FCFF 2019 documentaries category is proudly sponsored by:
Note: the symbol denotes that a film is an official selection in competition and will be eligible for the Old Oak Audience Choice Award.
FOREST CITY - A DOCUMENTARY FILM
TICKETS: #18 - Saturday, October 26, 12:30PM AT MUSEUM
Director: Caroline Nolan | Producer: Caroline Nolan, Red Tale Films Inc.
Synopsis: Witnessing a six-acre forest be clear-cut for houses in London, Canada, from her 12th floor condo, Caroline Nolan explores urban forest issues and family roots.
Southwestern Ontario connection: The inspirational seed for “Forest City” was the clear-cut of a mature forest that Caroline Nolan witnessed from the balcony of her 12th floor condo in the Hyde Park area of London, Ontario. She instinctively began filming what she saw, and eventually a chance connection led her to Wesley Edgar, a London-based photographer/videographer who jumped on board. Many other members of the production are also from the region.
Points of Interest: Caroline thinks it is important to note that many are aware "deforestation" believing that it is something that only happens in the Amazon rainforest and other remote and wild locations such as up north, far away from cities. Yet the reality is that as cities around the world grow, forests are disappearing. Canadians may not realize that more and more valuable forests are being sacrificed for urban growth, right in their own backyards because it is so hard to see the bigger picture, to get that hawk's eye view. That is what is unique about this film, how it originated with being confronted suddenly with Caroline Nolan having to watch a six-acre mature urban forest be clear-cut from start to finish to make way for 66 single-detached family homes from the point of view, if you like, of a Red Tail Hawk. However as more and more people live in urban environments and our cities footprints grow, protecting our urban forests for habitat, human health and climate change resiliency has never been more important. As a silent witness to this urban forest takedown, Caroline Nolan explores the many complex issues related to urban planning and development, and invites viewers to think harder for themselves about what kind of future they believe we should be collectively creating for future generations.
ILLUSIONS OF CONTROL
TICKETS: #19 - Saturday, October 26, 12:30PM AT IMAGINE | #31 - Sunday, October 27, 12:30PM AT WOLF
Director: Shannon Walsh | Producer: Shannon Walsh & Andrea Schmidt
Synopsis: Illusions of Control follows five compelling and surprising stories of the ways people live on in the wake of human-created disasters.
Southwestern Ontario connection: Shannon Walsh grew up in London and went to high school at South and at HB Beal and BealArt.
Points of Interest: The largest toxic clean up project in Canada is documented in the film, as we follow Stacey from the Yellowknives Dene in Yellowknife NWT.
Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and The Band
TICKETS: #28 - Saturday October 26 8:50 PM AT IMAGINE
Director: Daniel Roher | Producer: Martin Scorsese, Brian Grazer, Ron Howard
Directed by Daniel Roher (Ghosts of Our Forest) and executive produced by Martin Scorsese, Brian Grazer, and Ron Howard, the feature documentary follows Robertson from his early life in Toronto and on the Six Nations of the Grand River reserve, in Southern Ontario, to the creation of legendary roots-rock group The Band.
He made music history several times over. He lived the rock star life at its peak. The depth and soul of his songwriting continues to influence countless artists all over the world. And it all started in a little corner of Southern Ontario. Born in Toronto and inspired to make music on the nearby Six Nations of the Grand River reserve, Robbie Robertson is a homegrown icon with a singular story to tell.
Daniel Roher's film draws you right into Robertson's orbit as he recounts his early formation, the talent, hard work, and happy accidents that led to his fame with The Band, and the conflicts that consumed them. "It was a beautiful thing," he recalls. "It was so beautiful it went up in flames." Rare archival images, Robertson's memory for detail, and contributions from friends such as Eric Clapton, Bruce Springsteen, and Martin Scorsese conjure up a glorious era of creativity and excess that can never quite be repeated.
Through it all, the rhythm of Robertson's art hums — the yearning, the focus, and the ability to dig inside himself for lyrics and music that could speak to stadiums. He wrote his first song for Ronnie Hawkins when he was 15. Not 10 years later, he'd already struck up a productive partnership with Bob Dylan, and The Band were recording Music from Big Pink at a secluded country house in Upstate New York. But as The Band reached their creative peak, the seeds of their destruction were growing: egos, jealousies, and various intoxicants began to tear them apart.
Offering unprecedented access to rock history, Once Were Brothers tells the story of one remarkable Canadian's contribution to the music we now call Americana.
Southwestern Ontario connection: Robbie Roberston learned to play the guitar on the Six Nations Reserve near Brantford in SWO.
TICKETS: #4 - Thursday, October 24, 7:30PM SCREENING AND AFTER PARTY AT WOLF| Thursday, October 24, 5PM VIP LERNERS FCFF OPENING PARTY + SCREENING AND AFTER PARTY| #9 - Friday, October 25, 3PM AT IMAGINE
Documentary by Border City Pictures, Dir. Matt Gallagher
Winner of the prestigious 2019 Hot Docs Rogers Audience Choice Award for Best Canadian Feature and the DGC Special Jury Prize, PREY is a riveting and unflinching account of a survivor of clergy sexual abuse and his civil lawyer as they take on the Catholic Church.
Widespread sexual abuse within the Church has traumatized thousands globally. PREY follows one survivor as he pursues justice through a public trial in the hopes of forcing the dark and hidden story of clergy sexual abuse to light.
The plaintiff in the landmark Canadian court case was abused for years as a boy at the hands of a Catholic priest fifty years ago. His civil lawyer has filed 395 suits against the Church, earning him the nickname “The Priest Hunter”.
The defendants at trial are The Basilians, a Catholic religious order. The abuser makes his presence known in court in the form of a haunting video deposition taken before his death — a taped confession sealed from public view until now.
The trial is not about guilt or innocence, but about how much money the church must pay in compensation for the devastating fallout from the abuse. More importantly, for the plaintiff, it is about exposing the truth of how and why the sexual abuse of children can have gone on for so long without the Church stopping it.
PREY documents one survivor’s efforts to seek justice. A story that echoes thousands of other sexual abuse victims’ stories around the world.
Southwestern Ontario connection: Rob Talach, the lawyer is a London Lawyer. Matt Gallagher, the director, grew up in Windsor. Much of this story takes place in Southwestern Ontario.
ROOM TO GROW
TICKETS: #35 - Sunday, October 27, 10AM AT WOLF
Director: Jon Garcia & Matt Alber | Producer: Jon Garcia & Matt Alber
Synopsis: For many queer people, some of our toughest years were when we were teenagers living at home. Homophobic parents and school environments often made life unbearable. Now meet the next generation of queer youth, forging a path of love, with the support of their families. In the face of one of the harshest political climates, with homophobia and racism on the rise, these fearless teenagers are claiming their identities and taking the world by storm. This is an intimate documentary look into what it means to be an LGBTQ teen today.
Southwestern Ontario connection: Ayden, one of the protagonists in the documentary has become a close personal friend of Co-Producer/Co-director Matt Alber. Matt is a well known musician as well as a filmmaker and he performed at the Aeolian Theatre in London where he met Ayden and learned of her beautiful story as a queer Native American individual.
the faces we lost
TICKETS: #35 - Sunday, October 27, 3PM AT WOLF - INTERNATIONAL SCREENING
Director: Piotr Cieplak | Producer: Piotr Cieplak, Clementine Dusabejambo
Synopsis:The 1994 genocide in Rwanda claimed almost a million lives in just 100 days. The world stood by as men, women and children were being hacked to death by machetes. When the international community finally decided it was time to pay attention, it did so through memorable photographs of mutilated bodies and seas of nameless refugees. But many Rwandans remember their loved ones through images of life, not death: a passport or I.D. card photo, an unguarded snap taken in the garden or a group portrait from a wedding or a baptism. The surviving images are precious objects, with so many destroyed and lost forever. A lot of people have only a solitary image of their loved ones. Many have none at all.
The Faces We Lost follows nine Rwandans (survivors, relatives of victims and professional memory-makers), who guide us through their stories and share their experiences, remembrance and images. It is the first documentary to explore the many functions of these priceless photographs, and one of the few films to engage with Rwandans as users of images, rather than simply their subjects.
The Faces We Lost also explores the professional aspect of memory-making in Rwanda: The Genocide Archive (which holds thousands of original images donated by the victims’ relatives) and the Kigali Genocide Memorial (where many of the photographs are on public display). As the private and the public meet and as each person recounts their relationship with the photographs they have or they wish they had, The Faces We Lost moves to paint a complex memorial landscape of contemporary Rwanda.
THE WOMAN WHO LOVES GIRAFFES
TICKETS: #14 - Saturday, October 26, 10AM AT WOLF
Director Alison Reid
Dr. Anne Innis Dagg re-traces the steps of her ground-breaking 1956 journey to South Africa to study giraffes in the wild. Now, at 85 years old, Anne sees a startling contrast between the world of giraffes she once knew and the one it has become. Weaving through the past and present, her harrowing journey gives us an intimate look into the factors that destroyed her career and the forces that brought her back.
SWO Connection: Dagg has lived and worked in Waterloo for many years.
TICKETS: #36 - Sunday, October 27, 2:35PM AT GOOD
Director: Travis Hayden-Rowe | Producer: Eric Green
Synopsis: Featuring interviews from legal, medical and law enforcement experts, Weekender tells the story of Scott Grandy, his addiction, recovery, and time within Canada's justice system.
Southwestern Ontario connection: Director Travis Hayden-Rowe and producer Eric Green are both Hamilton, Ontario natives, and Mr. Green is a graduate of Western University's UMAJ Journalism program, having previously lived and worked in London. With the exception of the films' primary subject, Scott Grandy, the entirety of the cast and interview subjects are from Southwestern Ontario and Weekender was shot on location across the region.
Points of Interest: The film is an in-depth discussion of the struggles of addiction, both in and of themselves and specifically within the framework of those addicts living within the Canadian justice system.
WHERE IN THE HELL IS THE LAVENDER HOUSE? - the longmont potion castle story
TICKETS: #21 - Saturday, October 26, 2:45PM AT GOOD
Director: David Hall, Thomas Rotenburg | Producer: David Hall, Longmont Potion Castle, Vivek Venkatesh
Synopsis: The fully authorized and official story of legendary anonymous prank-caller Longmont Potion Castle.
Southwestern Ontario connection: David Hall wrote the film in London, Ontario, where he lives.
Points of Interest: Rainn Wilson (Dwight from The Office) is executive producer and appears in the film.
WHO LET THE DOGS OUT
TICKETS: #8 - Friday, October 25, 2:40PM AT WOLF
Director: Brent Hodge | Producer: Aly Kelly, Ben Sisto
How many years has 'Who Let The Dogs Out' been stuck in your head? Ruffly 17 years? Or did it pop back in your head just now looking at the song's name after years of blissful silence? Either way, the hook has got staying power. A power that dates back to as early as 1959 and possibly before.
Answering the age old question of who exactly let the dogs out is more complicated than anyone ever thought. Fortunately, Ben Sisto has dedicated seven years to exploring and exposing a story steeped in show business, legal battles, female empowerment, artistic integrity and one very catchy hook.
Sisto, a marketer and cultural programmer for the Ace Hotel in New York, first fell down the rabbit hole in 2010 when he learned it was "Who Let The Dogs Out"'s 10 year anniversary. At the time, its Wikipedia page gave a simple, uncited explanation that the original song was recorded off a parade float by a hairdresser named Keith.
Unemployed at the time, Sisto made his mission of the day to fix that citation. Now, almost a decade later, Sisto has finally pieced together the song's origin...
SWO Connection: John Diemer, the writer and sound mixer, grew up in London.