You are on page 1of 26

Cinema Politica

Table of Contents
Pages 1-2 Table of Contents & Curatorial Statement 2010-11
Pages 3-4 Cinema Politica - Connecting the Dots
Pages 5-11 Artist Interview - Rmy Huberdeau
Pages 12-21 Featured Cinema Politica Film & Video
Pages 22-23 Featured Artists - Sylvia Hamilton & Amy Miller
Pages 24-25 About Us & Start a Local
Cinema Politica Carlteon: Established November 2008
The 2010-2011 artworks are grouped around the theme Creative Conscience because so many of these
flms use unorthodox artistic methods to tell their stories, and/or are about people using art to efect
social change. Whether they explore painful memories, processes of transformation, public art inter-
ventions, sexwork or the connection of land with history, the flms and videos provoke by highlighting
sociopolitical issues through inspired and innovative artistic techniques and approaches.
The collection of titles, some of which are highlighted in the following pages, range from experimental
shorts to feature-length documentary. The artists themselves form a diverse backdrop from which to
approach a raft of topics, and do so with creative vigour and a delicate and sensitive conscience. Lifting
topics that might usually be found in the news, and bringing them to life through the aesthetically com-
plex and emotionally powerful medium of cinema, our 2010-2011 program adresses the social, political
and cultural with art.
So enjoy these works produced by creative consciences - artists committed to changing the world
through the unpredictable, controversial, beautiful, mysterious world of art.
Ezra Winton, Director of Programming
Curatorial Statement 2010-2011
Cinema Politica - Connecting the...Dots
ART IN ACTION [dirs.Magnus Isacsson & Simon Bujold]
Filmmaker Sylvia D. Hamilton
Of course art would be nothing if it werent for the diverse
and dedicated individuals who spend their hours research-
ing, dreaming, creating, and sharing. Which is why we are so
excited to announce that a new section on the Cinema Politica
site will be launched in the spring of 2012 dedicated entirely
to artists whose work is featured in the Cinema Politica Net-
work. Check out our new Artist Pages around Feb/Mar, 2012.
Discover more:
It moves us, it stirs our souls and captivates our imagina-
tions. At Cinema Politica art drives our whole project - the
works we project on the screen for our audiences show difer-
ent worlds, introduce new perspectives, and challenge us at
every level. Aesthetically, technically, socially, politically - no
matter which way you approach the hundreds of titles in our
catlogue, we promise you will be changed by the experience.
Discover more:
Cinema Politica - Connecting the...Dots
FROM HOMELESS TO HOME (dir. Jason Gondziola)
Cinema Politica Concordia Audience
Cinema Politica has screening locals all over Canada, based
on highschool, college and university campuses as well as in
non-commercial community venues. As such, we have the
potential to reach hundreds of thousands of youth and other
individuals who have an interest in art but may not attend
festivals. We further engage our audiences at our events by
inviting artists and others to lead post-screening discussions.
Discover more:
The flms and videos that circulate in the Cinema Politica Net-
work seek to not only provoke and engage audiences on an
artistic and storytelling level but, it is our hope, they also pro-
voke and engage at civic participation and cultural awareness
level. By showing provocative works that reveal under-repre-
sented narratives and topics, and by holding post-screening
discussions, we hope to stir our audiences to get involved.
Discover more:
We frst saw AU PAYS DES ESPRITS / HOME OF THE BUFFALO in the cramped top foor ofce space of The
Dominion in Montreal. It was the frst time we encountered Rmy Huberdeaus art - work that confronted and pro-
voked us in ways that we hadnt expected, an experiece flled with joy, awe, longing and wonder.
Huberdeaus HOME OF THE BUFFALO is a haunting dreamscape of trains, plains, horizons and histories; and also
of relationships, wreckage, survival, identity and family. The flm is unrelentingly personal and has a generosity that
lets you inside someone elses memories, history and emotions.
Sitting there on the wood plank foor among 30 or so artists, mediamakers and activists, one almost felt like reaching
through the dark to the screen to touch the images - they represented an experience so real, so close, and so intimate.
Cinema Politica quickly acquired HOME OF THE BUFFALO, and caught up with Huberdeau to ask him about his
Cinema Politica: What was the impetus or inspiration for you to tell this story in the audio-visual form?
Rmy Huberdeau: AU PAYS DES ESPRITS / HOME OF THE BUFFALO came out of an exercise called
Image et voix (Image and Voice) at Quebecs Institut national de limage et du son (National Institute for
Image and Sound). The goal was for students to engage in writing a personal narration as opposed to a
journalistic one and then seek out archival images that weave an extra dimension into the text as op-
posed to illustrating it. theme was Lidentit / lappartenance (Identity & Belonging).
Artist Interview - Rmy Huberdeau
This context, all of it, was ideal to tease out a story about transexuality in relation to where I come from
not as an esoteric human experience, but one that is rooted in place and space. Cinema has been the most
torturous yet most rewarding place for this particular exploration cause you can peel back the membranes
of experience and memory and stumble into new places along the way.
The ways in which the flm peels back those layers
is like a poem, but it is also a letter to your father, I
believe. Is it a letter that was actually sent? Will he
see the flm? Why a letter?
Sitting down to write a letter can catapult you into
a state of personal journaling, complete with an in-
tended audience. Letter-writing is as much about
updating someone about your life as it is about up-
dating yourself about your life its a place to pro-
cess with a sharing mechanism built-in.
I invited my parents to visit me in Montreal last
spring without telling my Dad that I had been work-
ing on a video piece that involved him for the past 2 months. On the last day of their trip, I explained what
I had been up to and brought them to school to screen the piece. They were the frst to see it. Being patient
paid of (in terms of not building it up before their arrival) because we had an honest moment together with
it. My Dad acknowledged that it was challenging but respectful, and I agree. I trusted we could handle it.
There is a nice play and tension between your narration and archival footage of landscape, trains, mem-
ories and moments in time. What was the process in matching or mismatching these images with the
words you speak (and write)?
I had the honour of working with a very skilled, experienced and instinctual editor named Ren Roberge.
We had 3 days to cut down 60 minutes of archival footage (that I had pre-selected from 18 hrs of viewing
rushes from the National Film Board of Canada archives) into 4 minutes.
After the frst 2 days, we hadnt gotten very far nothing seemed to really ft. This had a lot to do with
my lack of experience with communicating in the editing room until then, I had been used to editing by
myself relinquishing the mouse and fnding words instead was a big deal.
On the 3rd day, we both started to sink into the atmosphere a little bit more, and bits and pieces of the ar-
chives we hadnt noticed before started to stand out. I know I couldnt have made that flm by myself, and
working with Ren is a perfect example. We alternated moments of seeing a connection between a particu-
lar phrase and a particular image, and eventually we found the tracks. Working with an editor expanded
the range of possibilities for this story and this flm.
The story (and the flm), for me, is about identity, but it is also about expectations and relationships
with those close to us. It comes across as deeply thoughtful and never feels angry. Is there anger, or
sadness? Or both?
Working through Identity, expectations and relationships is deep-tissue work. Anger is an emotion that
lives close to the surface like some kind of buoy pointing at the stuf going on underneath. This is where we
need to get to anger is often one way of getting there. All that said, I dont think of anger when i think of
this flm or the life that brought me to make it.
There is defnitely some sadness woven into this flm however, a thoughtful sadness, partly on which these
memories can foat my own and the ones imprinted onto flm. And its valid its one colour among
many for these memories and for memory, I remember this:
When its truly alive, memory doesnt contemplate history, it invites us to make it. More than in museums, where its
poor old soul gets bored, memory is in the air we breathe, and from the air, it breathes us. (Eduardo Galeano, Upside
In the flm you say you fnd solace in aboriginal spaces, which is the space where the flm seems to be
situated. How are those spaces more nurturing to you than others? Do those spaces include flm? Is this
inspiration for the title?
Good question. The reference to Aboriginal spaces is meant to echo in diferent directions. The frst is that
it grounds all the images we are seeing of colonial communities under construction in the Canadian
prairies as taking place on an Aboriginal continent, on Aboriginal land. This has spiritual (and social and
economic) implications for all of us colonial communities under construction included.
Weaved into this colonial-aboriginal space dynamic is a Mtis elder named Andr Nault, who is as light-
skinned as everyone else in this flm, and who raised arms against the Canadian state three years after its
inception. (I mention skin colour because I think one of the weaknesses of pan-Canadian culture not in-
cluding the Qubcois here is being invested in a notion where skin colour = a certain culture or ethnic-
ity. Time spent in Latin America gave me room to realize how complicated the relationship between colour
and culture can be, more than is often understood and represented up here.) All this to say that the notion
of fnding refuge in Aboriginal spaces, whether physically or philosophically, is also a poetic reference to
the European ancestors of (Red River) Mtis culture and community not to romanticize several genera-
tions of individuals, but to reference conscious choices that were made in terms of building community and
territorial dynamics in a particular region of Turtle Island.
Lastly, on a personal level, as a Franco-Manitoban, Ive come to realize that the francophone culture I in-
herited has a signifcant infuence of Aboriginal-worldview. Franco-Manitoban families are often intermar-
ried with Mtis families, thus making the lines drawn within our communities blurry. At times, they are
heavily-patrolled and contested borders and at other times they are constructive spaces for connection and
Regarding the title, I chose diferent phrases in French and in English. The French title AU PAYS
DES ESPRITS is a translation of the Anishinaabe word Manitoba which in English means In
the Land of the Spirits. This says it all for me in terms of grounding this work about a settler
family and community in an Aboriginal territory, and naming that territory as sacred which I
feel, I am very much rooted in the prairies. This title also grounds the narrative on transexuality
in a spiritual dimension.
I chose HOME OF THE BUFFALO for the English name instead of a direct translation of the French title to
complicate the reading of the flm a little bit. At an English screening, both phrases appear on the screen at
the same time during the title credit, creating a relationship between esprit (french for Spirit) and Bufalo,
which are in fact related in the context of the Great Plains. Winona Laduke, author of All Our Relations,
does an amazing job of explaining this in the chapter Bufalo Nations, Bufalo Peoples. Home of the Bufalo
in Anglophobe storytelling has historically been more of a clich phrase in relation to settlers in the Plains.
This is an attempt to reframe it; at least a little bit.
Where will the flm be shown? Whats next for you as an artist?
The flm has screened at Visions du rel in Nyon, Switzerland and will be screened at Pink Screens in Brus-
sels, Belgium. Its also played at RIDM in Montral, Cinmental in Winnipeg and at the Queer Film Festival
in Vancouver. It falls into francophone, documentary, post-colonial, queer and trans themed programming
at the same time, something I really like.
As an artist my life is busy and I am thankful. I had the honour of co-editing two documentaries and one
fction from Labrador last year, which was really interesting and rewarding work. This year I am fnish-
ing up two Making Of behind-the-scenes pieces one about a documentary and one about a fction. I am
starting a web-documentary project with a crew of Trans people in Montral and am also going to Italy in
December to edit a good friends flm. Lastly, I am doing research for a French doc about Michif, a Mtis
crole language living in the Canadian and American prairies.
Learn more about Rmy Huberdeau and discover more artists at:
Featured Cinema Politica Film & Video
STILL LIVES [Sarkissian, Anna / CA / 2007 / 12]
A dream-like experimental documentary that focuses on the
rebuilding of post-Katrina New Orleans, this work features
visuals of volunteers repairing broken homes while a sound-
scape of voices of victims of the hurricane plays over, pro-
viding for a hypnotic and surreal, yet altogether powerful and
relevant rendering of the after-effects and efforts of a natuarl
DREAM LISTENER [Karen Spencer, CA, 2008, 18]
I wrote my dream on cardboard, went out into the street and
held the cardboard dream in front of me. At the end of the day
I abandoned the cardboard dream. Over the year one hundred
and ninety-four dreams were written on cardboard and shared
this way...DREAM LISTENER was realized with the centre
de recherche urbaine de montral (crum,) homeless nation and
the saint james drop-in centre.saint james.
A TENT ON MARS [Martin Bureau & Luc Renaud ,
CA, 2008, 58]
30 years after the closing of the Scheffervilles mining
colony, and taking over the town abandoned by non na-
tives, the Innus are facing a new challenge: the reopen-
ing of the iron mines. Territory, identity and legitimacy
are at the heart of a dialogue between two people, Que-
becers and First Nations, living the same combat. Two
civilizations that proclaim to be colonized. Although the
frst one often times acts as the colonizer.
American Radical is the probing, defnitive documentary
about American academic Norman Finkelstein. A devoted
son of holocaust survivors, ardent critic of Israel and US
Mid-East policy, and author of fve provocative books in-
cluding, The Holocaust Industry, Finkelstein has been
steadfast at the center of many intractable controversies,
including his recent denial of tenure at DePaul University.
FINKELSTEIN [David Ridgen & Nicolas Rossier /
CA-US / 2009 / 85]
Three Arab-Canadian men are detained and tortured
for months and years in Syria and Egypt. Upon their
release they return to Canada struggling to fnd some
answers as to why they were detained and tortured. An
internal inquiry into their cases, the Iacobucci Inquiry,
reveals that the Canadian government was complicit in
their detention and torture. The camera team follows
the lives and cases of the men for a year and a half as the
men fght to leave the horror of torture behind them.
GHOSTS [Morvary Samare / CA / 2009 / 53 min]
Des jeunes femmes asiatiques confnes 24 heures sur
24 dans des salons de massage dans la banlieue de
Vancouver, des aides familiales dont les conditions de
travail rappellent lesclavage, de jeunes honduriens il-
lgaux embrigads pour la vente de drogue, des ado-
lescentes recrutes des fns de prostitution dans des
stations de mtro de Montral.
AVENUE ZERO [Hlne Choquette / CA / 2009 / 52
In BAS! Beyond the Red Light 13 young girls sold into
Mumbais infamous network of gated brothels confront
the inner and outer perils of life after rescue and reveal
the very human story inside the big business of child
[Wendy Champagne / CA / 2010 / 77 min]
Society tends to see sex workers as destitute, drug addict-
ed, amoral, disease infected, and lower class. Their real
voices are seldom heard. They are most likely to come to
our attention when they enter the court system, or if well
meaning community or church groups attempt to save
them from the perceived perils of sex work. 100 Stories
About My Grandmother allows the talked-about to talk
[Peter Kingstone / CA / 2007 / 135 min]
In determiNATION songs three native artists use voice,
rhythms, samples and guitar rifs to cut through big
P politics to reveal a vibrant native music scene while
exposing the realities and struggles in their communi-
ties. As resistance grows across Indian country, this flm
about music, art and politics pulls aboriginal stories
from the back pages and puts them squarely at the front
of the stage.
Michelle Smith / CA / 2009 / 78 min]
In the form of a letter written to his father, Rmy Huberdeau
tells his own sto- ries with the help of archive footage from
the Twenties. Indeed, how to express the hidden secret that
has been gnawing at him since he was nineteen, his voy-
age through no-mans- landbetween two territories, two
sexes while echoing the interwar period? Endowed with a
function that is alternately evocative and repetitive, these ar-
chives fo- cus more on expression than on determina- tion: a
speeding train that hits the screen, women and men at work,
HOME OF THE BUFFALO [Rmy Huberdeau / CA /
2009 / 4 min]
In 1962 and 1963, three 12-year-old Inuit boys left their
families in the Canadian Arctic and travelled south to
live with foster families and attend public school in
Ottawa. Federal government ofcials called the boys
an experiment. The boys and their families were not
aware that they were participants in an attempt to see
how easily Inuit children could be assimilated.
/ CA / 2009 / 70 min]
Following 26-year-old Madison during a crucial three
years of her transition from male to female, GIRL IN-
SIDE is a beautiful flm that tracks her emotional, intel-
lectual and spiritual journey of self-discovery that is as
important as if not more than the physical journey of
hormones and surgery. Sharing the spotlight is Vivien,
Madisons glamorous 80-year-old grandmother, who
has taken on the job of advising her on all things femi-
GIRL INSIDE [Maya Gallus / CA / 2007 / 70 min]
Charts the development of critical mass rides in Van-
couver from the protest rides across the historic Lions
Gate Bridge in the early to mid-Nineties, through the
No Fun City years of the late 1990s and early 2000s,
where cyclists were routinely arrested for riding togeth-
er, up to giant Critical Mass rides of more recent years.
Vancouver has become renowned for its big Critical
Mass bike rides, and particularly the party spirit that
YOU NEVER BIKE ALONE [Robert Alstead / CA /
2011 / 80 min ]
Through diverse interviews and case studies this documen-
tary unveils the specifc interests and profts that are made by
certain corporation, individuals and agency within Canada.
By examining these myths we seek to fnd out what are the
possible motives that hide behind these stories, and if there
are certain people who these systems of power operate, and
help empower people across Canada to change them.
/2009 / 70 / DVD] myths-prot-canadas-role-industries-
A look at how one northern community, Fort Chipewyan is
afected by the exploitation of Canadas rich Tar Sands de-
velopment, and how Canada is dealing with their concerns.
The health of the land and the people living near the worlds
largest construction project is discussed by leading scientists
and the Aboriginal Peoples. Although this town is located
near the earths second largest fresh water delta, they can no
longer drink the water, or eat the fsh and other game food
which sustained them for thousands of years.
CRUDE SACRIFICE [Lawrence Carota / CA / 2011
/ 52 min]
We Are Family, the quintessential gay anthem, has tak-
en on new meaning in gay districts and liberal suburbs
across North America as more and more gay and les-
bian couples choose prams over parties. Yes, the most
liberated homosexuals in history are becoming parents!
But even in places like Quebec, one of the few places
in the world to have legalized both gay marriage and
adoptions, things arent as easy as they may seem.
MOMMY MOMMY [Sylvie Rosenthal / CA / 2007 /
48 min]
Two neighboring fshing communities one Mikmaq,
the other non-native - both struggling to defend their
ways of life. Shot on Nova Scotias legendary Bay of
Fundy, In the Same Boat? explores the common ground
between indigenous and non-native communities,
while showing the very diferent role fshing plays in
both cultures.
IN THE SAME BOAT? [Martha Stiegman & Sherry
Pictou / CA / 2007 / 40 min]
Derrire ses statistiques noires, la Colombie possde
une des plus grande biodiversit de feurs au monde et
une population aussi diverse. 50 000 espces de feurs
mconnues, tout comme les quartiers de ce pays, le tra-
vail des gens, leur rsistance, leurs luttes, leurs rves et
leurs envies.
BIE OCCUSCIAES [Simon Charland-Faucher and
Sarah Charland-Faucher / CA / 2009 / 54 min]
Discover hundreds of more independent political works at:
The flm tells the story of undocumented workers in Canada
who take the low-paying jobs that Canadians refuse to. They
sew clothes in Montreal, clean high rises in Vancouver and
build houses in Toronto. Their low wages subsidize our frst
world economy.Using silhouetted interviews and stylized
imagery shot on Super 8 and mini-dv, Borderless tells the sto-
ry of Angela and Geraldo.
BORDERLESS [Min Sook Lee / CA / 2006 / 25 min]
Dream Listener was realized in association with the centre de
recherche urbaine de montral, homeless nation and the saint
james drop-in centre. it was presented through dare-dare in
montral, qubec whitewater gallery in north bay, ontario
and le lobe in chicoutimi, qubec. presentations were facili-
tated by galerie soufes, the saint james drop-in centre and
ltat durgence.
DREAM LISTENER [Karen Elaine Spencer / CA / 2008 /
18 min]
Featured Artist - Sylvia D. Hamilton (Nova Scotia)
/ 60]
Sylvia D. Hamilton is a multi awarding Nova
Scotian flmmaker and writer who is known for
her documentary flms as well as her publica-
tions, public presentations and extensive vol-
unteer work with artistic, social and cultural
organizations on the local and national levels.
She was born in Beechville, Nova Scotia, a com-
munity founded by the Black Refugees from
the War of 1812. She has a BA from Acadia University, an MA from Dalhousie University and
has been awarded three honourary degrees in recognition of her work. From 2001- 2004 she held
Nancys Chair in Womens Studies at Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax. She has taught
at Acadia University and given lectures at the University of New Brunswick, Memorial, Queens,
York and Simon Fraser universities, and at Middlebury College in Vermont, and the University of
the West Indies in Kingston, Jamaica. myths-prot-canadas-role-industries-war-and-peace
Featured Artist - Amy Miller (Qubec)
Amy Miller is a media maker and social jus-
tice organizer based in Montral. She directed
the featurette documentary Myths for Proft:
Canadas Role In Industries of War and Peace
which was screened thoroughly across Cana-
da and at festivals including the Milano Film
Festival, RIDM and won the Peoples Choice
award at the Bay Street Film Festival. Her frst
short Outside of EUrope won second place for the CBC-RCIs Migr@tion Award.
She has worked extensively with The Dominion and The Media Co-op as both a writer and edi-
tor. She continues to focus on developing critical documentaries for transformative social change.
Amys feature directoral debut, MYTHS FOR PROFIT, has screened extensively throughout the
CP Network. myths-prot-canadas-role-industries-war-and-peace
About Us
Cinema Politicas main objective is to promote, disseminate, exhibit and promote the discussion of politi-
cal cinema by independent artists, with an emphasis on Canadian works. All pieces that are screened are
political works - they represent cinema texts that engage an audience on important socio-political, cultural,
environmental and economic issues that are provocative in challenging dominant ideologies and accepted
norms. Exhibited works are innovative and seek to educate, entertain and especially inspire audiences to
participate in open and inclusive spaces. Emphasis is placed on works that tell stories underrepresented
by mainstream media, including narratives around political struggles within Canada, and stories that deal
with oppression and/or identity politics.
Cinema Politica is committed to supporting alternative, independent, and radical political flm and video,
and the artists who dare to devote time, passion and resources to telling stories from the margins. We
program works that feature under-represented characters and tell stories which confront and challenge
conventional fction and documentary narratives.
With continued support from the Canada Council for the Arts, Cinema Politica is able to focus on inde-
pendent Canadian flmmakers whose work explore political issues and stories of oppression and resistance
that are excluded from the mainstream media.
Start a Local
Cinema Politica has screening locals all over Cana-
da and the world and its easy to join. If your com-
munity or campus is in need of provocative and
challenging flm and video presenting under-repre-
sented narratives, start up a local!
There are some simple steps to starting up, all of
which are outlined if you follow the URL below, but
the main thing is that you fnd a venue, a crew of
volunteers, and an audience. Youll have to pay a
small membership fees, but we basically do the rest!

By joining the CP Network, youll get programming
and organization advice from us, youll have access to our library of hundreds of amazing flm and videos,
and youll be able to access other perks like our wonderful website, media-rich newsletters and more.
If you think your community or campus could use a recurring screening event that showcases independent
political flm and video exploring important socio-cultural topics with artistic skill, then contact us!
About Cinema Politica
CP is the largest non-commercial campus and community based
documentary screening network in the world. With screening
sites worldwide, we work to connect audiences to artists who
provoke, challenge, and change the world with their art.