October 2013 films
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 17
6 p.m. – BLOOD BROTHER
United States / 2012 / 93 minutes / Rated: PG
(English and Tamil with English subtitles)
Director: Steve Hoover
Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award, 2013 Sundance Film Festival
“Documentaries don’t come any more big-hearted than Blood Brother.” – Variety
This beautiful film about the power of love won the Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award at Sundance this year. Growing up in difficult circumstances, American Rocky Braat longed to find a family. Travelling in India, on a whim he visited a care centre for women and children living with HIV and AIDS. It was a visit that would transform his life. Unlike others who had passed through the lives of the children, Rocky found his calling working and living with them – and he moved to India to restart his life among the dispossessed. Dedicating himself to their health and well-being, the man the children call ‘Rocky Anna’ (‘brother’ in Tamil) is a father figure, brother and friend – someone the kids can count on – in this beautifully crafted and intimate film.
8.30 p.m. – WOMANISH WAYS
The Bahamas / 2012 / 73 minutes / Rated: G
Directors: Marion Bethel, Maria Govan
Best Documentary, 2013 Urban Suburban Film Festival (Philadelphia)
“My heart was overwhelmed.” – Loretta Butler-Turner, M.P., The Bahamas
Womanish Ways: Freedom, Human Rights and Democracy, the Women’s Suffrage Movement in The Bahamas 1948-1962 honours and celebrates the leaders who struggled for more than a decade to win the right to vote for women. Five Bahamian women – Mary Ingraham, Georgiana Symonette, Mabel Walker, Eugenia Lockhart and Dame Dr. Doris Johnson – led the movement. Using photographs and found footage, together with interviews with women and men who supported the movement, the film is a stirring account of this important period in Bahamian history. Viewers will find the parallels with Bermuda’s history compelling. Bahamian women voted for the first time on November 26, 1962, some three years after full male suffrage had been granted.
Co-director Marion Bethel will attend, and take part in a Q and A session after the film.
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 18
6 p.m. – ANITA: SPEAKING TRUTH TO POWER
United States / 2013 / 84 minutes / Rated: PG
Director: Freida Mock
World Premiere, 2013 Sundance Film Festival
“Enthralling and revealing.” –The Hollywood Reporter
Four sold out screenings at the Sundance Film Festival sent the clear message that Anita Hill’s courage is remembered well. In 1991, the relatively unknown University of Oklahoma law professor was thrust into the spotlight when she was subpoenaed toappear before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee hearings into the suitability of her former boss, Clarence Thomas, to become a U.S. Supreme Court justice. In the face of often hostile questioning Hill stood firm and her testimony greatly influenced the recognition of the issue of sexual harassment in the workplace. More than 20 years on, in this intimate portrait, she reflects on how her testimony affected her life – and her nation. Today, Hill is a professor of social policy, law and gender equality at Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts.
8.30 p.m. – THE SUMMIT
United Kingdom-Ireland / 2012 / 98 minutes / Rated: R
(English and Italian, Basque and Nepalese with English subtitles)
Director: Nick Ryan
World Cinema Editing Award, 2013 Sundance Film Festival
“A heart-throbbing experience.” – The Hollywood Reporter
K2, the second-highest mountain in the world, is renowned as the most dangerous and revered by mountaineers as their ultimate challenge. In August 2008, 18 of 24 climbers reached the summit of K2. Forty-eight hours later, 11 people were dead. What happened on that fateful day has never been resolved. Using found footage, interviews with survivors and re-enactments, The Summit tells the story of the deadliest day on the world’s most dangerous mountain. At the heart of the mystery is the story of Ger McDonnell, one extraordinary man who chose to risk his own life to save others. With the help of breathtaking cinematography by Robbie Ryan and Stephen O’Reilly, director Nick Ryan creates a tension- filled, experiential film that will have viewers on the edge of their seats.
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 19
2 p.m. – PEOPLE OF A FEATHER
Canada / 2012 / 90 minutes / Rated: G
(English and Inuktitut with English subtitles)
Director: Joel Heath
Best Documentary, Reel Earth Film Festival (New Zealand)
“Breathtaking.” – The Globe and Mail
The winner of 10 international festival awards, this is a breathtaking journey into the remote world of the Inuit people of the Belcher Islands in Hudson Bay in the Canadian territory of Nunavut. Filmed over seven winters, Arctic ecologist and cinematographer Joel Heath uses astounding time-lapse photography and spectacular underwater footage to craft the compelling story of a community challenged by a changing environment. The Inuit have long had a unique cultural relationship with the eider duck. Eider down, the warmest feather in the world, allows both Inuit and bird to survive harsh Arctic winters – but now they are being threatened by changing sea ice and ocean currents. Linking environmental change and cultural evolution, the film is an eye- opening exploration of man’s place, and our role, in the life cycle.
4.15 p.m. – THE LIFE AND CRIMES OF DORIS PAYNE
United States / 2013 / 73 minutes / Rated: PG
Directors: Matthew Pond, Kirk Marcolina
Official Selection, 2013 Hot Docs Festival
“Four stars … a must-see!” – NOW Toronto
Having used 32 aliases, 10 birthdates, 11 social security numbers and nine passports, glamorous 82-year-old Doris Payne is as unapologetic about her 60 years as an international jewel thief as she was the day she stole her first carat. As she says, when the game is rigged from the start, is it unfair to cheat? Doris retraces her steps–Paris, Monte Carlo, Tokyo, Miami, New York – telling how she managed to jet-set her way into any Cartier or Tiffany’s, and emerge with a small fortune. The film probes beyond her consummate smile to uncover the secrets of her trade and what drove her to a life of crime. This is a fascinating tale of carats, cons – and creating your own American dream.
6.15 p.m. – DIRTY WARS
United States / 2012 / 87 minutes / Rated: R
(English and Dari, Pashto, Somali and Arabic with English subtitles)
Director: Richard Rowley
U.S. Excellence in Cinematography Award, 2013 Sundance Film Festival
“Persuasive and deeply troubling.” – Film Journal International
It’s the dirty little secret of the War on Terror: all bets are off, and almost anything goes. The United States has fundamentally changed the rules of the game and the rules of engagement. Today drone strikes, night raids, and U.S. government–condoned torture occur in corners across the globe, generating unprecedented civilian casualties. Investigative reporter Jeremy Scahill (author of Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army) traces the rise of the Joint Special Operations Command, the most secret fighting force in U.S. history, exposing operations carried out by men who do not exist on paper and will never appear before Congress. No target is off-limits for the JSOC “kill list,” even a U.S. citizen. Director Richard Rowley takes us on a chilling ride with whistle-blower Scahill.
8.30 p.m. – THE TRIALS OF MUHAMMAD ALI
United States / 2013 / 92 minutes / Rated: PG
Director: Bill Siegel
Official Selection, 2013 Tribeca Film Festival
“The best Muhammad Ali doc I’ve ever seen.” – The Nation
The Trials of Muhammad Ali covers the explosive crossroads of Ali’s life. When Cassius Clay becomes Muhammad Ali, his conversion to Islam and refusal to serve in the Vietnam War leave him banned from boxing and facing a five-year prison sentence. Ali’s choice of belief and conscience over fame and fortune resonates far beyond the boxing ring, striking issues of race, faith and identity. The film includes fascinating home movie footage of his early days in Louisville, Kentucky, fight sequences against rivals such as Sonny Liston, Floyd Patterson and Jerry Quarry, and compelling footage of his conversion to Islam and his protracted fight for justice – and the right to resume his boxing career. Photo by David Fenton, Getty Images.
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 20
3 p.m. – MAIDENTRIP
United States / 2013 / 82 minutes / Rated: G
(English and Dutch with English subtitles)
Director: Jillian Schlesinger
Audience Award, 2013 SXSW Film Festival
“An immersive first-person chronicle.” – The Hollywood Reporter
This remarkable film is about the life and adventures of Dutch sailor Laura Dekker, who in 2012 became the youngest person ever to sail around the world alone. She was just 14 when she set out in 2010 on her 38-foot ketch, Guppy, without a follow boat or support team. Using a Sony Handycam, and mounted GoPro cameras, she narrates her voyage as she braves the treacherous Torres Strait, chooses a particular route to avoid pirates, and spends time onshore in The Galapagos Islands, St. Maarten and French Polynesia. Born in New Zealand during her parents’ seven-year sailing trip, Dekker is clearly at home on the water. Brave and determined, she reminds us that life is a journey in this well-crafted and entertaining portrait.
5.15 p.m. – SWEET DREAMS
United States-Rwanda / 2012 / 88 minutes / Rated: PG
(English and Kinyarwanda with English subtitles)
Directors: Lisa and Rob Fruchtman
Audience Award, 2013 International Female Film Festival (Malmo)
“An empowering and enjoyable story.” – The Georgia Straight
Powerful sounds pierce the silence of the Rwandan countryside. This is something new in Rwanda – a group of women, 60 strong, pounding out rhythms of power and joy. Formed to help people recover from the devastating 1994 genocide, Rwanda’s first and only women’s drumming troupe is open to women from both sides of the conflict. There is only one requirement – to leave the categories of the past at the gate. This joyful troupe has provided the women with a place to begin to live again, to build new relationships, and to heal the wounds of the past. But the struggle to provide for their families still persists, so when the troupe’s founder came up with the idea to open Rwanda’s first and only ice cream shop, the women were intrigued…
7.30 p.m. – MUSCLE SHOALS
United States / 2013 / 111 minutes / Rated: PG
Director: Greg Camalier
Audience Award, 2013 Hot Docs Festival
“Joyous, uplifting and as funky as the music at its heart.”—The Telegraph
Located alongside the Tennessee River, Muscle Shoals, Alabama is the unlikely breeding ground for some of America’s most creative and defiant music. Under the spiritual influence of the “Singing River,” as Native Americans called it, the music of Muscle Shoals has helped create some of the most important and resonant songs of all time. At its heart is Rick Hall who founded FAME Studios. Overcoming crushing poverty and staggering tragedies, Hall brought black and white together in Alabama’s cauldron of racial hostility to create music for the generations. He and the studio’s house band, The Swampers, are responsible for creating the “Muscle Shoals sound”. Keith Richards, Jimmy Cliff, Greg Allman, Etta James, Bono, Clarence Carter, Mick Jagger, Alicia Keys, Percy Sledge and others bear witness to Muscle Shoals’ magnetism, mystery and why it remains influential today.