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HOME MOVIES 2011-212

CINEMA POLITICA is a media arts non-profit
network of community and campus locals
that screens independent political films and
videos by Canadian and international artists
throughout Canada and abroad. We believe in
the power of art to engage, inform, and inspire.
Cinema Politica supports artists who dare to
devote their time, passion, and resources to the
creation of innovative political cinema. We are
committed to supporting independent political
documentary, as well as other genres such as
fiction, docudrama, hybrid projects, etc., which
confront and challenge conventional narratives.
At each local screening, audiences encounter
under-represented characters and diverse and
compelling stories from the margins. We hope
these stories will provoke social change in
different forms, whether manifested in small
regional communities or diverse urban popula-
tions. Cinema Politica is the largest volunteer-
run, community, and campus-based screening
network in the world.
We seek to empower communities. Our screen-
ings engage with local people, issues, and
events. The Cinema Politica network is driven
by its commitment to the idea of community
engagement and social justice. The network
comprises several local film exhibition sites,
series, and festivals across Canada, Europe,
and the USA. The Canadian component of the
network has nearly 70 active locals, most of
which are located on high school, college and
university campuses. Beyond Canada, the inter-
national affiliates have nearly 30 active locals.
In exchange for organizational and program-
ming services, affiliates pay a small member-
ship fee to take part in the CP Network. All CP
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affiliates have access to our 300+ catalogue of
films. If you are interested in starting up a Cin-
ema Politica local, please contact Svetla Turnin:
Cinema Politicas main objective is to promote
the discussion, dissemination, and exhibition
of political 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, envi-
ronmental and economic issues, to challenge
dominant ideologies and accepted norms. Ex-
hibited works are provocative, innovative, and
educational, inspiring audiences to participate
in their own dialogue and to incite action. Em-
phasis is placed on works that tell stories un-
derrepresented by mainstream media, includ-
ing narratives around political struggles within
Canada, and stories that deal with oppression
and/or identity politics.
The position of the artist in society is taken into
account in the curatorial process, with a focus
on artists who are marginalized and/or struggle
against oppression in respective contexts.
Cinema Politica is a project rooted in the belief
that diversity and plurality in culture, media,
and the arts builds stronger publics and leads
to increased democratic practices, engendering
social inclusion and participation through edu-
cation. Accessibility to media and the utiliza-
tion of both public institutions and public space
remain incredibly important to the spirit of this
project; all screenings are by donation.
With continued support from the Canada
Council for the Arts, personal financial contri-
butions, grants, and membership fees, Cinema
Politica is able to foster independent filmmak-
ers whose work explores political issues that
feature stories of oppression and resistance,
stories which far too often are excluded from
the mainstream media. Cinema Politica also
relies on the essential contributions of audi-
ences and local members while building an
international alternative distribution and
exhibition network for independent political
film and video.
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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 differ-ent
worlds, introduce new perspectives, and chal-
lenge us at every level. Aesthetically, techni-
cally, socially, politically - no matter which
way you approach the hundreds of titles in our
catlogue, we promise you will be changed by
the experience.
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.
Ms. Obomsawin gives the rst Alanis Obomsawin Award for Committment
to Community and Resistance to artist John Greyson.
Film still from Marielle Nitoslawskas
art lm Breaking the Frame.
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 differ-ent
worlds, introduce new perspectives, and chal-
lenge us at every level. Aesthetically, techni-
cally, socially, politically - no matter which
way you approach the hundreds of titles in our
catlogue, we promise you will be changed by
the experience.
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.
Another standing ovation erupts at a CP screening
in Montreal.
Poster image for Rozenn Potins documentary about
young Quebecois feminist-activists.
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2011 2012
CA / 2008 / 85
Addicted To Plastic is a point-of-view style
documentary that encompasses three years of
filming in 12 countries on 5 continents, includ-
ing two trips to the middle of the Pacific Ocean
where plastic debris accumulates. The film
details plastics path over the last 100 years and
provides a wealth of expert interviews on prac-
tical and cutting edge solutions to recycling,
toxicity and biodegradability. These solutions
- which include plastic made from plants - will
provide viewers with a new perspective about
our future with plastic.
CA-PS / 2008 / 60
Art and Apathy is a film project that documents
the complexity of life in Israel and Palestine as
experienced by local artists. Despite the unend-
ing cycles of ideological and physical violence
propagated by the mainstream media and poli-
ticians, the artists featured in our films choose
to produce work that provokes dialogue. Focus-
ing on artists whose work inspires alternative
perspectives, we venture into intimate spaces
and access visionary voices who have tran-
scended the political rhetoric.
BUJOLD/ CA / 2009 / 68
An abundance of art, love, and idealism: thats
what fuels Annie Roy and Pierre Allard, the
founders of lAction Terroriste Socialement Ac-
ceptable. For the past decade, ATSA has made
performance an act of intervention, an art that
engages citizens in the struggle for a humane
and civil society. Magnus Isacsson homes his
camera on the political idealism and domestic
demands of the Roy-Allard partnership and
finds inspiration, generosity and integrity in
their exemplary life project.
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2007 / 61
Argentinas troubled history, culminating in the
major crisis of 2001, has seen the rise of a wave
of original artistic and cultural expression. The
documentary The Art of Resistance introduces
us to several creators and artist collectives who
use artistic expression as a means to deliver
powerful social statements, explore unbridled
creativity, and participate actively in construct-
ing a new reality. The Art of Resistance is an
inventive treatment of these artists responses
to the critical situations they are living. Born in
a climate of urgency, their creativity is without
boundaries, their strategies constantly renewed.
CHRISTIE / CA / 2009 / 85
This feature length documentary follows the
Vancouver Pride Societys (VPS) Parade Direc-
tor Ken Coolen and his VPS colleagues as they
travel to places where Pride is still steeped in
protest to personally experience the rampant
homophobia that still exists. They also travel
to Sao Paulo Brazil for the worlds largest gay
parade and New York City, the birthplace of the
modern gay liberation movement.
CA / 2010 / 72
Partners Jen and Grant go head to head in a
competition to see who can swear off consum-
erism and produce the least landfill garbage in
an entire year. Their light-hearted competition
is set against a darker examination of the sober-
ing problem waste in North American society.
The Clean Bin Project presents the serious topic
of waste reduction with optimism, humour, and
inspiration for individual action.
ALI KAZIMI / CA / 2004 / 87
Continuous Journey is an inquiry into the
largely ignored history of Canadas exclusion
of the South Asians by a little known immi-
gration policy called the Continuous Journey
Regulation of 1908, an effective way of keeping
people from India out of Canada until 1948. By
examining the global context and repercussions
of a Canadian event, Continuous Journey chal-
lenges us to reflect on contemporary events,
and raises critical questions about how the past
shapes the present.
CA / 2011 / 52
Crude Sacrifice takes a look at how one north-
ern community, Fort Chipewyan is affected
by the exploitation of Canadas rich Tar Sands
development, and how Canada is dealing with
their concerns. Although this town is located
near the earths second largest fresh water
delta, they can no longer drink the water, or eat
the fish and other game food which sustained
them for thousands of years.
CA / 2009 / 78
In DetermiNATION Songs three native artists-
Samian, Cheri Maracle and CerAmony- use
voice, rhythms, samples and guitar riffs to cut
through big P politics to reveal a vibrant native
music scene while exposing the realities and
struggles in their communities. As resistance
grows across Indian country, this film about
music, art and politics pulls aboriginal stories
from the back pages and puts them squarely at
the front of the stage.
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CA / 2011 / 115
END:CIV examines our cultures addiction to
systematic violence and environmental exploi-
tation, and probes the resulting epidemic of
poisoned landscapes and shell-shocked nations.
Based in part on Endgame, the best-selling
book by Derrick Jensen, END:CIV asks: If
your homeland was invaded by aliens who cut
down the forests, poisoned the water and air,
and contaminated the food supply, would you
MULLINS / CA / 2011 / 68
A theatre troupe is working tirelessly to put on
a play. The challenges they face are a part of
the usual drama behind any live show. Theres
the backstage politics, the forgotten lines, the
missed cues, the romances and the rivalries.
But for this troupe, the stakes are a bit higher
each cast member faces intellectual, develop-
mental and mental health disabilities.
2007 / 70
Following 26-year-old Madison during a
crucial three years of her transition from male
to female, Girl Inside is a beautiful film that
tracks her emotional, intellectual and spiritual
journey of self-discovery that is as important
as if not more than the physical journey
of hormones and surgery. Sometimes funny,
sometimes painful, this heartwarming coming
of age story is both an intimate portrait and a
thoughtful exploration of what it means to be a
/ CA / 2010 / 73
Over the past twenty years, more than 30,000
Ugandan children have been abducted by rebel
troops and forced into in armed conflict. Many
of these child soldiers are girls. Grace, Milly
Lucy...Child Soldiers explores this little-known
reality. When they return from captivity, the
girls must readjust to life within their commu-
nity. Clinging to their dreams, Grace, Milly and
Lucy are trying to restore meaning to their lives
and break the silence surrounding the fate of a
sacrificed generation.
2007 /40
Shot on Nova Scotias legendary Bay of Fundy,
In the Same Boat? explores the common ground
between indigenous and non-native communi-
ties, while showing the very different role fish-
ing plays in both cultures. Part One, The End of
the Line, is a portrait of Terry Farnsworth, the
last handliner on the Bay of Fundy. Part Two,
In Defense of our Treaties, follows the struggle
of Bear River First Nation as they stand up to
pressure from the Department of Fisheries
2010 / 43
Last Shift: The Story of a Mill Town is the story
of Dalhousie, New Brunswick, where the
pulp and paper mill was the centre of life for
over three generations. On 31st January 2008,
Abitibi-Bowater shut down the mill ending
a way of life for thousands of northern New
Brunswickers. This 42-minute documentary
paints a portrait of a town bound together by a
unique culture and a shared allegiance to the
dominant industry that sustained it.
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HAMILTON / CA / 2007 / 60
This documentary unearths the story of the
children, women, men who were students
and teachers in Canadas racially segregated
schools. Shot on location in villages and cities
in Ontario and Nova Scotia, the film is a com-
pelling illustration of how many of the students
who attended Canadas all-Black schools look
back on the experience with conflicting feel-
ings: fondness for the dedication of their Black
teachers, and outrage at being denied a right,
fundamental to democracy in Canada: equal
access to quality education.
CA / 2009 / 58
Myths for Profit is a dramatic, expos documen-
tary which explores Canadas role in Industries
of War and Peace. Through diverse interviews
and case studies this documentary unveils the
specific interests and profits that are made by
certain corporations, individuals and agencies
within Canada. Only by breaking down these
myths can we hope to understand how these
systems of power operate, and help empower
people across Canada to change them.
DEVEAUX / CA / 2010 / 53
Poor No More offers solutions to Canadas
working poor, taking three Canadians to a
world where people do not have to beg, where
housing is affordable and university education
is free. Poor No More offers an engaging look at
Canadians stuck in low paying jobs with no se-
curity and no future, then takes us on a journey
to Ireland and Sweden so we can see how these
countries have tackled poverty while strength-
ening their economies.
CA / 2010 / 86
Summer 2008, a year before Hydro-Qubec
starts building an 8-billion dollar hydroelec-
tric project, Alexis de Gheldere and Nicolas
Boisclair decide to canoe down the Romaine
River with two environmentalists a river
trip down 500 km which will take them from
the source in Labrador to the mouth in the Gulf
of St-Lawrence. Questions that arose from their
canoe expedition leads them to contact numer-
ous experts and people who work in the field to
give us a surprising insight into the potential of
green energy in Qubec.
CA / 2011 / 55
In June 2010, leaders from the twenty largest
economies met in Toronto with representatives
of corporate interests to discuss the policies
that would shape the world for everyone else.
This documentary traces the overt breakdown
in civil liberties that occurred during the Sum-
mit, from unmarked vans with snatch squads
of plainclothes police to the pre-emptive arrest
of activists. The filmmakers hear stories from
the peoples side of the fence and explore the
Orwellian tactics that increasingly permeate
policing in Western democracies.
2011 / 9:26
On January 8th and 9th 2007, hundreds of po-
lice and soldiers in Guatemala forcibly evicted
the inhabitants of several communities who
were living on lands that a Guatemalan military
government had granted to Canadian mining
company INCO in 1965. Local indigenous peo-
ple claim the land to be theirs, and resent the
exploitation of a foreign corporation. Schnoors
powerful short documentary bears witness to
the violence suffered by the subjects of the film
with candid ferocity.a
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2010 / 100
You Dont Like the Truth: 4 Days Inside Guanta-
namo tells the story of Canadian Omar Khadr,
detained at Guantnamo for almost a decade
without charges after being taken prisoner
by U.S. forces in Afghanistan at the age of 15.
His interrogation lasted four days between
February 13th and 16th, 2003, at a US maximum
security facility in Guantnamo Bay, Cuba. The
entire encounter was recorded.
CA / 2011 / 80
Cyclists are building critical mass in Vancouver,
Canada, and changing the face of the city. You
Never Bike Alone charts the development of
critical mass rides in Vancouver 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 together, up to giant Critical Mass
rides of more recent years.
2009 / 90
What do secrecy, police provocateurs, an as-
sault on democracy and infringements on citi-
zens rights have in common? The Security and
Prosperity Partnership. Following the shock of
9/11, right-wing political and business leaders
have pushed the SPP agenda. Negotiating away
from public scrutiny, they say it is the way to
keep trade flowing between the United States,
Canada and Mexico. This documentary exposes
the corporate agenda of the SPP and reveals
that this secretive agreement is about much
more than trade.
Amar Wala and Noah Bingham are the lmmakers
behind an in-progress work entitled The Secret
Trial 5, a feature-length documentary about
ve Canadian men who have been detained and
monitored under Canadas controversial security
certicate legislation. Cinema Politica is proud to
be a sponsor of this lm under our new Adopt-a-
Doc program, whereby we commit to supporting
a marginalized documentary project from the
production stage through to public screenings.
Below is a synopsis of the lm followed by an
interview with Amar and Noah.
The Secret Trial 5 is a crowdfunded
documentary in-progress that examines the
human impact of Canadas war on terror;
specifically the use of security certificates, a
tool that allows for indefinite detention, with
no charges, and secret evidence. Over the last
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decade, 5 men have been held under security
certificates in Canada. They spent between 2 and
7 years in prison each. None of them have been
charged with a crime.
CINEMA POLITICA: What are your backgrounds
and how did you get into film, and specifically,
why documentary?
AMAR WALA: I was born in India, in a movie
crazy city called Bombay. My dad was a
producer, and passed his undying love for
cinema on to me. Honestly, this is all I ever
wanted to do, at 10 or 11 I knew I was going to
make movies. Documentaries became a passion
in my late teens. I started to become politically
aware, and Bowling for Columbine became
a huge mainstream success. My curiosity
grew from there. I started to understand
the educational power of docs, and also the
opportunity for creativity blended with
purpose. I never wanted to be a documentarian,
it just turned out the stories I wanted to tell
lent themselves to the form.
NOAH BINGHAM: My family is from steel towns
in Western Pennsylvania in the United States. I
was born in New Jersey, but grew up in Canada.
To be honest, I came to love and want to create
films later in life. I was always into making
art since I was young. However, I also have a
strong love for the natural world and gravitated
towards the natural sciences after highschool.
The natural world just made a whole lot more
sense to me than the human one. However,
9/11 and the subsequent wars in Afghanistan
and Iraq really hit me in a way that shifted my
focus. It seemed absurd to me to keep trying
to work towards building a connection with
the diversity of living organisms on this planet
when we cant even get along as just a single
species. What species has systemic racism
and discrimination that leads to murders,
wars, colonization, starvation, incarceration,
genocide and general misery and suffering? So
looking back now, I feel like I unconsciously
shifted my focus towards an interest in the
stories we tell about each other that makes all
this mess. Being visual oriented and expressive
my whole life, loving music but never being
able to play it well, and having an endlessly
curious about the world, it was a medium that I
could funnel a lot of myself into. It just fell into
place over time.
CP: How did you come across the story for The
Secret Trial 5 ?
AW: I was having a conversation with Professor
John Greyson while I was a film student at
York, he told me a story about a young Muslim
boy who was asked to translate for his father
while Canadian agents interviewed him in the
familys home. The boy hid a tape recorder, and
recorded as CSIS tried to recruit his father as
a spy, then threatened to deport him. I knew it
would be my next short film, I was blown away.
The boy was Ahmad Jaballah, his father is
Mahmoud, one of the Secret Trial 5.

NB: I came across the story of the Secret Trial
5 through Amar. We went to York University,
where Amar had made the dramatic short
about the Jaballah family. We stayed in touch
after school. I remember coming across
an article about one of the other security
certificate detainees Mohammad Mahjoub
asking to go back to prison because his house
arrest conditions were too damaging to his
family members. This was a man that nearly
died on his third hunger strike while in prison.
Amar had also heard the news and mentioned
he wanted to tackle a documentary on all five
of security certificate detainees. I knew it was a
film I had to help him make.

CP: Youve been working on this project for a
long time (how many years?) ...You must have
been close to giving up at several junctures...
what keeps you going and motivated to keep
plugging away?
AW: I started in summer 2009, and yes Ive
almost given up several times, including this
week (not joking). I wish I had something
poetic to say about my motivation, I dont.
I think theres a great film here, and I think
a great film can do a lot to spark public
awareness and hopefully public outrage.
Theres times I feel this is too hard, too many
hurdles to leap. This film has kicked my ass. I
keep going because I see the movie in my head,
and its beautiful.
NB: I came on board the Fall of 2009 after
we had been talking throughout the summer.
The detainees, their families keep us going, as
well as the community of supporters that have
donated to the film to see it get made some
of them are complete strangers that believe
in us and the project. For better or worse, I
think Amar and I are too stubborn to give up.
We have a very strong vision of what this film
could be. We feel obligated to make a piece that
speaks to a wide audience to show the injustice
happening to people that would otherwise
ignore this issue. The whole way we are
thinking about security and a War on Terror
is completely insane and we need to break
down commonplace Islamophobia embedded
in these ideas and to look closer and deeper at
these issues. Lets stop doing things as a nation
that we end up making formal apologies for
decades after the damage has been done.
Lastly, I have to say the community of
filmmakers we have met in the process of
making this film has been a huge motivation,
personally. They have shared with us their
own personal struggles they went through to
make films they care about. Its not uncommon
for a documentary film to take half a decade
or longer to make from start to finish, and go
through many ups and downs. Its just a little
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more challenging since we doing things out
in the open as a result of our crowdfunding
campaign. But I wouldnt change anything.
CP: Its tough to both produce and distribute
documentary in Canada at the moment, with
funding and dissemination windows closing
rapidly. What kind of support have you got for
your project, and what advice do you have for
emerging artists in Canada who want to tell the
kinds of stories youre telling?
AW: We have received no funding from
traditional avenues, apart from 2 small arts
council grants. However, weve raised over
$26k through donations on our website.
We essentially created an animated trailer,
explaining our film and asking people to
help, and its worked. My advice to other
young filmmakers is this: make your films.
Beg, borrow, steal (dont get caught) and do
whatever it takes to get your films made.
Technology is on your side, you can tell
remarkable stories for very little money now,
and if your film is good, it will open doors.
Theres very little money out there and more
and more people are after it, so the only way to
get it is to prove youre special. The only way to
do that is to make great films. So get it done.
NB: All forms of distributing media are
in a huge state of change right now. But I
feel like there is an enormous amount of
opportunity out there as a result. The model
that is currently falling apart was one with
strange hoops to jump through to become an
established Canadian filmmaker and make
work that many didnt ever even see. So I think
change is needed. I just hope the change is
towards more voices, a greater diversity of
voices, deeper content and a more engaged
audience that can interact with each other and
filmmakers. That appears to be the direction
we are moving which is enormously exciting.
In terms of advice, I echo Amars. Make films.
Understand what motives you about narrative
and Make. Make. Make. Make mistakes, and
make them often, and learn from them. Build
or connect with a community of filmmakers
and film-lovers, organize screenings, find a CP
local, create spaces for discussion after films,
share ideas, build friendships, support and
challenging one another. I believe this kind of
community will make strong work, and allow
you to make strong work. But to be perfectly
honest, Im trying to figure this out as I go,
and see myself as an emerging artist. So I need
another fifty years of working at this craft
before anyone should take my advice seriously.
CP: Your project is such a perfect fit
with Cinema Politica because it merges
art with activism -- it uses the power of
cinematic storytelling to raise awareness
and understanding about an important issue
in Canada, but there seems to also be an
opportunity to forge alliances with civil society
groups. Can you speak to this relationship?
AW: Relationships with civil society groups are
tricky. Theyre approached by filmmakers all
the time, and often have no money. What they
can do, is spread the word about your project
to potential donors. Weve raised significant
money by reaching out to charities and other
organizations that care about issues of civil
liberties, race and equality. However it is vital
that you stay independent as an artist. Any
group that helps us has to understand that we
are artists first, and activists second. We are
making this film because we care deeply about
this issue, but the greatest disservice we can do
to our subjects is to make a bad film.
NB: The work that filmmakers and civil society
groups are naturally very different. This isnt
always the case at times, there are some very
natural intersects sometimes. But it needs to
come innately from the filmmaker and the
civil society group(s). I think the best kind
of relationship between these groups, start
with an understanding that the two do very
different work. Filmmaking is ultimately about
communication, of emotion, information,
characters, etc. Activism is often about taking
strategic action around a specific issue. If the
two, respect and acknowledge the differences
in each others work and focus on the common
ground, I think that is where the two can
complement each other a great deal.
CP: When will the film be finished and how will
people be able to see it?
AW: We are hoping to finish the film by spring
2013, and hopefully it plays all over Canada in
one way or another. But we strongly urge people
to visit our website and
follow our progress. There you can watch our
trailer, clips from the film etc. See what were
doing and if you want to help, please consider
making a tiny donation. We want to build a
community around the film, and the issue.
NB: We are full steam ahead on the work ahead
of us to hit that target. The best way to stay in
the loop, is to follow us on our blog, facebook
page and twitter account. Please do donate to
the project, any amount helps. Importantly, it
shows that there is one more person out there
that wants this story told, and wants to know
more about this issue and the lives affected
by security certificates. Tell others about this
project and encourage them to donate and
spread the word as well. This is the heart of
how independent filmmaking will exist and
produce strong work.
The CP Kitchener-
Waterloo Crew.
The CP University of Winnipeg Crew.
An audience enjoys tea, wine and crumpets after a
CP Dublin screening.
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A CP screening under the stars.
The CP UQAM Crew. The original CP Stockholm organizers on campus.
An audience member makes a comment at a CP
screening of Water on the Table.
The CP Concordia Crew with the Yes Men.
Filmmakers Lixin Fan and Yung Chang at a Cinema
Politica fundraising event.
Filmmaker Liz Marshall with guest speaker Maude Barlow
at a Montreal screening of Water on the Table.
24 / 25
Cinema Politica has recently acquired a new
feature-length documentary called Diversidad,
by two independent Canadian lmmakers, Stefan
Varna and Jean-Marc Abela. Below is the synopsis
from the lm, bios on the artists, and some
thoughts from the lmmakers on the importance
of Cinema Politica.
Have you ever been young and wanted to save
the world?
Diversidad A Road Trip to Deconstruct
Dinner is a documentary about a group of
young Canadians who got on their bikes to
raise awareness on the impacts of Word Trade
Organization and industrial agriculture.
From the waterfronts of Vancouver to the
mountaintops of Mexico, this journey lifts the
veil of idealism. They discover the challenges
and hardships of organic farmers. They see that
for a lot of inner city families do not have access
to fresh food, let alone the land to grow their
own. They realize that their point of view of the
plight of the undocumented farm worker isnt
quite what they had read about before they left
home. And they begin to realize that perhaps this
journey wasnt so much about what they had to
share with the world, but more about what they
had to learn from the world.
Upon their return home, they are confronted by
the reality of being part of the system theyre
fighting against: can they practice what they
Filmed in 2003
Edited on and off for 8 years and complete
in 2011
Self-financed with additional support by
the Conseil des Art et de Lettres du Qubec
(CALQ) and International Development
Research Center of Canada (IDRC)
Born in the
Democratic Republic
of Congo but raised
in Montreal, stefan
started dancing at
an early age and later got involved in theatre
before settling in moving pictures as his lifes
passion. A graduate of Concordia Universitys
Film Production program, stefan verna has
been active in the Montreal film community for
years as a Film Journalist & Video Instructor.
As a director he has explored various forms of
filmmaking: documentary, fiction, music videos
and dance videos.
His love of hip hop culture has been frequently
displayed through the stories he covered for the
TV show Culture Shock on CBC Newsworld.
His background as a social activist has fueled
the type of projects he has been involved with
as a filmmaker but also as a video instructor to
inner city youth. As an editor he has worked
on TV shows such as La Course Autour de la
Grande Tortue for Canal D and Chic Choc for
APTN. His camera work has taken him to Cuba,
France, Haiti and the US Deep South.
His previous efforts are: Broken Strings (1999),
Chocolate City (2003), Lakay (2008), Forever
Loon (2010), Diversidad (2011), Drawing Blank
He is presently completing the post-production
of a feature length documentary ACHE!: the
story of Nomadic Massive.
A self-taught and
prize winning
filmmaker, Jean-
Marc Abela focuses
his energies in
documentary productions. As a producer/
director he has completed two independent
feature documentaries Shugend Now and
As a freelance director/cameraman he has
recently worked for clients including BBC
Worldwide, TVA, Moment Factory, Tourism
Qubec and Cirque loize and more.
Jean-Marc has travelled with his camera
around the world and through his explorations
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in film discovered a second passion in
Permaculture, a science of sustainable design.
Through this he is gaining more experience as
an educator and facilitator, giving workshops in
video making and permaculture design. He has
also personally produced two instruction Qi
Gong DVDs for some of his teachers.
Diversidad (2011), Shugendo Now (2010),
Murnoon: a permaculture subdivision (2008),
Les Jardins sur les Toit de Montral (2006),
What if ? (2006), Ensuite (2005), Making the
Edible Landscape (2005), Facteur Chance
(2005), Halfway (2003), Little People (2002)
Cinema Politica is simply one of the best
platforms to present engaging documentaries.
It offers us an opportunity as filmmakers
to reach a very important section of our
population and it offers viewers a chance to see
a film that otherwise would not be available
anywhere else. It is truly unique and the
success of this program speaks for itself.
And then there is the quality of the experience.
Not only does it offer a unique chance to view
engaging film it creates a forum for discussion
around the screening having Q&A with the
audience adds so much more to the collective
experience. But even the screening itself is
unique. There is nothing quite as captivating
as watching a film with an engaged crowd that
cheers and reacts to the story unveiling itself on
the screen. A film comes alive in such a context
and this is something that Cinema Politica
has created and we are proud to be part of its
programming for 2012-2013.
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WITH THE FUNDING support from the Canada
Council for the Arts Cinema Politica has begun
a new support initiative for marginalized
documentary projects called Adopt-a-Doc.
With this new program Cinema Politica
helps a documentary project from the initial
production stages through to public screenings
by organizing fundraising screening events,
promoting the project throughout our vast
network online and through email newsletters,
committing to touring the finished film
throughout the Cinema Politica Network
of screening locals, and finally we connect
filmmakers with experienced professionals
in the field in order to assist with financing,
distribution, camerawork, editing and more.
The project currently supports three in-
progress projects that have struggled to secure
funding support: Granny Power by Magnus
Isacsson, The Secret Trial 5 by Amar Wala
and Noah Bingam (details of this project are
featured elsewhere in this publication) and
the newest Adopt-a-Doc project 600 Rising
by Isis Gumbs and Irkar Beljaars. To help the
filmmakers for this last project, Cinema Politica
has secured consultation sessions with CP
Advisory Board Member and award-winning
First Nations filmmaker Tracey Deer. Deer will
meet with the emergent filmmakers behind
600 Rising and give them advice on how to best
construct their very important and overlooked
story of the missing and murdered aboriginal
women in British Columbia. The filmmakers
have provided us with more information on
this project, below.
600 Rising discusses the much overlooked issue
of Missing and Murdered Native Women in
Canada. While over 582 women have officially
gone missing since 1980, it is believed that
the number is much higher, some quoting it
in the 1000s. But with no formal database to
record or track the missing women, and often
no conclusion on whether they have been
murdered, families and friends are forced to
seek answers and justice for themselves. This
documentary highlights the efforts being
made by victims families, womens groups,
concerned citizens, and even the international
community on this issue. Through individual
stories, and public cases such as the Picktin
Inquiry, we examine Canadas policies,
institutional structures and attitudes towards
Canadas first women.
600 Rising will be an 80 minute documentary
highlighting the struggle that many Aboriginal
women and families face in their fight for
justice for their missing and murdered sisters
in Canada. The filmmakers will gather stories
in Montreal, Toronto, Winnipeg, Regina,
Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver, and potentially
Labrador and Nunavut. The films audience
will include Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal
Canadians, the international human rights
advocates and communities; individuals
concerned with justice issues, womens rights,
indigenous rights, and will also be used as an
educational tool for Educators. We intend
to bring this film to festivals, broadcast
documentary channels and feature programs,
and play it throughout the Cinema Politica
Network, in order to reach a wider audience.
No one knows exactly how many native women
have gone missing or have been murdered
in Canada in the last 30 years. Amnesty
International, the Canadian government,
and advocacy groups put the number at close
to 600, but the real number is likely much
higher. Lack of awareness of this issue is due
to a number of reasons. The first is apathy;
unwillingness in the justice system and in the
government to do more to combat the problem,
which has in turn allowed the situation to
worsen. The second is knowledge; Canadians
dont know enough about this issue and
dismiss it as a First Nations problem. We want
to make this film to combat Canadians lack
of knowledge and institutional apathy, and to
draw attention to the reality of the violence
experienced by native women every day.
From the streets of Montreal to the shores of
Vancouver, violence against native women is on
the rise. There isnt a week that goes by when
there arent two or three new posters of women
gone missing being circulated in First Nations
communities and their outposts online. This
issue needs to reach the national consciousness,
and Canadians need to start asking important
questions: why is this happening, and what can
we do to stop it?
It is a mixed blessing, but Canada is
experiencing a period of heightened awareness
about the situation of our First Nations due
to emergencies like those in Attawapiskat,
a First Nations community suffering from
chronic water, housing, mold, and job crises
that caught the publics attention in the winter
of 2011/2012. We live in a time when Canada
is choosing to be more neoliberal, but has still
not found sufficient ways to deal with the
issues of Aboriginal people, who consistently
lag behind their non-Aboriginal counterparts
due to the continuing effects of colonialism.
It is important to examine the relationship
Canada has with its Aboriginal peoples, which
is often overlooked in mainstream media
and film production. The film is personal for
Mtis filmmaker Irkar Beljaars. Beljaarss own
mother experienced native- and gender-based
violence, and he has been working to publicize
the cause of missing and murdered women
for years in Montreal after meeting and being
deeply affected by victims families.
We will use a combination of narration and
interviews, along with the following: voice-
over narration, animation for statistical and
historical information, and archive material
to illustrate events that have contributed to
the situation/conflict. We plan to represent
leaders in the missing and murdered Aboriginal
womens communities, tying their personal
experiences and trauma to the political action
that they champion. We will highlight the
struggle being faced in western Canada as
illustrated through: the Pickton murder cases
and the inquiry that has followed; Sisters in
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Spirit, an initiative whose funding was cut by
Status of Women Canada under the leadership
of Rona Ambrose; and analysis of legislation
that infringes on the rights of Native women,
such as the Indian act.
We will use archival material to illustrate
events - i.e. footage of Rona Ambrose, news
footage, reports of missing women, the Harper
apology in contrast to government (in)action,
and potentially older footage about residential
schools. We will focus on and connect
individual stories to the collective experience
of native families around this issue.
Isis Gumbs, Irkar Beljaars, Samantha Cook. Our
crew, up to now has been a wonderful team of
volunteers, giving their services to get the story
out, they include: Mauri and Kevin Bernstein,
Jay Lemieux, Gordon Neil Allen, Laurent Picard,
Anna Waters, Milena Salazar, Kris Leblanc.
Crew members are likely to change between
cities, due to budgetary circumstances. We
have also had some consultation with seasoned
filmmakers, such as Sarah Spring from Parabola
Productions, and hope to continue to build
relationships of support with other key members
of the Montreal documentary community.
Irkar Beljaars is a Mtis from Montreal
who has been working at CKUT 90.3FM
as a journalist, producer and host of Native
Solidarity News (NSN) for 7 years. Besides
NSN, Irkar has been part of CKUTs
Homelessness Marathon, helped to organize
the Day of Action in Montreal and Day of
Justice in Ottawa, and has organized The
Sisters in Spirit Vigil which has taken place
in Montreal since 2007 on October the 4th.
He is currently lobbying the government
with the Families of Sisters in Spirit to re-
fund the Sisters in Spirit initiative, which the
government tragically de-funded in 2010. Irkar
has interviewed many prominent Canadians,
including Michael Ignatieff, Jack Layton,
former Prime Minister Paul Martin, First
Nations activist Ellen Gabriel, and many others.
Irkar was touched by this issue with the loss of
his mother.
Irkars work can be found at www.irkarbeljaars.
com. You can hear his podcast, Red Power
Radio, on Podbean.
Isis Gumbs is an independent filmmaker
exploring issues of culture, history, and identity
in her work. With a background in Sociology
and a professional career in Health and Social
Services, she has worked with First Nations,
Inuit, Immigrant, homeless populations and
womens shelters. Isis currently works as an
Educator with Inuit youth.
Samantha Cook is a social media and
communications expert and occasional grant
writer. She has read and awarded grants for the
Clinton Global Initiative in New York City, the
Jewish Community Foundation of Montreal
Cultural Committee, the Senior Womens
Academic Administrators of Canada, and the
Students Society of McGill University. She has
been following the Sisters in Spirit and Families
of Sisters in Spirit movement since 2009.
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2008 / 79
The Battle of Rabaska is a suspense-filled tale
of citizen intervention, captured in the direct
cinema style with sympathy and sensitivity, fol-
lowing the citizens fighting against the Rabaska
consortiums methane tanker terminal planned
for the south shore of the St. Lawrence. While
following all the twists and turns of the story,
the film delivers touching portraits of the main
characters. In the end it raises important ques-
tions about democracy and the role of govern-
ments and powerful lobbies.
CA / 2002 / 52
This is the story of two young men, Maxime
and Pascal, who sow the wind and reap a storm.
Things quickly get out of control when these
two employees attempt to form a union at a
Montreal McDonalds. Their initiative to form
a union at a Montreal outlet of McDonalds fast
food empire, famous for its McJobs and its
ferocious resistance to unions, sets off a series
of events that quickly get out of control.
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KHAN/ CA / 2009 / 40
Threadbare examines the idea of security and
citizenship in a first world democracy in the
Post-9/11 World order. The film goes beyond
arbitrary detentions of innocents. It dares to
offer insights into reasons for such hysteria
and fear mongering. Khan leaves no avenues
unexplored. In Threadbare he challenges the
status quo and demands accountability not only
from the Canadian authorities in general, but
from the Muslim community in particular.
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This Montreal-produced documentary
globetrots from Quebec to California, from
Denmark to France and back again exploring
female sexuality and its onscreen expression.
From pro-porn sex-activists like Annie Sprinkle
and controversial French filmmakers like
Catherine Breillat, to feminist philosophers,
sexologists and porn producers, the film raises
important questions surrounding pornography
and the burgeoning number of women behind
the cameras.
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/ 90
DiversidadA Road Trip to Deconstruct Dinner
is a documentary about a group of young Cana-
dians who got on their bikes to raise awareness
on the impacts of Word Trade Organization and
industrial agriculture, travelling from the West
Coast of British Columbia to the mountains of
Mexico. The young cyclists have their idealism
challenged while realizing the hardships of
organic famers and the problems of accessing
healthy food in urban centres.
BACK IN THE DAY of VHS tapes, in some
small, dusty classrooms at Langara College in
Vancouver, a small dedicated group of students
regularly gathered to share and discuss films.
They werent your mainstream fair they were
thought-provoking, contentious and politically
insightful films made by artists who dared to
tell stories from the margins.
Fast forward eleven years and the small, dusty
classrooms have transformed into theatres,
auditoriums, halls, galleries and art spaces
that hold hundreds of spectators in more than
a hundred locations around the globe. The
different venues cut a dense swath across
North America, reach a healthy scattering
throughout western and eastern Europe and
are found as far away as Indonesia, Australia
and New Zealand.
So what makes Cinema Politica so unique
that its expansion seems to be mushrooming
exponentially? Contrary to much in our world
today, with its principled stand of sliding-scale
membership fees for new and existing locals,
its not as though theres a big profit motive.
At the heart of Cinema Politica lies a genuine
commitment to community and collaboration.
Mix in a healthy measure of altruistic
volunteerism, solid programming that always
guarantees powerful audience engagement and
a world living on the edge of escalating class
conflict and you have an entity called Cinema
Politica a media arts force that is made for
these times we live in.
Never has the appetite for insight, awareness
and debate been more prevalent and never has
there been a more robust and inspiring output
38 / 39
of documentaries to reflect these extraordinary
times back to us. Through this organic and
ever-expanding network that is Cinema Politica
we get to witness each others stories and
realities, share in the wonder as well as the
misery of the human condition and celebrate
the art of cinema.
Whether its by showing hidden gems that
would not ordinarily make it beyond the
borders of the country of origin or spreading
awareness around major injustices, Cinema
Politica is most of all about building bridges.
Its most important task is showing us, through
the power of art, how we are despite our
differences and our separate struggles all
just humans finding a way to survive on this
turbulent planet of ours.

on behalf of the Cinema Politica Board
of Directors, May 1, 2012
The Cinema Politica Network is supported by
The Canada Council for the Arts through a
media dissemination grant.
Cinema Politica consists of over a hundred
screening locals who sustain the network
through annual membership fees depending on
how many screenings they organise per year. If
youre interested in starting up a local in your
community or on your campus, contact us at:
Donate to Cinema Politica and support
independent documentary cinema and artists.
We rely on generous support from people like
you any donation, no matter how small, helps
sustain our grassroots project.
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