DOXA Announces Line-up: Fest to Open with ‘The Rankin File’

DOXA opens with the world premiere of The Rankin File

By Pat Mullen

Vancouver’s DOXA Documentary Film Festival has announced its 2018 line-up. The west coast’s top doc showcase kicks off with the world premiere of The Rankin File: Legacy of a Radical on May 3. The Rankin File tells the story of late lawyer and long-time city councillor Harry Rankin, who lost a hard fought mayoralty race against Gordon Campbell in 1986. Director Teresa Alfeld revisits this election that saw the socialist radical top Campbell in the polls and she offers a mix of archival images and new interviews to convey how the causes for which Rankin fought are still urgent in Vancouver today. The festival offers an encore presentation of The Rankin File on May 8 with a post-screening discussion to tackle lightning-rod issues such as affordable housing ahead of October’s election.

On the Canadian front, DOXA screens the world premiere of Joële Walinga’s God Straightens Legs, a portrait of the filmmaker’s mother Renée as she awaits a treatment for breast cancer. The festival also features Canadian premieres of Nova Ami and Velcrow Ripper’s eco doc Metamorphosis, Simon Plouffe’s Those Who Come, Will Follow, which explores the legacy of Indigenous languages at risk of being lost and screens with Louise BigEagle’s NFB short To Wake Up the Nakota Language, and Brent Hodge’s Freaks and Geeks: The Documentary about the cult hit TV show that launched the careers of Seth Rogen, Judd Apatow, James Franco, Busy Philipps, and Paul Feig. Other Canadian films in the line-up include Laura Bari’s Primas, a portrait of two cousins who overcome the trauma of violence by creating outlets of artistic expression to reclaim their bodies, Alison McAlpine’s Cielo, a visual feast about a group of stargazers in Chile, and Zaheed Mawani’s co-pro Harvest Moon, a portrait of walnut harvesters in Kyrgyzstan that rounds off a fair representation of international stories within the Canadian spectrum.

The international selections at DOXA include a number of hits from the circuit including Robert Greene’s latest Bisbee ’17, Heather Lenz’s Yayoi Kusama portrait Kusama – Infinity, Kate Hickey’s essay on race and representation in the roller skating dancing scene Roller Dreams, and the North American premiere of Andres Ibañez and Alejandro Diaz’s A Six Dollar Price of Coffee, which asks audiences to consider the lives of farmers who fuel caffeine fixes around the world. DOXA’s specially curated side-bar includes the return of French French with five features hand-picked by Chris Marker collaborator Thierry Garrel that focus on the art of portraiture. The series features Alain Cavalier’s La Dame-lavabo, Léon, L’Orangère, and LA fleurist, among others. Embedded with Extremists, curated by Geoff Dembicki features the Canadian premiere of David Byars’ No Man’s Land, Håvard Bustnes’s Golden Dawn Girls, and Talal Derki’s Sundance award winner Of Fathers and Sons. Yi Cui, finally, offers a spectrum of short films curated to highlight stories about Tibet by Tibetan filmmakers.

DOXA runs May 3 to 13. Please visit for more details and to see the complete line-up.

The Rankin File: Legacy Of A Radical – Demo from Teresa Alfeld on Vimeo.