Films shown by the Marda Loop Justice Film Festival
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Films shown at the 2013 Festival
Blackout - 2012
Director: Eva Weber
Only about a fifth of Guineans have access to electricity. With few families able to afford generators, children have discovered the international airport, petrol stations and traffic roundabouts as unlikely places to study for their exams. Every day during exam season hundreds of school children begin a nightly pilgrimage searching for light. A literal and metaphorical journey to enlightenment, scores of young people, bent over their books, studying hard for exams on well-lit walkways. This evocative documentary tells how children reconcile their lives in one of the world’s poorest countries with their desire to learn, in the face of the country’s own struggle for change.
Best Medium Length Documentary at Cinemambiente
Cardboard - 2013
Director: Matt Longmire
Drug addicts. Alcoholics. Con-artists. Beggars. Panhandlers. Homeless people. Crazy people. These are all words used to describe those we see on the streets holding cardboard signs. We ignore them or we give them a little money. We assume they made mistakes that put them where they are. We feel bad for them. We're angry at them. We're afraid of them. We pity them. They dirty our streets and frighten our residents. We want them gone. We want them helped and yet... we avert our eyes. But how much do we really know about them? Cardboard takes a "behind the signs" look at the world from the perspective of the panhandler. Interviews from eight Seattle panhandlers help explain the truth behind the stereotypes. Jeff, A.J., Martin, James, Austin, Rose, Alan, and Kenny are all human beings in many ways no different from us. People want to know how to distinguish between the truly needy and the scam artists so they know their dollar will go to help someone get back on their feet and not to the heroin that will end up in their body. However, no one asks if a dollar or some spare change is really what panhandlers need. Throughout the film, interviews with the leaders of many of Seattle's major homeless organizations such as UnitedWay, Union Gospel Mission, YouthCare, FareStart, and Real Change News give us expert perspective and help clarify the common misconceptions we've come to believe.
Casual Meet & Greet With Patrick Jarvis - 0 - (Announcing a Program Change)
Due to unforeseen circumstances Patrick Jarvis is not able to attend as Conversation Leader for the Sunday 4:00 PM screening of “My Way to Olympia.” For those who were hoping to see Mr. Jarvis, we are happy to announce a Casual Meet & Greet with Mr. Jarvis to occur SATURDAY between 6:00 PM and 7:00 PM, prior to the Canadian Premiere of “Cardboard.”
Chasing Ice - 2012
Director: Jeff Orlowski
When acclaimed environmental photographer James Balog headed to the Arctic to capture images to help tell the story of the Earth’s changing climate, he had been a skeptic about climate change. But that first trip north opened his eyes to the biggest story in human history and sparked a challenge within him that would put his career and his very well-being at risk.
Chasing Ice is the story of one man’s mission to change the tide of history by gathering undeniable evidence of our changing planet. Within months of that first trip to Iceland, the photographer conceived the boldest expedition of his life: The Extreme Ice Survey. With a band of young adventurers in tow, Balog began deploying revolutionary time-lapse cameras across the brutal Arctic to capture a multi-year record of the world’s changing glaciers. As the debate polarizes America and the intensity of natural disasters ramps up globally, Balog finds himself at the end of his tether. Battling untested technology in subzero conditions, he comes face to face with his own mortality. It takes years for Balog to see the fruits of his labor. His hauntingly beautiful videos compress years into seconds and capture ancient mountains of ice in motion as they disappear at a breathtaking rate. Chasing Ice depicts a photographer trying to deliver evidence and hope to our carbon-powered planet.
Best Documentary Berkshire Film Festival, Best Documentary Big Sky Film Festival, Best Documentary Crested Butte Film Festival, Audience Award South By Southwest Film Festival, Audience Award Hot Docs Film Festival, Audience Award Berwick Film Festival, Audience Award Brattleboro Film Festival, Audience Award DocuWest Film Festival, Audience Award Eckerd College Environmental Film Festival, Audience Award Palo Alto Film Festival, Audience Award Port Townsend Film Festival, Audience Award Princeton Environmental Film Festival, Audience Award River Run Film Festival, Audience Award Seattle Film Festival (Runner-up Audience Award), Audience Award Take One Action Film Festival, Audience Award Waimea Ocean Film Festival
Best Adventure Film Boulder Film Festival, Jury Special Mention Prize and Turin Province Student Council Award CinemAmbiente, Cinematography Award CinemaEye Honors for Nonfiction Filmmaking, Best Feature Length Film and Best Featured Film DocuWest Film Festival, Nicholas School Environmental Award Full Frame Film Festival, Heartland Truly Moving Picture Award, Norman Vaughan Indomitable Spirit Award MountainFilm in Telluride, React To Film Social Issue Award Silverdocs Film Festival, Best Environmental Film Award Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival –Festival Director Award Waimea Ocean Film Festival, Youth Jury Award For Best Film XI Baikal International Festival, Best Film Tatra Mountains National Park Director
Condor's Shadow - 2013
Director: Jeff McLoughlin
A year-in-the-life journey through endangered species recovery, revealing the realities of bringing the iconic California condor back from the brink of extinction.
Filmed in the rugged California habitat of the condor, the film interweaves scenes of the extreme lengths that biologists will take to reestablish a self-sustaining wild condor population with insights from conservations, scientists, zoo keepers and hunters to explore the dilemma of the very first recovery program to be executed after the passage of the Endangered Species Act.
Official selection of the Santa Barbara International Film Festival 2013
Finalist International Wildlife Film Festival 2013
Best Documentary CCFS San Luis Obispo International Film Festival 2013
Eggsploitation - 2010
Director: Jennifer Lahl/Justin Baird
The infertility industry in the United States has grown to a multi-billion dollar business. What is its main commodity? Human eggs. Young women all over the world are solicited by ads—via college campus bulletin boards, social media, online classifieds—offering up to $100,000 for their “donated” eggs, to “help make someone’s dream come true.” But who is this egg donor? Is she treated justly? What are the short- and long-term risks to her health? Eggsploitation spotlights the booming business of human eggs, told through the tragic and revealing stories of real women who became involved and whose lives have been changed forever.
Best Documentary California Independent Film Festival 2011
End Credits - 2013 - (Subtitles)
Director: Alexander Decommere
The filmmakers point their camera at euthanasia in practice, ten years since the Belgian law was finalized in 2002. Adelin, 83, and Eva, 34, two very different people face their final stages of life, while those who played important roles in the fight to legalize euthanasia in Belgium, try to define how the right to live (and die) should or shouldn't be changed today.
GMO OMG - 2013
Director: Jeremy Seifert
GMO OMG explores the systematic corporate takeover and potential loss of humanity's most precious and ancient inheritance: seeds.
Today in the United States, by the simple acts of feeding themselves, people are unwittingly participating in the largest experiment ever conducted on human beings. Each of us unknowingly consumes genetically engineered food on a daily basis. The risks and effects to our health and the environment are largely unknown.
GMO OMG tells the story of a fathers discovery of GMOs in relationship to his 3 young children and the world around him. Follow his family's struggle to live and eat without participating in an unhealthy, unjust, and destructive food system.
Audience Choice Yale Environmental Film Festival
Best Documentary Berkshire International Film Festival
Hidden Pictures - 2013
Director: Delaney Ruston
Artistically crafted, with unforgettable characters, Hidden Pictures is unprecedented in its scope. The filmmaker, who grew up under the shadow of her dad's mental illness, takes us on her extraordinary journey to uncover personal stories into mental illness across the globe. Moments of profound frustration and unparalleled compassion emerge. Ultimately we witness the incredible change that individuals around the world are bringing about.
It's a Girl - 2012
Director: Evan Grae Davis
In India, China and many other parts of the world today, girls are killed, aborted and abandoned simply because they are girls. The United Nations estimates as many as 200 million girls are missing in the world today because of this so-called “gendercide.” Girls who survive infancy are often subject to neglect, and many grow up to face extreme violence and even death at the hands of their own husbands or other family members. The war against girls is rooted in centuries-old tradition and sustained by deeply ingrained cultural dynamics which, in combination with government policies, accelerate the elimination of girls. The film tells the stories of abandoned and trafficked girls, of women who suffer extreme dowry-related violence, of brave mothers fighting to save their daughters’ lives, and of other mothers who would kill for a son. Global experts and grassroots activists put the stories in context and advocate different paths towards change, while collectively lamenting the lack of any truly effective action against this injustice.
Marta's Suitcase - 2013
Director: Günter Schwaiger
Marta’s Suitcase is a powerful view of domestic violence that digs into the souls of the victim and abuser.
Gender-based violence remains a serious problem in modern society. Marta's case is particularly significant because it breaks many stereotypes about gender violence, and it shows that there is no profile for battered women. Marta lives in hiding because her ex-husband, who brutally assaulted years ago, has been paroled from prison. Her struggle for a free and safe life contrasts with the commitment and conviction of Harald, an Austrian psychotherapist, to help men abandon violence.
Music Concert: One Room - a story connecting us all - 0 - (Music)
Director: Fish Creek Concerts
A free music concert featuring the musicians: Maria Dunn, Bob Jahrig, Jessica Heine, Chloe Albert along with the photographic images of Sharon Nolan
Past Juno-nominated songwriter Maria Dunn draws deeply on the folk tradition of storytelling through song. Melding North American roots music with her Scottish-Irish heritage, she sings about the resilience and grace of “ordinary” people, past and present, as on her new recording Piece By Piece, inspired by immigrant women working at a Western Canadian clothing factory. Maria has released four previous independent CDs including: The Peddler (Nominee - 2009 Canadian Folk Music Award) and For A Song (Nominee - 2002 Juno Award), all produced by Shannon Johnson (2007 Juno-winning band The McDades).
In addition to developing and touring two multimedia people’s history shows, GWG: Piece by Piece and Troublemakers: Working Albertans, 1900 – 1950, with videographer Don Bouzek, Maria performs at festivals and theatres in Canada, Europe (2008 Celtic Connections, Glasgow; Netherlands Tour 2011) and USA (2006 Smithsonian Folk Life Festival, Washington, DC). Media features include: Bravo TV (The Carol Project), CBC National Radio (Sunday Edition), CKUA Alberta, BBC Radio Scotland. Her songs are published in Sing Out! and Penguin Eggs magazines and recorded by other artists including Niamh Parsons, The Outside Track, Bob Bossin.
An Edmonton based singer/songwriter, Bob Jahrig has been involved in the Alberta music scene for a number of years. His debut CD, Tree Tops, was released in 2002 his second CD, Colour of the Moon, in 2008.
Bob’s songwriting reveals his love of language, melody and a search for beauty in the human spirit and the natural world. His unique guitar style and unforgettable voice complement a poetic lyricism. His inspiration comes from family, his hobby as an amateur astronomer and the wilderness he experienced growing up in northern Ontario, Alaska and Alberta.
When Bob was invited to participate in the “One Room” project, he saw it as an opportunity to honour and acknowledge this sometimes dispossessed segment of our society, the elderly. “As artists, our responsibility is to articulate the deeper sentiments of a life lived, the dreams and aspirations on behalf of those who do not or cannot express themselves in this way. The relationship we have with a picture depends on our knowledge and experience of what we are observing. Writing songs to accompany these lovely photographs makes this relationship more personal and more meaningful.”
Jessica Heine (hi-na) is an Edmonton based singer songwriter. A graduate of the University of Alberta with a BMus in vocal performance she revels in singing the occasional operatic aria, but her passion is folk music and storytelling through song. She has performed at The Edmonton Folk Music Festival and Medicine Hat’s Tongue on the Post Festival, has been a finalist in songwriting contests in Calgary and Texas (Kerrville New Folk Competition 2007), and in 2010 performed in the Songwriter Showcase at the Rocky Mountain Folks Festival in Lyons, Colorado. In the spring of 2010, Heine was commissioned to write a song for Tourism Jasper, and the song, “Give Me Jasper” has been used in ads for the national park. After two years in Yellowknife, NT, Heine is back in Edmonton, working on material for a new album.
Edmonton's own Chloe Albert is well on her way to becoming acquainted with the rest of North America one song at a time. Her independently released debut album 'Dedicated State' garnered the attention of the Canadian Folk Music Awards, where Chloe took home the 'Emerging Artist of the Year' Award in 2008. Since then, Chloe has had continuous radio play on CBC Radio 2, and several #1 spots on indie radio charts across North America. Folk rocker Jim Cuddy himself has even requested Chloe's music during a live co-host broadcast on CBC Radio2! Her catchy and carefully crafted songwriting has been recognized in recent years by the Calgary Folk Music Festival Songwriting Contest, and also by Nashville's 'East Side Music Festival' songwriting contest, where Chloe landed as a top three finalist.
A solid guitarist and percussionist, Chloe recently played all of the percussion on 'The Engadine Sessions: Come To The Mountain' album - a compilation, written and recorded when Juno Award Winner Suzie Vinnick, Cara Luft, Kat Danser, Cori Brewster, Karla Anderson, and Chloe were put together to collaborate and record at Mount Engadine Lodge in May of 2012.
This June, Chloe's highly anticipated sophomore album 'Dream Catcher' was released, and has already been tagged a 'soon to be Canadian Classic' by Edmontonians. Within weeks of its release to radio, it was sitting in CKUA's 'Hot Box' among the radio DJ's favourite albums. Shortly after in June/July, the record reached #1 on the CKUA charts, #1 on CKDU in Halifax, and #5 in all of Canada on the Folk/Roots/Blues charts alongside Steve Earle and Ian Tyson. 'Dream Catcher' is a must have for this summer!
My Way to Olympia - 2013
Director: Niko von Glasow
This highly personal and surprisingly funny documentary shares the story of the director who thinks sports “suck” – and especially of those who pursue it. Niko von Glasow, ‘Germany’s one and only short-armed director,’ travels the world to meet athletes preparing for the 2012 Paralympics: one-armed table tennis player Aida Husic Dahlen from Norway; boccia champion Greg Polychronidis from Greece who is paralysed from the neck down; short-armed archer Matt Stutzman from the USA; one-legged swimmer Christiane Reppe from Germany and Rwanda’s sitting volleyball team. The director takes an upbeat and self-critical look at what pushes these athletes to their physical and mental limits and discovers how sport has given them the courage to face life. Their testimonials are so convincing that, with each encounter, the director’s own aversion to any kind of sporting activity begins to wane. The film’s impressive, at times slow motion images document these athletes’ physical and mental strength and extreme focus.
Shift Change - 2012
Director: Mark Dworkin
Shift Change tells the little known stories of employee owned businesses that compete successfully in today’s economy while providing secure, dignified jobs in democratic workplaces.
With the long decline in US manufacturing and today’s economic crisis, millions have been thrown out of work, and many are losing their homes. The usual economic solutions are not working, so some citizens and public officials are ready to think outside of the box, to reinvent our failing economy in order to restore long term community stability and a more egalitarian way of life.
There is growing interest in firms that are owned and managed by their workers. Such firms tend to be more profitable and innovative, and more committed to the communities where they are based. Yet the public has little knowledge of their success, and the promise they offer for a better life.
State of Control - 2013 - (Special Sneak Peek/ Rough-Cut Screening)
Director: Christian Johnston / Darren Mann
Following two American filmmakers as they travel undercover in China and Tibet during one of the most precarious times in the country’s’ recent history as a police state, and full-scale media blackout that began in 2008 and continues to this day.
Forced to flee and return to the US, the filmmakers continue to roll-camera as they work with leading cyber security experts to confirm that multiple members of their production team were victims of cyber attacks proved to have originated in China. They realize they are not the only targets but are one small piece of the currently unfolding reality of global cyber-crime activity where seemingly nobody - individual activists, corporate giants or even governments - is immune.
The Defector - 2012
Director: Ann Shin
Dragon is a human smuggler who leads North Korean defectors across borders for a living. Sook-Ja and Yong-hee are only two of roughly 300,000 North Koreans who have escaped starvation conditions and are living in hiding in China. With no status or rights, they live in constant fear of being deported back to North Korea where they would face imprisonment, torture or possible execution. The Defector humanizes the harrowing experience of illegal migrants, who are rendered invisible when forced to travel as commodities across closed borders, and the network of aid workers who risk their lives to help along the way. With the help of satellite images, smuggled footage and multimedia tools The Defector is able to expose the true nature of life in North Korea, never before seen on film.
The Earth Wins - 2013
Director: Jerry Grayson
Quite the most excellent cross between environmental and symphonic documentary, this ambitious film is shot entirely from the air in four continents. The Earth Wins is a tribute to the many wonders of Mother Earth. The film explores the delicate balance between man & Mother Earth, our inter-dependence & the impact of man's actions upon the Earth & her inhabitants. The camera effortlessly glides over disaster zones, beautiful, rugged and remote locations, favelas and slums as it knowing that whatever humankind may do, the Earth will always win. The Earth Wins is a moving, provocative, visceral cinematic experience celebrating the magnificent diversity of the Earth's riches.
The Gate Keepers - 2012
Director: Dror Moreh
For the first time ever, six former heads of Israel’s domestic secret service agency, the Shin Bet, share their insights and reflect publicly on their actions and decisions. Since the Six Day War in 1967, Israel has failed to transform its crushing military victory into a lasting peace. Throughout that entire period, these heads of the Shin Bet stood at the center of Israel's decision-making process in all matters pertaining to security. They worked closely with every Israeli prime minister, and their assessments and insights had—and continue to have—a profound impact on Israeli policy. The Gatekeepers offers an exclusive account of the sum of their successes and failures. In the process it sheds light on the controversy surrounding the Occupation in the aftermath of the Six Day War.
Yasuni - 2013
Director: Nicolas Entel
Yasuní National Park in Ecuador’s Amazon rainforest is rich with biodiversity, untouched by globalization, and nomadic indigenous groups live in complete isolation.
The quandary the country faces is that this untouched land sits on billions of dollars worth of oil reserves, and close to a third of the country's population lives below the poverty line. Do they try to preserve this biological gem or cash it in?
Films shown at 2013 Film Nights
Bitter Seeds - 2011
Director: Micha X. Peled
An epidemic of farmer suicides in India—one every 30 minutes
Bitter Seeds depicts the bleak situation for cotton farmers in India pressured to buy genetically modified (GMO) seeds from Monsanto that promise higher yields. Seed-pushers urge women to tell their husbands to “plant Bt seeds,” and to illiterate farmers, they hand out leaflets with photos and testimonials from other Indian "farmers," until against their own better judgment, the farmers inevitably succumb to the salesman's pressure.
Traditionally, Indian farmers used seeds from the previous year's crop, and fertilizer made from cow dung and compost. The film explains that the GMO seeds are designed to be sterile for only a single year's use so farmers are forced to buy new seeds every year. The GMO seeds also require expensive pesticides and chemical fertilizers.
Traditional seeds have disappeared. With no other seeds available, farmers become trapped in a cycle of debt trying to make a living growing genetically engineered crops. Many farmers have nothing to offer as collateral besides their land, so if a crop fails due to lack of rain or parasite infestation, and they can’t pay back the loans, they lose everything. Completely broke, broken, and desperate more than 250,000 farmers have killed themselves since 1995, many by drinking the pesticide they spreads on their crops.
Surviving Progress - 2012
Director: Mathieu Roy, Harold Crooks
“Every time history repeats itself the price goes up.”
Surviving Progress brings us thinkers such as Stephen Hawking, Jane Goodall, David Suzuki, Margaret
Atwood, Jim Thomas and many more who provide warnings, suggest solutions, and offer hope as to how the
dangerous path we the world is on can move towards a more sustainable future.
Inspired by Ronald Wright’s bestseller, A Short History of Progress, SURVIVING PROGRESS, exposes the
grave risks we pose to our own survival in the name of progress. The film shows how civilizations are
repeatedly seduced and destroyed by "progress traps" - alluring belief systems around human advancement
(technology, economics, consumption, and environment) that serve immediate needs, but ransom the future
with long term consequences. While there is an extraordinary range of goods and services available on the
world market, there is also increased pressure on a dwindling supply of non-renewable natural resources, a
damaged environment, a faltering global economy, and large parts of the world are demanding higher
standards of living in the face of bankrupt nations. Has the world become a victim of its own desire for
The Avenue - 2012
Director: Jaimie Clements
As cities across Canada are faced with the growing epidemic of urban flight, city cores are becoming a place somewhat of a wasteland. Neglected buildings, decreased populations, and increased crime, lay in the wake of urban sprawl and the lure of the suburbs.
For years 118th Avenue in Edmonton has been synonymous with drugs, crime and prostitution. But now, that image is changing. The Avenue exposes the heart of the people residing around 118th Avenue as they take back their neighbourhood through grassroots initiatives, leaving their community stronger in their wake. This timely documentary highlights the Community’s struggle to have the infamous Cromdale Hotel demolished, a longstanding magnet for crime, and follows the growing arts emergence that has brought festivals like the increasingly popular Kaleido Family Arts Festival to 118th Avenue, making the area an arts destination. But can they overcome the negative reputation their community is plagued with and revitalize their neighbourhood without falling into the pitfalls of gentrification?
The Price of Sex - 2011
Director: Mimi Chakarova
The Price of Sex is an investigative journey into the underground sex trafficking market where young rural Eastern European women have been drawn into slavery, rape, and abuse as poverty pushes them to leave their hometowns, for survival, when promises of working abroad lead them to being sold into a world of pimps, brothels, and sex clubs. Intimate, harrowing and revealing, the Price of Sex brings Chakarova face to face with trafficked women willing to trust her and appear on film undisguised. The story told through personal accounts by the very survivors who were supposed to be silenced by shame, fear and violence.
Photojournalist Chakarova, who grew up in Bulgaria, seeks to shine light on the shadowy underbelly of globalization, give a voice to women, expose the root causes of why women continue to be sold into prostitution against their will, and examines what can be done to stop it.
Daniel Pearl Award for Outstanding International Investigative Reporting
Nestor Almendros Award for courage in filmmaking, Human Rights Watch Film Festival