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WIFF 2013 lineup announcement

10:48 am in Festival News, News Release

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 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.

Wakefield Film Fest to Close with Local Premiere Screening of Payback

9:49 am in Industry News

\"PaybackThe Canadian media and film industry are buzzing with the release of Jennifer Baichwal\’s Payback, a filmic rumination on the visionary book of essays about systems of wealth, justice and reparation by Margaret Atwood. The film, which premiered in the World Cinema Competition at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival and took a cinematography prize there, will receive its local premiere as the closing presentation of the Wakefield International Film Festival (WIFF), this Sunday April 1st, at 5:30pm.

Read more: Wakefield Film Fest to Close with Local Premiere Screening of Payback

EURUS Panel to Discuss Russian Situation After Screening of Putin\’s Kiss

10:14 am in Industry News


The timing couldn\’t have been better for this one. With the Russian election a little more than a week away and protests in that country being (somewhat) tolerated, the Wakefield International Film Festival has hit the mark with its programming of the film, Putin\’s Kiss, on deck this coming Sunday, February 26th at 5:30pm.

Putin\’s Kiss, from Danish director Lise Birk Pedersen, concerns an ambitious young woman heavily involved with a Putin-supportive youth group. She begins to have doubts when her unlikely friend, a journalist critical of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, is attacked by \”unknown perpetrators.\”

Are we witnessing a \’Russian Spring\’? It\’s very difficult to make out from here. So we\’ve invited a panel from Carleton University\’s Institute of European, Russian and Eurasian Studies to speak to the current Russian situation. Faculty members Jeff Sahadeo and Peter Konecny, along with graduate students Olga Shapovalova and Mikhail Zherebtsov, will join us following the film. A reception will follow.

Wakefield International Film Festival takes place this year at the Community Centre of Wakefield LaPêche, 38 Valley Rd., Wakefield, QC. It continues on successive Sunday evenings until April 1st. More info about the festival, including online ticket sales, can be found at .

Algonquin Shorts Program Announced for Wakefield International Film Festival

10:06 am in Industry News

Wakefield International Film Festival (WIFF) organizers are pleased to announce the choices for the Algonquin Shorts Program for the 2012 Festival.

Each year, WIFF accepts short film entries from the students in the Certificate Program in Documentary Production at Algonquin College. A few are chosen to be shown before feature presentations at WIFF, giving those students the unforgettable experience of seeing their films shown before a live audience at a film festival. As in years past, making the choices for the 2012 lineup was a difficult task.

Here are the Algonquin Shorts for WIFF 2012, along with the dates of their showing:

  1. Read the rest of this entry →

Money, Power and the Road Less Taken – Wakefield International Film Festival Hits all the Right Notes, Feb 19 – Apr 1

11:19 am in Festival News, Festivals in the News

Melanie – Ottawa Start

(Wakefield, QC) Organizers of the Wakefield International Film Festival (WIFF) are pleased to announce yet another stellar program of the best in current documentary film. Beginning Sunday, February 19th and playing every Sunday until the finale on April 1st, the Festival offers its patrons current feature documentaries of the highest order – this year in the brand new Great Hall at the Wakefield LaPêche Community Centre.

Perhaps more than any other narrative form, the documentary film reflects the world and its concerns. This is starkly evident in the WIFF 2012 program selection chosen by Artistic Director Robert Rooney. In these strange times of increasingly disparate factions, as we humans struggle to find footing and justice – economically, politically and environmentally – doc makers sift through and reveal what we\’re facing.

From the power games of Putin\’s Russia to the bald-faced aggression of Donald Trump’s extreme wealth; from the battle to get an electric car on the road to Margaret Atwood\’s examination of systems of wealth, justice and reparation, the films in the 2012 WIFF lineup are a brilliant mirror of where we are today. Also included in the lineup, appropriately, is the life story of a man who has always acted according to his conscience, Harry Belafonte, and two stories of artists living on the road less taken – always a vital role.

To read full story: Money, Power and the Road Less Taken – Wakefield International Film Festival Hits all the Right Notes, Feb 19 – Apr 1

2011 Wakefield International Film Festival Line-up

9:35 am in Community News, Industry News, Ottawa News

2011 Wakefield International Film Festival Line-up
Continues Cut-Above Tone of Inaugural Year.

Last year, the Wakefield International Film Festival (WIFF) knocked our socks off with an inspired program of current, first-class documentary films. The sophomore line-up for WIFF 2011, just announced by the festival’s artistic director, Robert Rooney, proves that was no flash in the pan.

Despite its modest locale in the picturesque village of Wakefield, Quebec, WIFF\’s mandate is to offer cutting-edge, award-winning and contemporary international documentary film, to challenge and edify us, and promote conversation and debate.

This year’s films, to be shown on six successive Sundays from February 6th to March 13th at Café Molo in Wakefield – and with the final seventh presentation at The Black Sheep Inn on Friday, March 18th – again present an impressive gamut of theme and tone.
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