Last minute plans for panels and director visits are being finalized, but Wakefield International Film Festival (WIFF) organisers today announce the line-up for the 2013 Festival. It begins 10 February and runs every Sunday until 24 March at the Wakefield LaPêche Community Centre. Now in its fourth year, WIFF offers a selection of the very best of current documentary films and has enjoyed very healthy audience growth over that time.
“There is a real thirst for documentary form,” says WIFF Artistic Director Robert Rooney, “We’re inundated with information, but most of the time it’s out of context. We face issues that require deeper examination. The documentary form allows space to view a subject in a substantial way.”
This year’s WIFF offerings show a remarkable selection of the kind of subject matter that documentary is able to address. From property rights in the West Bank to housing on First Nations’ reserves; from the challenges facing a Bedouin woman to art and activism in contemporary China; from Canadian mining to a green economy alternative in rural New Zealand and finally to the particular intense juncture of forces a woman faces in present-day India, these are stories from all around the globe that resonate wherever you might live.
10 February – 5 Broken Cameras (Palestine|Israel|France|Netherlands, 2011)
Hebrew & Arabic w English subtitles; dir Emad Burnat & Guy Davidi
Palestinian farmer Emad Burnat got his first camera to record the birth of his son, but instead followed the violent destruction of each of five cameras, witnessing years of village turmoil at the encroachment of Israeli settlement. A unique partnership of Palestinian and Israeli co-directors made this remarkable film. Nominated for an Oscar©, Winner at Sundance 2012; Special prize at Int’l Documentary Festival Amsterdam (IDFA). PANEL DISCUSSION TO FOLLOW THE SHOW
17 February – The People of the Kattawapiskak River (Canada, 2012)
English; dir Alanis Obomsawin
Hunger striker Chief Theresa Spence first made headlines when she declared a state of emergency due to living conditions in her community of Attawapiskat. Abenaki filmmaker Alanis Obomsawin takes us there, letting the people speak for themselves. This is the full-length version of the film, which includes the court case won by Spence against the federal government. Q & A WITH DIRECTOR ALANIS OBOMSAWIN AFTER THE SHOW
24 February – Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry (USA, 2012)
English and Mandarin w English subtitles; dir Alison Klayman
Dissident artist Ai Weiwei is China’s most outspoken domestic critic. Fearlessly, he blurs the boundaries of art and politics, and has been beaten, had his studio bulldozed, and has been arrested and detained for his efforts. But he will not desist. Special Jury Prize at Sundance 2012; Must-See Award, Tellerude Film Festival; Opening Film, HotDocs 2012.
3 March – The World Before Her (Canada, 2012)
English and Hindi w English subtitles; dir Nisha Pahuja
India is at a unique sociopolitical moment as it moves from traditional roots to global powerhouse. This provocative film presents two ‘boot camps,’ one a month-long, controversial “Miss India” training regimen, and the other an extreme training of young girls in militant Hindu fundamentalism, where they learn how to fight Muslim, Christian and Western influences. Best Documentary, Tribeca 2012; Best Canadian Feature, HotDocs 2012. PANEL DISCUSSION TO FOLLOW THE SHOW
10 March – The Hole Story (Canada, 2011)
English; dir Richard Desjardins & Robert Monderie
Richard Desjardins and co-director Robert Monderie have created here an intense exploration of the mining industry in Canada. Desjardins, also a renowned Québecois folk singer and poet, first teamed up with Monderie for Forest Alert (1999) which triggered passionate debate. We suspect this may happen again with this offering, which exposes the dark side of an industry which has notable disregard for human and environmental health, and which takes its astronomical profits outside Canada – all the while paying little tax and leaving behind a financial burden.
17 March – Song of the Kauri (New Zealand, 2012)
English; dir Mathurin Molgat
The Kauri, a majestic native New Zealand tree, was almost wiped out by early settlers and bad government policy. Now, luthier Laurie Williams is one of a select few who works with this rare timber, building highly regarded instruments of international import. Can Kauri become currency in the new world of green economics? Song of the Kauri is an exploration of perspectives and tensions surrounding this very question. PANEL DISCUSSION TO FOLLOW THE SHOW
24 March – Rafea: Solar Mama (USA|Denmark|Egypt, 2012)
English and Arabic w English subtitles, dir Jehane Noujaim & Mona Eldaief
Rafea, a poor Bedouin woman from the Jordanian desert, is given a chance to travel to the Barefoot College in India, where, in six months training, women are taught to be solar engineers. Success in this means she will be able to electrify her village and support her daughters, but when she returns as the first female solar engineer in her country, her real challenge has just begun. Will she be able to train other women? And will she be able to buck her highly patriarchal Bedouin society? Winner, Special Jury Prize, DocNYC Festival.
WIFF passes are $60 (7 tickets for the price of 6) and are available at Jamboree and Wakefield Express in Wakefield village or online at www.wakefieldfilmfestival.ca. Single tickets ($10) are available online or at the door the night of the show.
Wakefield International Film Festival runs on successive Sundays from 10 February to 24 March in The Great Hall at the Wakefield LaPêche Community Centre, 38 Valley Drive, Wakefield. Showtime is 5:30pm.