Big Fight in Little Chinatown | Photo by Josh Frank

Big Fight in Little Chinatown to Open Vancouver’s DOXA Fest

Award winning doc kicks off Vancouver doc fest

3 mins read

Karen Cho’s Big Fight in Little Chinatown will open this year’s DOXA Documentary Film Festival. The Vancouver doc fest announced its line-up yesterday with Cho’s acclaimed portrait of Chinatowns across North America set to kick-off the 22nd edition of the event. Big Fight in Little Chinatown premiered at DOC NYC and was a double prizewinner at RIDM in the fall where it scooped the audience award.

This year’s DOXA slate offers 39 feature films from Canada and abroad. On the homegrown front, DOXA will screen Khoa Lê’s striking portrait of Vietnam’s LGBTQ+ community in Mother Saigon. The festival also has Terra Long’s essayistic study of Coachella country and the diversity within it in Feet in Water, Head on Fire, and Jean-Philippe Marquis’s environmental call to action Silvicola, which profiles forestry workers confronting the effects of deforestation. DOXA also offers the Canadian premiere of Rodrigue Jean and Arnaud Valade’s 2012/Through the Heart and Days (Jours), the latest consideration of youth by Geneviève Dulude-DeCelles. Trevor Solway’s Kaatohkitopii: The Horse He Never Rode, meanwhile, looks at a rider facing the inevitable sunset. The film also marks Vancouver stops on the festival circuit for hits Twice Colonized and Satan Wants You.

On the international front, DOXA screens Sundance award winner 20 Days in Mariupol, Mstyslav Chernov’s feat from the frontlines of the war in Ukraine. It also brings a Canadian stop for D. Smith’s double-prizewinning Sundance sensation Kokomo City, an energetic portrait of four transwomen and sex workers. The film adds to a diverse slate at DOXA, which includes the themed programme A Radical Pluriverse: Reflections on Black Womanhood on Both Sides of the Lens. Curated by Nya Lewis, the series kicks off with a festival encore of Rebeca Huntt’s debut Beba.

“I consider it a privilege to access a spiritual legacy of mothers, sisters and daughters—a lineage or geneology of Black women(hood) that is defined by collective self-awareness, shared political consciousness, love, magic, quests for liberation and futurism,” said Lewis in a statement from DOXA.

Other themed programmes include the shorts series I AM (WO)MAN: Transatlantic Perspectives on Political Struggles in the 1960s–1970s in Guinea-Bissau, Morocco, the USA and France. Farah Clémentine Dramani-Issifou curates this selection of struggle and emancipation. Meanwhile, doc duo Avi Lewis and Naomi Klein don their programmer hats for the series NORITA: The Mother of All Struggles features a work-in-progress screening of Jayson McNamara’s portrait of Argentinian revolutionary Nora Cortiñas.

Other highlights include Elaine McMillion Sheldon’s unconventional environmental film King Coal, Penny Lane’s take on helping hands in Confessions of a Good Samaritan, and Marusya Syroechkovskaya’s acclaimed How to Save a Dead Friend, which headlines DOXA’s Justice Forum.

DOXA runs May 4 to 14, 2023.

Pat Mullen is the publisher of POV Magazine. He holds a Master’s in Film Studies from Carleton University where his research focused on adaptation and Canadian cinema. Pat has also contributed to outlets including The Canadian Encyclopedia, Paste, That Shelf, Sharp, Xtra, and Complex. He is the vice president of the Toronto Film Critics Association and an international voter for the Golden Globe Awards.

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