Laura Poitras’ acclaimed documentary All the Beauty and the Bloodshed will open this year’s ReFrame Film Festival. The Peterborough festival devoted to activist documentaries kicks off January 26 with an in-person screening of Poitras’ portrait of photographer Nan Goldin and her fight to hold the Sackler family accountable for knowingly profiting off the deadly effects of OxyContin. All the Beauty and the Bloodshed won the Golden Lion at Venice in September and was named the best documentary of 2022 over the weekend by the Toronto Film Critics Association. It is widely considered the Academy Award frontrunner for Best Documentary.
ReFrame will screen over 60 films in a virtual festival following opening night. The slate includes a mix of local, Canadian, and international titles. Among them is Brian D. Johnson’s artful portrait of artisans The Colour of Ink, along with Colin Askey’s award winning observation of harm reduction in Love in the Time of Fentanyl. On the Canadian front, the festival also screens Barri Cohen’s Hot Docs favourite Unloved: Huronia’s Forgotten Children, which takes audiences inside an Ontario institution with a history of negligence for the young people with disabilities who were entrusted to its care. Mark Bone’s Okay! (The ASD Band Film), on the other hand, offers an upbeat portrait of a Toronto rock group whose members are on the autism spectrum. Dear Jackie, meanwhile, is Henri Pardo’s study of Montreal’s Little Burgundy neighbourhood, Jackie Robinson, and a history of Black culture.
For international films, ReFrame features Nelly & Nadine, director Magnus Gertten’s powerful story of two women who found love in the unlikeliest of places: a concentration camp during the Holocaust. The innovative Riotsville, USA, directed by Sierra Pettengill, brings a formally daring study of police brutality and history’s habit of repeating itself. Doc fans might especially want to check out Subject, which sees directors Jennifer Tiexiera and Camilla Hall return to the lives of memorable characters from acclaimed documentaries such as Hoop Dreams’ Arthur Agee and Jesse and Elaine Friedman of Capturing the Friedmans.
On the shorts front, ReFrame offers highlights including Shuli Huang’s personal doc about a filmmaker revealing himself to his mother in Will You Look at Me? The film, which won the Queer Palme at Cannes, leads a spotlight of LGBTQ stories that includes the animated short The Butch and the Baby Daddy and the portrait of Toronto MPP Jill Andrew, Body Politics. The online edition of the ReFrame Film Festival runs from January 26 to February 3. Tickets for both the online fest and in-person premiere are now available.