The 2016 DOXA Documentary Film Festival gets underway next week. Here are five films we think you should not miss:
1. In Migrant Dreams, Canadian filmmaker Min Sook Lee explores the Canadian food industries reliance on thousands of migrant workers from Mexico, Jamaica, and Southeast Asia. Sook Lee’s new investigative exposé documents the struggle of a group of women from Indonesia who are living in Leamington, Ontario as part of Canada’s controversial Temporary Foreign Worker Program. With the help of Evelyn and Cathy, two tireless community activists, some of the women take a stand and confront their employer.
2. In the This Land is Your Land: Shorts Program, a quartet of stories are told from a First Nations perspective. From renaming a sacred mountain near Victoria, B.C., to fighting to have treaties recognized in Saskatchewan, First Nations people across Canada are reclaiming land and identity.
3. When director Juan Manuel Sepúlveda first began to hang out in Oppenheimer Park in Vancouver, he was planning to make a film about Latino gangs. But over the course of two years, the idea began to shift. The result is The Ballad of Oppenheimer Park, a purposefully non-documentary look at some of the residents of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.
4. The revolutionary power of music is the subject of Farid Eslam’s rollicking documentary, Yallah! Underground, buoyed along by performances from some of the Arab world’s most exciting new performers. As the society tests its limits, artists and musicians push against the boundaries of tradition, culture, and religion, creating a call for freedom and peace that you can dance to.
5. The life and times, and most importantly the art, of Maya Angelou is given expansive coverage in Bob Hercules and Rita Coburn Whack’s film biography, Maya Angelou and Still I Rise. Made over the course of four years, before her death in 2014, Still I Rise traces the writer-performer’s life from the time she and her brother Bailey were sent to Stamps, Arkansas, to live with their grandparents.
The 2016 DOXA Documentary Film Festival takes place May 5-15. Visit http://doxafestival.ca for tickets and information.