Doc Highlights at Kingston Canadian Film Festival’s Virtual Event
The largest festival devoted exclusively to Canadian films kicks off this week with a robust field of CanCon. The Kingston Canadian Film Festival runs in a virtual edition from February 26 to March 7, featuring highlights from the festival circuit with an emphasis on homegrown fare. The dramatic front includes a number of must-sees, like Kazik Radwanski’s Anne at 13,000 ft, Tracey Deer’s Beans, and Pascal Plante’s Nadia, Butterfly, but with any Canadian showcase, the best films are inevitably the documentaries. (We plead bias.)
Here is a rundown of the feature documentary highlights at the 2021 virtual Kingston Canadian Film Festival.
*A note on film times: start dates, end dates, and geographical availability vary by title. The dates and times listed below indicate the festival’s “premiere” screening. This marks the time of a screening followed by a director Q&A. See individual film pages for exact availability.
For the Activists: No Visible Trauma
Sunday, February 28 at 3:00 pm
POV is proud to present the KCFF screening of this provocative doc from Marc Serpa Francoeur and Robinder Uppal. No Visible Trauma is a timely exposé on police brutality within the ranks of the Calgary force. “It’s not just isolated to George Floyd and it’s not just isolated to the States,” said Robinder Uppal in Marc Glassman’s interview with the directors . “We absolutely have these problems in Canada. And I’ll point out that people criticize the U.S. for not having a federal body keeping track of the number of people killed by police. Guess what Canada’s situation is? There’s no federal body keeping track of the number of people being killed by police here either.” Want to see No Visible Trauma at KCFF? Email firstname.lastname@example.org for a free code while they’re still available! (Ontario residents only, please.)
For the Poets at Heart: Call Me Human
Wednesday, March 3 at 6:00 pm
This multi-award winning doc by Kim O’Bomsawin was an under-the-radar festival favourite last fall. Call Me Human is an intimate portrait of Innu word artist Joséphine Bacon, who reflects upon the land, culture, and history that inspires her beloved poetry. “The 74-year-old [Bacomn] is a captivating subject with an enchanting sense of peace about her,” wrote Madeline Lines while reviewing Call Me Human. “She is wise and forward-looking, focused on preserving the stories of her elders for the next generation.”
For those tired of working from home: Workhorse
Wednesday, March 3 at 8:00 pm
Being stuck behind a laptop at home for 12 months can get pretty tedious, but doc fans looking to work outdoors might find some release in the nostalgic Workhorse from Cliff Caines. “The film’s relaxed pace and sedate methodology let the power of the images linger,” said Pat Mullen while reviewing Workhorse . “This is hard work that Caines captures…Drawing upon the awesome and imposing power of horses and their magnetic rapport with their caretakers, Workhorse wistfully eulogizes a fading way of life.”
For the Environmentally Friendly: The Magnitude of All Things
Saturday, February 27 at 3:00 pm
A unique and fascinating spin on the environmental doc comes in Jennifer Abbott’s deeply personal The Magnitude of All Things. Abbott uses her pain following the loss of her sister as a springboard to consider the feeling that aches her soul. “The Magnitude of All Things witnesses far corners of the world coping and adapting in the face of devastating losses—but also many people fighting for the world’s future,” wrote Pat Mullen while reviewing the film . “The doc navigates the space between anger and hope to emerge with a deeper sense of serenity. It’s as poignant as it is provocative.”
For the Kids in the Hall: Mouth Congress
Friday, March 5 at 8:00 pm
Deferring its world premiered at KCFF after COVID quashed plans for its big night last year, Mouth Congress picks up where 2020 left off. KCFF delivers its top premiere with Mouth Congress from Scott Thompson and Paul Bellini of Kids in the Hall fame. The film makes its world premiere at KCFF, so Kingston audiences are the first to get a taste of this tale of fame and fandom. The doc tells the story of the gay punk band Mouth Congress, fronted by Bellini and Thompson, which didn’t take off quite as famously as _The Kids in the Hal_l did. Both Bellini and Thompson will attend the festival, along with producers Dan Galea, Josh Levy, and Dan Tahmizian.
For the Urban Gardeners: First We Eat
Friday, February 26 at 3:00 pm
Festival favourite Suzanne Crocker follows All the Time in the World with another family project. This time, she subjects the kinds to a year-long experiment of eating locally for one year. “This is an extremely well-crafted documentary,” wrote Susan Cole back at Hot Docs . “It’s gorgeously shot, showing spectacular detail in nature as the seasons turn, and the narrative is packed with tension as we wait to see whether this family will get through the year eating only what’s grown, hunted and gathered hyper-locally.”
For the Kid at Heart: The Paper Man
Monday, March 1 at 6:00 pm
Fans of docs like Won’t You Be My Neighbor? will just love The Paper Man. The film gives beloved Quebecois artist and children’s TV personality Claude Lafortune his due in this sweetly handcrafted film that offers an up-close portrait of his delicately made paper creations. “When I was a kid, that’s how the shows were filmed: the closer you got to those paper figures, the happier you were, because you got to see all those details,” explained director Tanya Lapointe in an interview with POV . “That was important because Claude was a very meticulous artist and his art was become more refined over time.”
For the Game-Changers: No Ordinary Man
Monday, March 1 at 7:00 pm
A hit on the fall festival circuit and rightly so, Aisling Chin-Yee and Chase Joynt’s No Ordinary Man is a ground-breaking Canadian doc. It’s arguably the most trans-inclusive film ever made in this country as it invites a chorus of transgender artists to reflect upon the life and legacy of jazz musician Billy Tipton. The doc corrects the story about Tipton’s trailblazing life through the words of those who followed his path. “The thoughtful collaboration beautifully expresses the importance of considering the duties and responsibilities entailed within telling a story that is not one’s own,” wrote Pat Mullen back at TIFF. “Ironically, No Ordinary Man straightens out the past by queering Tipton’s story.”
The 2021 Kingston Canadian Film Festival runs virtually Feb. 26 to March 7.