IN OUR MACHINE (pictured), a consideration of humans’ relationship to animals via the work of an impassioned documentary photographer; and Jeanie Finlay’s THE GREAT HIP HOP HOAX, about two young Scots who faked their way to music success by assuming American alter egos.
Beyond these focus areas, the festival showcases dozens of new and recent work. Among its Canadian offerings are: Gillian Hrankowski and April Butler’s FATHER FIGURES, Butler’s raw and personal reaction to her father’s taking up with a Filipina five decades his junior; Shawney Cohen’s THE MANOR, about the filmmaker’s family strip club business; Nadine Gomez’s THE HORSE PALACE, a look at the impact of gentrification on Montreal’s oldest stable; Sonia Suvagau’s ROSE COLORED GLASSES, a portrait of eccentric art dealer Nicholas Treadwell; and Albert Nerenberg’s BOREDOM (pictured), an exploration into the nature of his titular subject.
International titles in the remaining lineup include: Pavel Abrahám’s TWO NIL (pictured), an observation of the audience’s panoply of bad behavior at a soccer game; Bettina Renner’s BURY MY HEART IN DRESDEN, a history of a Sioux man who took part in Wild West shows in Europe around the turn of the century; Daniele Incalcaterra and Fausta Quattrini’s EL IMPENETRABLE, about Incalcaterra’s efforts to return inherited frontier land to its indigenous people; Arman Yeritsyan and Vardan Hovhannisyan’s DONKEYMENTARY, a look at a small Kenyan island where donkeys are of great importance; Tomasz Wolski’s THE PALACE, an immersive portrait of Warsaw’s multi-use Palace of Culture and Science; Stefano Sardo’s SLOW FOOD STORY, tracing the history of the global anti-fast-food movement; Ben Kalina’s SHORED UP, a prescient examination of sea level rise; Sean Dunne’s Tribeca-winning OXYANA, exploring prescription pill addiction which has decimated a small West Virginian community; Wendy Roderweiss’ STOPPING FOR DEATH: THE NURSES OF WELLS HOUSE HOSPICE, a sensitive portrait of life and death at a Californian hospice; and Jeffrey Schwarz’s I AM DIVINE, a loving tribute to John Waters’ iconic, outrageous muse.