Antigonish International Film Festival 

Oct. 26 - 28 2017

Films presented at the 2007 Film Festival

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A Tribe of His Own: The Journalism of P. Sainath - 2001 - Canada
50 min
Director: Joe Moulins
Year Presented: 2007

When government propaganda and corporate spin are increasingly presented as fact, A Tribe of His Own reminds us what the news media can be. With a groundbreaking series of newspaper articles and a critically acclaimed book, Palagummi Sainath was the first recipient of Amnesty International’s Human Rights Journalist of the Year award in 2000. We follow Sainath to the Indian villages he writes about, and explore his contention that “journalism is for people, not shareholders.” Stephen Hume writes, “Mesmerizing…this film delivers powerful insights into the enduring story of human suffering and its shining corollary, imperishable hope. Chris Award, 2002 Columbus Film Festival.
Sponsors: Film Sponsor: Coady International Institute
Betrayed - 2004 - Canada
56 min
Director: Elaine Briere
Year Presented: 2007

Canada is surrounded by three oceans, but has a single deep-sea ship flying the Canadian flag. Sixty years ago, Canada had the fourth-largest merchant fleet in the world and ships brought vital supplies to Allied Forces in Europe during World War II. The men sailing those ships were war heroes who suffered terrible losses. Their union, the Canadian Seaman’s Union (CSU) brought the eight-hour day, sick leave and pay increases to an industry known for low wages and brutal working conditions. After the war, the federal government and the ship-owners initiated a campaign to discredit the CSU by branding them as Communists. It was a time of fear and betrayal. This film traces the history of Canadian shipping from the international strike of 1949 to the globalization of coastal shipping in Australia by Canada Steamship Lines. Briere is also the Award -winning director of Bitter Paradise: The Sell-out of East Timor.
Sponsors: Political Science Department-StFX
Blossoms of Fire - 2000 -
74 min
Director: Directors: Maureen Gosling & Ellen Osborne
Year Presented: 2007

The legendary Zapotec women of southern Oaxaca, Mexico have been described as “guardians of men, distributors of food.” Blossoms of Fire shows them in all their brightly coloured, opinionated glory as they run their own businesses, embroider their signature fiery blossoms on clothing and comment with angry humour on articles in the foreign press that inaccurately depict them as a promiscuous matriarchy. A history of resisting aggressors has resulted in fierce independence and progressive politics. Their acceptance of alternative gender roles is an example of refusing to conform to a macho cultural standard. Fiestas are celebrations which build community. Award for Excellence, American Anthropological Association; Best of Festival, Sunnyside of the Art and Culture Doc Film Market, Marseilles
Sponsors: Anthropology Program-StFX, Antigonish Women’s Resource Center
Cease! Fire! - 2003 -
49 min
Director: Saw Eh Doh Wah & Scott O’Brien.
Year Presented: 2007

Kaw Lah Films (Kaw Lah Films is an indigenous film group from Burma. Karen language with English sub-title). Saw Eh Doh Wah is Karen from Burma. He was forced to flee into refugee camps in Thailand in 1995. In the refugee camp, he received photo-journalist training and coordinated a photography project with youth in the camp. In 2003, he and Scott O’Brien formed Kaw Lah Films - a group aimed at producing films for/by Indigenous peoples of Burma - and completed their first film, “Karen Education Surviving”. Scott O’Brien is a Canadian who has been working with Karen people for 10 years. His background is in Indigenous community-based education and works with a local Karen education organization along the Thai-Burma border.
Sponsors: Film Sponsor: Political Science Department -StFX
Dead in the Water - 2006 -
52 min
Director: Neil Docherty
Year Presented: 2007

One quarter of the world’s population has no access to clean drinking water. Many governments lack either the resources or the will to provide this essential commodity to their citizens. In recent years, a number of powerful companies have spotted this crisis and seen a business opportunity. In thousands of cities and towns throughout the world, often with the involvement of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, these corporations have attempted to privatize the water supply. Dead in the Water investigates the results of these efforts at privatization in several key locations, and chronicles what many see as the first in a wave of battles in the years to come.
Sponsors: Central Nova Green Party Association, OXFAM Canada, Wishing Wells
Favela Rising - 2005 -
80 min
Director: Jeff Zimbalist & Matt Mochary
Year Presented: 2007

Documents a man and a movement, a city divided and a favela united. A favela is a Brazilian squatter settlement. Haunted by the murders of family and friends, Anderson Sa, a former drug-trafficker, turns to music to rally his community to oppose the violent oppression of the drug armies and corrupt police. Just as Anderson’s grassroots Afro Reggae movement is at the height of its success, a tragic accident threatens to silence the movement. Favela Rising celebrates the strength of the human spirit to assert itself in the face of human rights violations, social injustice, and unexpected adversity. Gritty and inspiring. Numerous awards including: Film of the Year, International Documentary Association; Best Emerging Documentary Filmmaker, Tribeca Film Festival.
Sponsors: Political Science Department-StFX
Granito de Arena (Grain of Sand) - 2004 -
60 min
Director: Filmmaker: Jill Friedberg
Year Presented: 2007

For over 20 years, global economic forces have been dismantling public education in Mexico, but always in the constant shadow of popular resistance. Granito de Arena is the story of that resistance. The story of hundreds of thousands of public schoolteachers whose grassroots, non-violent movement took Mexico by surprise, and who have endured brutal repression in their 25-year struggle to defend public education. Interviews with internationally recognized figures, such as Eduardo Galeano and Maude Barlow, place the Mexican teachers’ struggle in a global context, clearly spelling out the relationship between economic globalization and the worldwide public education crisis. Nominee: International Documentary Association’s 2005 Pare Lorentz Award.
Sponsors: Lorefice Insurance, Project Accompaniment
Howard Zinn: You Can’t Be Neutral on a Moving Train - 2004 -
78 min
Director: Deb Ellis & Denis Mueller
Year Presented: 2007

Narrated by Matt Damon • Featuring music by Pearl Jam, Woody Guthrie & Billy Bragg. In these turbulent times, Howard Zinn is inspiring a new generation. This acclaimed film looks at the amazing life of the renowned historian, activist and author. Following his early days as a shipyard labour organizer and bombardier in World War II, Zinn became an academic rebel and leader of civil disobedience in a time of institutionalized racism and war. His influential writings shine light on and bring voice to factory workers, immigrant laborers, African-Americans, Native-Americans and the working poor. Featuring rare archival materials, You Can’t Be Neutral captures the essence of this extraordinary man who has been a catalyst for progressive change for more than 60 years.
Sponsors: Antigonish NDP Association, Bob Zecker (History Department-StFX), Canadian Auto Workers Union, Lorefice Insurance, Elaine MacLean & Jennifer Sullivan & Tara Taylor
Mi’kmaq Family / Migmaoei Otjiosog - 1995 - Canada
33 min
Director: Catherine Martin
Year Presented: 2007

Mi’kmaq filmmaker and mother, Catherine Anne Martin takes a reflective journey into the extended family of Nova Scotian Mi’kmaq society. Members of her community share their stories about the recovery of First Nations values, particularly through the teachings of elders. The wisdom of experiene and the collective responsibilities of the Mi’kmaq community play a major role in the way their children are raised. An enlightening and inspiring resource for both First Nations and non-First Nations audiences who are looking for ways to strenghten and explore their own families and traditions.
Sponsors: Anthropology Program-StFX
Money as Debt - 2004 -
47 min
Director: Paul Grignon
Year Presented: 2007

A clear and concise animated explanation of money and how it works in society and for whom. A short history of how lending came into being from ancient times; how banks don’t actually lend existing deposits, but materialize money out of thin air. Fascinating for all ages.
Sponsors: Bergengren Credit Union
Mr. Mergler’s Gift - 2004 -
31 min
Director: Beverly Shaffer
Year Presented: 2007

The girl sits at the piano and plays the opening bars of Für Elise. Daniel Mergler has heard the Beethoven bagatelle countless times over the decades, but this is different. He listens with surprise, and delight lights up the old man’s eyes. The young pianist is Xin Ben, the 9-year-old daughter of Chinese immigrants. Fate has brought her to Mr. Mergler, a music teacher whose career is drawing to a close. Mr. Mergler’s Gift is the moving account of a student and her mentor, and a lyrical homage to the transcendent power of music. Xin Ben illuminates Mr. Mergler’s final months with her youthful talent, and in return he lovingly guides her towards a life in music. Oscar-winning filmmaker Beverly Shaffer crafts a film of elegant simplicity and deep emotion, gracefully documenting a dying man’s dedication to his young prodigy.
Sponsors: StFX Chinese Association
Reema: There and Back - 2006 -
52 min
Director: Paul Émile d’Entremont
Year Presented: 2007

With a Canadian mother, who until recently was the only family she knew, and an Iraqi father who wants to get to know his daughter after a 16-year absence, young Reema is confronted with difficult questions about her identity. During Reema’s two-month visit with her father in Jordan, director Paul Émile d’Entremont adopts the point of view of this sensitive and lively young girl who exhibits all the contradictions typical of someone her age. When Reema returns home to Nova Scotia after a visit with her father, she realizes that she will always have a double identity, and that it is both a burden and a treasure. In French and English with subtitles.
Sponsors: Pictou-Antigonish Regional Library
Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars - 2005 -
80 min
Director: Soda Soap Productions
Year Presented: 2007

This film tells the story of a group of six Sierra Leonean musicians who came together to form a band while living as refugees in the Republic of Guinea. Forced from their homes in Sierra Leone, the members of the band represent the thousands of untold stories that exist amongst the survivors of the Sierra Leonean civil war. Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars is an inspiring story of survival and rebirth in the wake of the horrors of war and a triumphant testament to the power of music.
Sponsors: Lyghtesome Gallery
Street Nurse - 2002 - Canada
45 min
Director: Shelley Saywell
Year Presented: 2007

For years, as one of Toronto’s 50 or so street nurses, Cathy Crowe has visited the habitats of the homeless, tending to their blistered feet, infected wounds and often fragile psyches. She helps find night shelter for them when temperatures reach lethally low levels. That’s the silent, unseen, part of what she does. But it is her passionate advocacy on behalf of the homeless that has brought her into the spotlight in Toronto. This sensitive film introduces some of the people in our Canadian communities we often do not take the time to get to know. A call to action on a critical social issue.
Sponsors: Antigonish Women’s Resource Centre, School of Nursing-StFX
Sunset Story - 2003 -
73 min
Director: Laura Gabbert
Year Presented: 2007

Sunset Story is a funny and intimate documentary that will make you think differently about growing old. Set against the backdrop of a retirement home in Los Angeles for “free-thinking elderly”, the film follows Irja (81) and Lucille (95), whose feisty engagement with life draws them together inextricably. Irja and Lucille explode familiar stereotypes of doddering “old ladies”. Sharp-witted, up-to-date, and often provocative, the two are not afraid to weigh in with opinions on men, sex, gender roles, and social attitudes toward the elderly. They operate as an odd couple, with Irja (the eternal idealist) and Lucille (the irreverent skeptic), cracking ironic dry jokes . Special Jury Award: 2003 Tribeca Film Festival.
Sponsors: Antigonish Women’s Resource Centre, Sisters of St. Martha (of Antigonish)
The Amasong Chorus: Singing Out - 2002 -
55 min
Director: Jay Rosenstein
Year Presented: 2007

Kristina Boerger’s struggles as a lesbian activist and musician, in Champaign, Illinois led her to form the award-winning Amasong Chorus, a Lesbian/ Feminist choir dedicated to the pursuit of choral excellence within an atmosphere that celebrates all forms of women’s devotion to their communities. Singing beautiful arrangements of folkloric music from around the world, Amasong Chorus members explore their personal needs for expression and mutual support. This music-filled documentary has been shown to acclaim at major film festivals in Turin Italy, Sydney Australia, and San Francisco. Enjoy!
Sponsors: LGBT Advisors and X-Pride
The Collector of Bedford Street - 2003 -
34 min
Director: Alice Elliott
Year Presented: 2007

Dubbed the “feel good” movie of the year, this Academy Award nominee follows Larry Selman, the filmmaker’s 60 year old neighbour. A community activist and fundraiser with developmental disabilities, Larry raises thousands of dollars for charity every year while he lives at the poverty level. Because of Larry’s 20 years of service to his neighbourhood, the community created a supplemental need adult trust fund for him. The film humanizes the story behind the abstract statistics of developmental disability, revealing how a community welcomes and celebrates all of its diverse members. Numerous awards.
Sponsors: Antigonish NDP Association, L’Arche Antigonish
The Devil’s Miner - 2005 -
82 min
Director: Kief Davidson & Richard Ladkani
Year Presented: 2007

This is the story of 14-year-old Basilio Vargas and his 12-year-old brother Bernardino, who work in the dangerous Cerro Rico silver mines of Bolivia. Raised without a father and living in extreme poverty, the boys assume many adult responsibilities. The Vargas boys chew coca leaves to stave off hunger and keep their wits about them during their long hours in the mines, where they also present offerings to El Tío, the malevolent spirit of the mines. According to local legend, El Tío is a miner’s only hope of salvation; people believe that the spirit of God does not exist in the hellish underworld inside the mountain. A moving portrait of a world where children risk their lives daily in hopes of an eventual better life. Film Critics Award: Hot Docs Festival; Best Documentary: Chicago Int’l Film Festival.
Sponsors: Anthropology Program-StFX, Development & Peace (Antigonish)
The Disenchanted Forest - 2001 -
52 min
Director: Sarita Siegel
Year Presented: 2007

Orangutans, like humans, have “culture.” The destruction of orangutan habitat and the illegal pet-trade threaten the lives of orangutans. Dr. Willie Smits directs the Wanariset Orangutan Reintroduction Project, and his team rescue hundreds of orangutans. They are committed to preserving orangutan habitat and returning captives back into Bornean rainforest homes. At Wanariset the orphans learn the vital skills they need to survive when they are later released into protected rainforest. Without mothers and more knowledgeable elders, strange “Lord of the Flies” communities evolve in the forest. Eventually the orangutans learn to sustain themselves independently of human aid. This beautiful film makes us think about the values of culture and nature. Appropriate for all ages. Merit Awards, International Wildlife Film Festival, Missoula; Honorable Mention, Columbus International Film & Video Festival.
Sponsors: The Fresh Air Society
The Fight for True Farming - 2005 -
90 min
Director: Eve Lamont
Year Presented: 2007

In this documentary, crop and animal farmers in Quebec, the Canadian West, the US Northeast and France offer solutions to the social and environmental scourges of factory farming. Driven by the forces of globalization, rampant agribusiness is harming the environment and threatening the survival of farms. The proliferation of GMO crops is a further threat to biodiversity as well as to farmers’ autonomy. In Europe as well as North America, a current of resistance, bringing together farmers and consumers, insists that it is possible, indeed imperative, to grow food differently. The Fight for True Farming is a film of grim lucidity but also irrepressible hope.
Sponsors: Central Nova Green Party Association, Pleasant Valley Nurseries Ltd.
The Future of Food - 2004 -
88 min
Director: Deborah K. Garcia
Year Presented: 2007

The Future of Food offers an in-depth investigation into the disturbing truth behind the unlabeled, patented, genetically engineered foods that have quietly filled U.S. grocery store shelves for the past decade. From Saskatchewan to the fields of Oaxaca, Mexico, this film gives a voice to farmers whose lives and livelihoods have been negatively impacted by this new technology. The health implications, government policies and push towards globalization are all part of the reason many people are alarmed by the introduction of genetically altered crops into the food supply. A complex web of market and political forces are changing what we eat. Alternatives such as organic and sustainable agriculture offer real solutions to the farm crisis today.
Sponsors: Antigonish NDP Association, Central Nova Green Party Association
Their Brothers’ Keepers: Ophaned by AIDS - 2005 -
56 min
Director: Catherine Mullins
Year Presented: 2007

Millions of children in Africa have lost their parents to AIDS. Filmed over a seven month period, Their Brothers’ Keepers goes inside Chazanga Compound, a shantytown in Lusaka, Zambia. The crew focuses on two families headed by children, and their ongoing struggle for food, water, schooling and health care. Local community and aid workers offer support but lack any real resources. Throughout the film, excerpts from speeches by Stephen Lewis fill in the broader social context. Stunning photography and an exquisite musical score contrast sharply with the surreal lives of these heroic children. “Their Brothers’ Keepers” powerfully conveys the sense of hope grounded in the human spirit to survive. Many Awards: Best Social/Political Documentary, Yorkton Film & Video Festival.
Sponsors: Anthropology Program-StFX, Prudential Highland Properties, StFX Chinese Association, Xtending Hope Partnership
The Road to Hope: Potters for Peace - 2004 -
23 min
Director: Francesca Roveda
Year Presented: 2007

The Road to Hope documents the tragedy and hope of the people of Nicaragua, from the Contra war and Hurricane Mitch to current economic injustices. Through the images and stories of Nicaraguan potters, this documentary details the training and informational exchange between Nicaraguan potters and the organization Potters for Peace, which has assisted in the design and production of ceramic water filters as well as developing international markets for Nicaraguan pottery. Creative alternatives are improving people’s lives. Inspiring!
Sponsors: Art Department-StFX, Cakes & Berries, Development & Peace (Antigonish)
To Play and To Fight (Tocar Y Luchar) - 2006 -
70 min
Director: Alberto Arvelo
Year Presented: 2007

There is a wonderful renaissance in classical orchestral music today centered in Venezuela, where nearly 250,000 children and youth are participating in the Youth and Children’s Orchestra System project. What began as a modest program to expose rural youth to music as a means of personal and social development has become an amazing phenomenon. Teaching musical harmony is also a means of educating people in human harmony, building community and spirit. This inspiring film weaves together impressive performances and interviews with renowned musicians, such as Placido Domingo, who reflect on the impact of this remarkable social project. Today the program is expanding to include youth with disabilities, including hearing impaired youth. To Play and To Fight is an inspirational story of courage, determination, ambition, and love; it shows that only those who dream can change the world.
Sponsors: Bergengren Credit Union
A Man You Don’t Meet Everyday - 2007 - Canada
30 min
Director: Peter Murphy
Year Presented: 2007

The rich tradition of singing and storytelling in Newfoundland can be traced back directly to Ireland, and the people of the Codroy Valley have been doing it for several centuries. This film is the story of a musical bond between the aging Jerome Downey, who is recognized by folklorists as an important figure in this unique oral tradition, and his nephew, Hector MacIsaac, an Antigonish County singer. The film offers an intimate glimpse into the passing on of this unique song tradition from one generation to the next.
Sponsors: Danny MacIssac,Lorefice Insurance
Rudy Haase - 2007 -
51 min
Director: Neal Livingston
Year Presented: 2007

Rudy Haase is Black River Productions newest film, after 3 years in the making. It is a biography about Canada’s great unknown environmentalist, Rudy Haase, who turns 85 in 2007. Haase’s life long work has included many successful campaigns and preservation of wilderness. He was a close colleague of the famous American back-to-the-land gurus, Helen and Scott Nearing. The film serves as a primer on environmental action.
Sponsors: Bergengren Credit Union
The Little Festival That Does:The Labrador’s Creative Arts Festival - 2007 -
5 min
Director: Peter Murphy
Year Presented: 2007

For 31 years, Labrador’s Creative Arts Festival has brought students from the most remote communities of Labrador together with artists from all over Canada in one of the most ambitious and interesting Arts festivals in Canada. The students include Innu, Inuit, Metis and “white settlers”; they write and direct an original play on important issues in their remote communities (e.g. suicide, alcohol, drugs, teen pregnancies, cultural history and clashes). They travel by bush plane to Happy Valley Goose Bay for the one week festival, in November, where they present their plays and take part in workshops with visiting artists from all media. Of special interest at last year’s festival was an Acadian percussion ensemble, Contemperc, who collaborated with Inuit drum dancers in Nain.
Sponsors: Art Department-StFX
Welcome to the Atlantic Canada Straw Bale Builders Community - 2007 -
30 min
Director: Marley Parker
Year Presented: 2007

This film is an insightful look at best practices and challenges faced by straw bale builders in Canada’s Atlantic region. It addresses issues like driven rain, fire, rodents, and rot while highlighting the importance of community and the environment. It is a unique opportunity for people who are interested in building with straw bales to sit in on intimate conversations with previous builders about their personal experiences with building with straw bales.
Sponsors: Chapel Woods Properties
Yesterday’s News - 2007 -
5 min
Director: Cara Jones
Year Presented: 2007

The story of a single mother’s choice to bring life into this world, her inner struggle to forgive, and the abundance she experiences from her strong faith. Yesterday’s News was written, directed and edited by Antigonish filmmaker Cara Jones, for the 2007 International Documentary Challenge. The challenge was to make a five minute documentary in only five days, with the genre revealed to the filmmaker on the first day. Over 95 participants from nine countries took part in the challenge, and Yesterday’s News was chosen as one of the top twelve finalists. It later went on to win three awards at Hot Docs, Canada’s largest International documentary festival, for Best Use of Genre, Best Original Song, and Best Writing for a Documentary. It is now traveling internationally and will be shown this month at Silver Docs in Washington.
Sponsors: Antigonish Regional Development Authority, Sisters of St. Martha (of Antigonish), Student for Life Society