Dynamic Documentaries

Angry Inuk film director Alethea Arnaquq-Baril. Photo: Althea Arnaquq-Baril ®2016 National Film Board of Canada and Unikkaat Studios Inc.

The Link, Winter Solstice 2016
| by Joanne Culley |

The ReFrame Peterborough International Film Festival is entering its 13th year bringing important, dynamic documentaries from around the world to the Peterborough area. The Festival takes place from Friday, January 27 to Sunday, January 29 and showcases films that raise awareness of issues relating to social justice, the environment, LGBTQ/sexuality, the arts, indigenous affairs, technology, science and more.

Krista English, Executive Director, said this year there will be several films about the Inuit – First Peoples of Canada. The feature-length film Angry Inuk by Alethea Arnaquq-Baril looks at the seal hunt from the Inuit point of view and Circus Without Borders by Susan Gray documents how the circus brings hope to Inuit youth in the Canadian Arctic.

“There’s a huge buzz downtown…at such a cold and dark time of year it’s a nice experience to look forward to.”

“We’re presenting many wonderful Canadian films this year, such as Ali Kazimi’s Random Acts of Legacy about a Chinese-American family that received a special jury mention for Best Canadian Documentary at Hot Docs 2016,” said English.

This year’s Festival will also have several films by local filmmakers, including Meaghan Murphy’s documentary, Moving Towns, about the closing of the Towns family’s general store in Douro, a fixture in the community for generations. Oshkigmong: A Place Where I Belong tells the story of the Michi Saagiig (Mississaugas) of the Curve Lake First Nation.

The filmmaker panels and post-film discussions are both popular each year. “Many of the films raise issues on important topics and audience members are often left with questions about what they can do or how they can get involved,” English said. “The question and answer period and post film discussions, often involving the filmmaker, the subject of the film or local experts, is an opportunity to probe the issues more deeply.”

English said that the Festival is truly a community event and continues to thrive thanks to the strong support of approximately 160 sponsors, including foundations, government funders and community groups.

“Community groups such as the Peterborough Field Naturalists might sponsor a film on an environmental subject, or the Kawartha World Issues Centre might sponsor a documentary with an international theme,” she said. “A representative from the group is given the opportunity to help introduce the film and provide a local context related to the subject.”

As one of the original founders in 2004, English has seen the Festival grow and evolve over the years. She says she is “blown away” by how people have embraced the Festival, with the result that it is now often sold out.

“People tell me they invite their out-of-town friends to come for a visit that weekend when they spend time together seeing the films and going out to dinner,” she said. “There’s a huge buzz downtown, with everyone walking around or hustling to get to the next film. They tell me that at such a cold and dark time of year it’s a nice experience to look forward to.”

The films are screened in downtown Peterborough at Showplace Performance Centre, Market Hall and The Venue from Friday, January 27 to Sunday, January 29.

Local food vendors set up shop in the lower level of Showplace so that filmgoers can grab a bite to eat between films.
New this year, a Festival day pass will get you access to all films scheduled before 7:30 pm at a cost of $30 for adults and $20 for students/unwaged. To help with congestion, evening feature films will have separate tickets for each film, at a cost of $10 with a Festival day pass, or $15 without. Rush seats for daytime films are $10.

For further information or to buy tickets, visit www.reframefilmfestival.ca, call 705-745-3238 (x 400), or visit Green Up at 378 Aylmer St. in Peterborough or Happenstance Books and Yarns at 44 Queen St. in Lakefield. You can also follow the Festival on Facebook or Twitter.

The Link, Joanne CulleyJoanne Culley is an award-winning writer and documentary producer whose work has appeared in The Globe and Mail, Peterborough Examiner, Our Canada and Kawartha Cottage magazines. Her book Love in the Air: Second World War Letters was released in 2015.