DocNow Returns to Showcase the Next Generation of Filmmakers
By Pat Mullen
Discover the filmmakers of tomorrow when Toronto’s DocNow film festival returns this June. The ninth edition of this interdisciplinary documentary festival showcases the next generation of Canadian filmmakers with a month-long programme of screenings, exhibitions, and discussions. This year’s festival includes 21 graduates of the Master of Fine Arts in Documentary Media programme at Ryerson University, and POV is proud to support the next class of documentary filmmakers. DocNow hosts screenings by Ryerson grads at the Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema in the rite of passage of seeing one’s work on the big screen at the only doc-exclusive theatre in the city. The festival is already underway with a group exhibition of doc works at Creeds Coffee Bar running all month long with a handful of screenings and events to immerse filmgoers in new voices from the fields.
Here’s what’s in store for this year’s festival:
Film screening – June 7, 6:30 PM at HDTRC
Experience stories both local and global in the first shorts programme of the festival. Jeannette Breward’s 60 Seasons examines efforts of made to grow sustainable food production by two groups in Northumberland County, Ontario and Ash, Ken Robinson’s optimistic portrait of the indie music scene in Seoul, Korea. The screening also has a trio of Indigenous stories with In Jesus’ Name by Susan Enberg and Mistissini Healing by Stephanie Vizi, which provide compelling portraits of survivors of Canada’s Residential Schools, while Lovesick by Lauren Bridle offers a handsomely-shot consideration of cottage life, waterways, and Indigenous territory rights.
Film screening – June 14, 6:30 PM at HDTRC
The second shorts programme of DocNow boast Amy Siegel gives feminism an experimental smackdown in “League of Lady Wrestlers“: https://vimeo.com/190151989, while Iranian-born director Mehrdad Ahmadpour considers the risks of filmmaking in Me & Myself. Andrew Bateman offers a humorous study of political wordsmiths in Speechwriters, which looks illuminating in the context of the current political circus south of the border, while Lindsay Fitzgerald examines images recorded by Vancouver police officers to consider the consequences of putting cameras in the hands of the law with the provocative What Appears to be the Problem?. Finally, DocNow features an appropriate offering for Pride Month in Vince Ha’s study of online dating, hook-up culture, and discrimination in No Fats, No Femmes, No Asians.
Film screening – June 21, 6:30 PM at HDTRC
Closing the month of screenings are stories that connect personal journeys with larger struggles. Eduardo Nunes-Jansen’s A Magic Thread is an intimate and personal story of a filmmaker’s journey from Brazil and his reflections on the family he left behind, including a brother who transitioned to a woman following his departure. In Extra Pro, Gabriel Waddington offers a redemption story in a portrait of a rapper turned Christian minister, while Camilo Gomez-Duran’s Nature Dazzles gives the programme a welcome eco doc that voices the concerns of Canada’s youths in letters to Premier Kathleen Wynn and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Jorge Alaya’s study of the Cuban Revolution, A Su Propio Ritmo (At Its Own Rhythm), combines the personal and political, while Peter Conrad profiles Meyer Brownstone in On the Road to Virtue who advocated for refugees during El Salvador’s Civil War.
Six exhbitions run throughout the month as DocNow presents non-fiction works of the experimental and moving image variety. In Unconditional (Ryerson Artspace, June 1-30), Annalise Nielsen offers a multimedia project about a mother who loses a child to the prison system. Masoud Eskandari’s Self (Ryerson Image Factory, June 6-30) is a photo-based self portrait about immigration and the search for identity, while Sardar Farrokhi’s Gone with the Madness (Art Square, June 7-July 2) offers snapshots of suburbs and struggles in post-war Iran. Eliot Wright takes a walking tour of changing urban landscapes in On Dupont (Art Square, June 7-July 2) and Sean Stiller uses an immersive installation to convey Indigenous perspectives in Cyéwmen (Ryerson Image Centre Gallery, June 7-July 2). Finally, Sadaf Pourghorbani reflects upon her native Gilan Province of northern Iran and the parallel erosion of landscape and identity in DeGreening (Ryerson Artspace, June 16-July 2).
Please visit DocNow.ca for more information on this year’s festival and artists.
All screenings and exhibitions are free and open to the public.