Thursday, January 29, 2009

ReFrame 2009: Showplace recap

Showplace was my place for this year's ReFrame: Peterborough International Film Festival. This is the 5th year for the festival but the first time on with a new name in an effort to shorten the former name, "Traveling World Community Film Festival Peterborough," and to distinguish itself from the model that a festival by the same name in Courtney, B.C. provided.

This year, the new program was made from scratch but keeps it activist and issue based as in previous years.

The festival was a great way to see new work by established artists on the big screen and with an audience. Veteran documentary filmmakers like Alanis Obomsawin (Gene Boy Come Home, 2007), Robert Lang (Return to Nepal with Bruce Cockburn, 2008), Nettie Wild (Bevel Up, 2007), Mark Achbar (Blue Gold, 2008) and Nick Broomfield (Ghosts, 2006) represented.

The personal documentaries stood out for me, with a couple big highlights: Searching 4 Sandeep and She's a Boy I Knew. Both films are very emotional works that is at one end of the spectrum of films shown at Showplace - hand-held and personal. The other end is the orderly and journalistic side of documentaries that can only sometimes work on a cerebral level but it can work really well like Addicted to Plastic, Taking Root and Blue Gold.

Out of all the features, I'm almost surprised to say my favorite would have to be Garbage Warrior - a portrait documentary that successfully mashes both personal and journalistic but unfortunately suffers from a misleading title. A title like Garbage Architect would have hit the nail on the head.

It's always interesting to hear filmmakers speak and answer questions after the screening of their films. It extends the experience and makes the issues they raise that much more real. Filmmakers like Ian Connacher, Tracey Deer, Robert Lang, and Bay Weyman appeared on stage to take questions.

Programing the festival was handled by a committee and was directed by Krista English. The flow of the films made sense and performers from live spoken word artists, singers, drummers were there to get the audience in the mood and, with helpful introductions from ReFrame staff and volunteers before each film, the audience knew how to receive the film they were about to see.

Here is a list of the all the films I saw...

Gene Boy Come Home (2007, dir. Alais Obomsawin)
Breaking Ranks (2006, dir. Michelle Mason)
Do Not Go Gently (2007, dir. Melissa Godoy)
Searching for Sandeep (2007, dir. Poppy Stockell)
Deb-we-win Ge-kend-am-aan - Our Place in the Circle (2008, dir. Lorne Olson)
Road to Baleya (2008, dir. Bay Weyman)
Flowers for Rwanda (2008, dir. David Munoz),
Taking Root: The Vision of Wangara Maathai (2008, dir. Lisa Merton and Alan Dater)

She's a Boy I knew (2007, dir. Gwen Haworth)
Addicted to Plastic (2008, dir. Ian Connacher)
Club Native (2008, dir. Tracey Deer)
Return to Nepal (2008, dir. Robert Lang)
Ghosts (2006, dir. Nick Broomfield)

Warrior Boyz (2008, dir. Baljit Sangra)
Bevel Up (2007, dir. Nettie Wild)
Blue Gold: World Water Wars (2008, dir. Sam Bozzo)
Twelve (2008, dir. Lester Alfonso)
Garbage Warrior (2008, dir. Oliver Hodge)

No comments: