Shannon Walsh’s The Gig Is Up to Open DOXA 2021

The Gig Is Up

By Pat Mullen

Shannon Walsh’s The Gig Is Up will open this year’s DOXA Documentary Festival. The Vancouver festival announced the first Special Presentations titles for its 2021 edition this morning. This year’s event will run virtually with streaming available to audiences nationwide for DOXA’s milestone 20th anniversary festival.

The Gig Is Up examines the growing phenomenon of the “gig economy” transforming workplaces and lifestyles worldwide. Walsh’s timely doc looks at the precarious economic circumstances the gig economy invites by shifting work to fleeting contracts and remote workplaces, often forcing people to live paycheck to paycheck while providing new conveniences to others. Walsh’s film will debut at Hot Docs before kicking off the Vancouver festival.

Also tapped for DOXA is Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers’ Kímmapiiyipitssini: The Meaning of Empathy. The film observes the ongoing opioid crisis and its impact on the Kainai First Nation in southern Alberta. Tailfeathers captures the efforts of first responders and health care workers, including her own mother, as they strive to control the pandemic silently ravaging the country. Kímmapiiyipitssini will be this year’s special presentation for DOXA’s Justice Forum.

Kímmapiiyipitssini’s fellow NFB film Someone Like Me brings a hometown story to the Vancouver festival. Directed by Sean Horlor and Steve J. Adams, Someone Like Me is a portrait of the queer support network Rainbow Refugee, which provides assistance to LGBTQ+ asylum seekers. Capping off the announcements as DOXA’s closing night selection, Poly Styrene: I Am A Cliché offers a rockumentary portrait of Poly Styrene the late singer from the British punk band X-Ray Spex. The film by Celeste Bell and Paul Sng recently debuted to positive notices at SXSW.

DOXA will announce more titles for its 20th anniversary festival on April 14. The festival streams May 6 to 16. Early bird passes are on sale now through April 14.

You can read more about The Gig Is Up, Kímmapiiyipitssini: The Meaning of Empathy, and Someone Like Me in our upcoming issue.