Antigonish International Film Festival 

Oct. 21, 22 and 23, 2016

Films presented at the 2012 Film Festival

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40 Days at Base Camp - 2011 - Canada
88 min
Director: Dianne Whelan
Year Presented: 2012

40 Days at Base Camp is a feature length documentary that cuts through the sacred myth of Everest by examining its history, interwoven with fascinating stories of climbers and their daily lives at Base Camp, and placing this in context with the devastating effects that climate change has had on the mountain’s ecology. The film provides a modern take on the transformation of Everest, from what was once a revered sacred space to the mountain theme park that it is becoming.
A World without Water - 2006 - UK
90 min
Director: Brian Woods True Vision TV
Year Presented: 2012

Within our lifetime over half of the world’s population will be living without access to safe water and sanitation. Every day, families walk almost a mile down the cliffs of El Alto in Bolivia to collect water from an unreliable well. Yet they live just a few hundred metres from their city’s main water treatment plant and can see millions of gallons just beyond the barbed wire fence. They are victims of water commodification. The struggle for this precious resource is explored through compelling stories from Bolivia, Detroit, Dar es Salaam and Rajasthan.
Sponsors: Coady International Institute, Guysborough Antigonish Strait Health Authority, St. Mary’s Parish of Maryvale - Health & Social Justice Committee, Town of Antigonish, Wishing Wells Society
Apache 8 - 2011 - USA
57 min
Director: Sande Zeig
Year Presented: 2012

Apache 8 delves into the challenging lives of an all-women wildland firefighter crew from the White Mountain Apache Tribe who have been fighting fires in Arizona and throughout the U.S. for over 30 years. Four extraordinary women from different generations of the Apache 8 crew share their personal narratives with humour and tenderness. They speak of hardship and loss, family and community, and pride in being a firefighter from Fort Apache. Apache 8 weaves together a compelling tale of these remarkable firefighters, revealed for the first time.
Sponsors: Aphrodite Art & Fashion, StFX Women’s and Gender Studies Program
Atomic Mom - 2011 - USA
80 min
Director: M.T. Silvia
Year Presented: 2012

Atomic Mom tells the stories of two mothersaffected by the atom bomb - first the life of a scientist involved in the post-war development and testing of the bomb and second the life of one on whom it was unleashed. These two women, whose lives have been altered in unimaginable ways, clear the clouds of distrust and anger and open their hearts to reconciliation, and thereby provide hope for a better future for all of us.
Sponsors: Antigonish Quaker Worship Group, Sisters of St. Martha
Big Boys Gone Bananas - 2012 - Sweden
90 min
Director: Fredrik Gertten
Year Presented: 2012

Swedish filmmaker Fredrik Gertten was threatened with a lawsuit brought by the powerful Dole Food Corporation. The attack was a SLAPP, a Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation, although no one at Dole had yet seen the film. In Canada, SLAPP tactics also are employed as an intimidation weapon that discourages legitimate protest or criticism. This is an in-depth case study of an independent filmmaker's David and Goliath battle with a corporate machine, whose ruthless financial and political influence needed to be exposed.
Sponsors: Bergengren Credit Union, StFX Department of Political Science
City of Borders - 2009 - Israel
66 min
Director: Yun Suh New Day Films
Year Presented: 2012

This documentary portrays the daily lives of five Israeli and Palestinian patrons of the only gay bar in Jerusalem, who risk their lives by loving openly amidst a minefield of politics, religion and discrimination. The five stories are interwoven with events in the construction of the wall separating Israel and the Palestinian territories and the struggle for a gay pride parade in the Holy City. City of Borders explores the bond forged when people from warring worlds embrace the right to be accepted and belong.
Sponsors: X-pride StFX
Crazy Wisdom - 2010 - USA
90 min
Director: Johanna Demetrakas
Year Presented: 2012

Crazy Wisdom explores the life of Chogyam Trungpa, the brilliant "bad boy of Buddhism" who was pivotal in bringing Tibetan Buddhism to the West. He was trained in the rigorous monastic tradition in Tibet, but after his escape to England in 1960, he renounced his vows and eloped with a sixteen year-old. Later, in the US, he drew a prominent following including R.D. Laing, John Cage, Ram Dass, and Pema Chodron. Now, 20 years after his death, archival footage, animation, interviews and original imagery build a film that mirrors Trungpa's challenging energy, inviting viewers to go beyond fixed ideas about teachers and leaders, and how they should behave.
Sponsors: Antigonish Shambhala Meditation Group, Easting Bread & Honey Co., StFX Department of Religious Studies
El Oro o la Vida - 2011 - Guatemala
57 min
Director: A´lvaro Revenga
Year Presented: 2012

During the past few years, multinational mining corporations such as Goldcorp (a Canadian owned corporation) have mined in Central America, reaping enormous profits due to the steadily increasing price of gold. There has been territorial expansion with little regard for environmental impact. This has resulted in contamination of soil and water which has caused disease and brought about community division as well as criminalization of protesters. El Oro o la Vida tells the story of gold mining impacts from the perspective of those opposing mining practices at the Marlin Mine in Guatemala. In Honduras and El Salvador, indignation and organization are rising in support of their neighbours.
Sponsors: Antigonish Breaking the Silence
Festival of Games and Imagination - 2012 - Pakistan
28 min
Director: Sarwar Mushtaq Eckova Productions
Year Presented: 2012

Play is enormously important for children, whatever form it takes. In 2011 a Festival of Games and Imagination was initiated in the Jalozai refugee camp, which houses 150,000 people close to the Pakistan/Afghanistan border, half of whom are children. The project brought sports, drawing, painting, dance and song to children suffering the trauma of violent conflict, and created ways for children to make bonds with each other and adults by encouraging their own personalities and hope for the future.
Sponsors: Antigonish 5¢ to $1.00 Store, Antigonish County Adult Learning Association, Antigonish Culture Alive, The Antigonish Review, L’Arche Antigonish, Sobey’s Antigonish, The Made in Nova Scotia Store, The Nurtured Nest Children’s Boutique
Freedom Riders - 2010 - USA
115 min
Director: Stanley Nelson Firelight Media
Year Presented: 2012

This film chronicles the struggles of hundreds of civil rights activists called the Freedom Riders who challenged racial segregation of the American interstate transport system by traveling together in small interracial groups and sitting where they chose on the buses and trains, demanding equal access to terminal restaurants and waiting rooms, and bringing racial segregation to national attention. Led by James Farmer and the 13 original members of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) they mounted a nonviolent challenge to the Jim Crow laws in the Southern states.
Sponsors: StFX Department of Adult Education, StFX Department of History, StFX Office of Human Rights and Equity Advisor
Granito: How to Nail a Dictator - 2011 - USA
103 min
Director: Pamela Yates,Peter Kinroy, Paco de Onis Skylight Pictures
Year Presented: 2012

Granito shows how documentary film footage is being used as courtroom evidence to bring a measure of justice for crimes committed decades ago during Guatemala’s civil war, and in particular during the government’s scorched earth policies of the early 1980s. In Granito, the five main characters sift for evidence of genocide buried in the government archives, each adding their granito, their tiny grain of sand, to the epic tale.
Sponsors: Antigonish NDP Association, Just Us! Coffee Roasters
Happy - 2011 - Canada, USA
75 min
Director: Roko Belic
Year Presented: 2012


Sponsors: Aqua Terra Natural Health Clinic, Guysborough Antigonish Strait Health Authority, StFX Campus Store, St. James United Church Social Justice Committee, Tuesday Meditation Group
Into Eternity - 2009 - Denmark
75 min
Director: Michael Madsen
Year Presented: 2012

All around the world, large quantities of high-level radioactive waste from nuclear power plants are placed in interim storage containers that are vulnerable to disasters. In Finland, the world's first permanent radioactive waste repository is being hewn out of solid rock. The huge system of underground tunnels must last 100,000 years, the estimated life of the radioactivity. How can we warn our descendants of the deadly waste we left behind? While gigantic monster machines dig deeper and deeper into the dark, experts strive to find solutions to this crucially important waste storage issue. Into Eternity takes viewers on a journey into the underworld and the future.
Sponsors: MacLean Brothers Woodworking, StFX Department of Earth Science
Into the Abyss: a Tale of Death, a Tale of Life - 2011 - USA, UK, Germany
106 min
Director: Werner Herzog
Year Presented: 2012

This documentary is about two convicts, Michael Perry and his accomplice Jason Burkett, and the various people whose lives are affected by their triple homicide in Texas. Perry, a man on death row for murdering Sandra Stotler, a fifty-year-old nurse, recorded his interview just 8 days before he was executed. Burkett received a lesser life sentence as accomplice in this murder but was also convicted of two other murders in Texas that he claims Perry was responsible for but was not charged. Burkett's wife, who also appears in the film, was only allowed contact with him by holding hands under guarded supervision. Nevertheless, she claims to be pregnant with his child, presumably by smuggling a sperm sample out of the prison!
Sponsors: Third Eye Film Series
Journey of the Universe - 2011 - USA
56 min
Director: Patsy Northcutt & David Kennard
Year Presented: 2012

Big science, big history, big story: this one-of-a-kind film weaves a tapestry that draws together astronomy, geology, biology, ecology, and biodiversity with humanistic insights concerning the nature of the universe. Written by Brian Thomas Swimme and Yale University historian Mary Evelyn Tucker, it is beautifully filmed in HD. Swimme, a masterful storyteller, connects such big picture issues as the birth of the cosmos, invisible frontiers of the human genome and our current impact on Earth’s evolutionary dynamics. This film is designed to inspire a new and closer relationship with Earth in a period of growing environmental and social crisis.
Sponsors: BMO Nesbitt Burns, Sisters of St. Martha, Sobey’s Antigonish
Just Do It - 2011 - UK
90 min
Director: Emily James Left Field Films
Year Presented: 2012

Just Do It is a tale of modern-day outlaws. The world of environmental direct action has been a secretive one, until now. With unprecedented access, Emily James spent over a year embedded in activist groups such as Climate Camp and Plane Stupid, documenting their clandestine activities. Just Do It introduces you to a powerful cast of mischievous and inspiring characters who put their bodies in the way of corporate progress. They super-glue themselves to bank trading floors, blockade factories and attack coal power stations en masse, all despite the very real threat of arrest.
Sponsors: Antigonish Harbour Watershed Association, Easting Bread & Honey Co., Organic Inspectors Association
Kinshasa Symphony - 2010 - Germany
95 min
Director: Claus Wischmann & Martin Baer Sounding Images
Year Presented: 2012

Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, is a chaotic city of ten million people, who number among the poorest on the planet. In spite of hardship, ongoing crises and wars all around, Kinshasa boasts a large symphony orchestra numbering 200 musicians, the only one in the Congo. Kinshasa Symphony is a study of musicians coming together and mastering the complexities of symphonies, such as Beethoven’s Ninth, in spite of the chaos all around them.
Sponsors: Luke Batdorf, BMO Nesbitt Burns, StFX Department of Music
Love in Action - 2011 - Canada
5 min
Director: Velcrow Ripper
Year Presented: 2012

In this inspirational film, Velcrow Ripper captures the vibrancy of the epic Occupy Oakland general strike. Acclaimed spoken word artist Drew Dellinger recites his powerful poem, ‘Occupy Wall Street’, as he moves through the crowd of dedicated activists. Dellinger says, “Our communities need us. We are all leaders. How could we ask for anything less than the future?” The poem is set to the hauntingly beautiful music from the ‘Saracen’ album by Jeff Stott.
Sponsors: Alpert Electric, Antigonish Women’s Resource Centre
Our Legacy Our Hope - 2012 - Canada
16 min
Director: Rob Smith
Year Presented: 2012

In 2012, ten Mi'kmaq students from We’koqma’q School (Whycocomagh) were invited to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s National Event in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The compelling testimony from the residential school survivors had a profound impact on these students and gave them insights about who they are and an outlook on where they are going.
Sponsors: Friends of the Antigonish Library, Nova Scotia Community College Strait Area Campus, StFX Faculty of Education
Permaculture: the Growing Edge - 2011 - USA
45 min
Director: Donna Read & Starhawk Belili Productions
Year Presented: 2012

Permaculture: the Growing Edge is an antidote to environmental despair, a hopeful and practical look at a path to a viable, flourishing future. The film introduces us to inspiring projects: visiting David Holmgren’s homestead, sheet mulching an inner-city garden, transforming an intersection into a gathering place with City Repair and joining mycologist Paul Stamets as he uses mushrooms to clean up an oil spill. The film gives us a glimpse into this worldwide network of skilled ecological designers, teachers, food growers, natural builders, environmental activists and visionaries.
Sponsors: Aqua Terra Natural Health Clinic, Forever Green Organic Farms, StFX Department of Human Nutrition
Raw Opium - 2010 - Canada
84 min
Director: Peter Findlay Kensington Communications
Year Presented: 2012

Opium is a commodity that has tremendous power, both to ease pain, as well as destroy lives. For centuries, the opium poppy has played a pivotal role, not just in the lives of people who grow, manufacture and use it, but also in the sphere of international relations. In Raw Opium, we meet a variety of people with different perspectives, including opium growers in southeast Asia, a UN drug enforcement officer on the border of Afghanistan and a former drug czar within the Indian government. We are introduced to Portugal’s new, revolutionary policies toward its drug situation and to Vancouver’s Insite Clinic with its creative approaches to this complex issue.
Sponsors: Eckova Productions
Ruidhl' an Fhidhleir (Fiddler's Reel) - 2011 - Canada
17 min
Director: Marc Almon
Year Presented: 2012

A farm girl and the wandering musician she loves must overcome her father's fierce opposition to their match. The Fiddler's Reel is a tale of love and intrigue set in Depression-era Cape Breton that pays tribute to the island's Gaelic heritage and storytelling traditions.
Sponsors: Nova Scotia Office of Gaelic Affairs, StFX Department of Celtic Studies
Singing against the Silence: the Gaels of Nova Scotia - 2012 - Canada
25 min
Director: Michael Newton
Year Presented: 2012

The iconography of Nova Scotia is replete with images of the Scottish Highlander, especially in tourist publications which highlight tartans, kilts, and bagpipes. These romantic clichés obscure a complex history of marginalization, appropriation, and resistance. Through interviews with a range of subjects, Singing against the Silence explores the struggles of Scottish Gaels in eastern Nova Scotia to sustain and reclaim their language, and puts these efforts in the larger context of linguistic and cultural diversity.
Sponsors: Antigonish Optical, Braemore Co-op Food Market, Nova Scotia Office of Gaelic Affairs, StFX Department of Celtic Studies
SpOIL - 2010 - Canada, USA
45 min
Director: Trip Jennings EP Films/International League of Conservation Photographers
Year Presented: 2012

The International League of Conservation Photographers (ILCP) teamed up with EP Films to create a documentary with stunning cinematography that tells the story of the threats facing the Great Bear Rainforest and the continued efforts of the First Nations communities and conservation groups to protect this wild landscape. SpOIL follows the Great Bear Rainforest Rapid Assessment Visual Expedition (RAVE) that sent a swat team of photographers and filmmakers to the Great Bear Rainforest to document the beauty and the threats to this wild landscape.
Sponsors: Lyghtesome Gallery, Responsible Energy Action, StFX Department of Anthropology, StFX Extension Department
Tambogrande: Mangos, Murder, Mining - 2007 - Peru
85 min
Director: Stephanie Boyd & Ernesto Cabellos
Year Presented: 2012

Adventurous pioneers transform Peru’s harsh northern desert into a fertile valley of mango and lime orchards. But all they have worked for is threatened when gold is discovered under their land. Fear, violence and murder rock their once quiet community. In the midst of chaos, a martyr’s vision unites the farmers and leads them down a revolutionary path of non-violent resistance. These brave men and women take on corrupt politicians and a Canadian mining company in an epic tale of heroism in times of crisis. In the community of Tambogrande this united action leads to victory.
Sponsors: Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace Antigonish
The Economics of Happiness - 2011 - Australia
72 min
Director: Helena Norberg-Hodge, Steven Gorelick & John Page
Year Presented: 2012

Economic globalization has led to a massiveexpansion in the power of bigbusiness and banking. Governments continue to promote this trend, while people all over the world are resisting those policies, demanding a re-regulation of trade and finance, which would forge a very different future. Voices from six continents tell us that climate change and peak oil give us little choice: we need to localize, to bring the economy home. The good news is that as we move in this direction we will not only heal the earth, but also restore our sense of well-being. The Economics of Happiness challenges us to believe that it is possible to build a better world.
Sponsors: Luke Batdorf, Central Building Supplies, Coady International Institute, St. James United Church Social Justice Committee, The Townhouse
The Pipedreams Project - 2011 - Canada
28 min
Director: Faroe Des Roches & Ryan Vandecasteyen
Year Presented: 2012

In May of 2010, Enbridge Inc. made an official application to build twinned oil and condensate pipelines that would connect Alberta's Tar Sands to Kitimat and for the first time bring crude oil super tankers to BC's North Coast. In order to protest this controversial pipeline, Curtis, Ryan and Faroe kayaked 900 km through one of the last truly wild places on Earth, the coast of BC from Kitimat to Vancouver. Their journey brought them face to face with the complexity of the environmental assessment process, the difficulties local communities experience in having their voices heard, the influence of politics in the struggle for power, as well as the true nature of democracy.
Sponsors: Antigonish Women’s Resource Centre, Bergengren Credit Union, Central Building Supplies, Gabrieau’s Bistro, Lyghtesome Gallery, Pictou-Antigonish Regional Library, Town of Antigonish
The Polar Explorer - 2010 - Canada
52 min
Director: Mark Terry
Year Presented: 2012

The Polar Explorer reports on the effects of climate change in the polar regions, including unique coverage of an historic scientific expedition that crosses the Northwest Passage, exploring previously inaccessible areas for the very first time. This documentary was made in partnership with the United Nations Environment Program and was officially screened by UN delegates and world leaders attending the Climate Change Conference in Cancun in 2010. Director Mark Terry was the recipient of the 2011 Gemini Humanitarian Award.
Sponsors: Peak Experiences, Voices Antigonish
To Be Heard - 2010 - USA
87 min
Director: Edwin Martinez
Year Presented: 2012

“If you don’t learn to write your own life story, someone else will write it for you.” To Be Heard is the story of three teen friends from the South Bronx whose struggle to change their lives begins when they start to write poetry. As writing and reciting become vehicles for their expressions of love, friendship, frustration, and hope, we watch these three youngsters emerge as accomplished self-aware artists, who use their creativity to alter their circumstances. In a community where friendships are kept tenuous for many reasons, these three build a bond based on language, respect, and the need to survive. (Note: coarse language is prominent.)
Sponsors: StFX Association of University Teachers, StFX Writing Centre
Urban Roots - 2011 - USA
93 min
Director: Mark MacInnis Tree Media
Year Presented: 2012

The industrial powerhouse of a lost American era has died, and the skeleton left behind is present-day Detroit. Now, against all odds, in the empty lots, in the old factory yards, and in between the sagging blocks of company housing, seeds of change are taking root. Urban Roots is the inspiring story of a small group of dedicated Detroiters working tirelessly to fulfill their vision for locally grown, sustainably farmed food in a city where people have found themselves cut off from real food and limited to the lifeless offerings of fast food chains, mini-marts, and grocery stores stocked with processed food from thousands of miles away.
Sponsors: Antigonish Farmers’ Market Association, Atlantic Superstore, Gabrieau’s Bistro, Tall and Small Café
Waking the Green Tiger - 2011 - Canada
78 min
Director: Gary Marcuse Face to Face Media
Year Presented: 2012

Seen through the eyes of activists, farmers, and journalists, Waking the Green Tiger follows an extraordinary campaign to stop a huge dam project on the upper Yangtze River in southwestern China. Featuring astonishing archival footage never seen outside China, including interviews with a government insider and other witnesses, the documentary examines Chairman Mao’s campaign to conquer nature in the name of progress. When a new environmental law is passed and, for the first time in China’s history ordinary citizens have the democratic right to speak out, activists test their freedom by using documentary film footage to reveal the fate of a farming community moved to make way for a dam.
Sponsors: Pleasant Valley Nurseries
Where the Waters Meet: Sacred Connections within Community - 2012 - Canada
20 min
Director: Shaani and Kaia Singh
Year Presented: 2012

This film celebrates the commonalities of two rural communities – one in Nova Scotia (Tatamagouche) and one in India (Sariya). The two villages are shaped around the values of small scale farming – one community trying to hold on to traditional ways, while the other is trying to return to them. The filmmakers are two young women from Colchester County, NS, who are visiting their ancestral home for the first time.
Sponsors: Antigonish Chamber of Commerce, Farmasea, StFX Extension Department, StFX Service Learning Program & Student Society, Sunflower Natural Health