Antigonish International Film Festival 

Oct. 26 - 28 2017

Films presented at the 2014 Film Festival

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Abuelas: Grandmothers on a Mission - 2012 - Canada / Argentina
28 min
Director: Noemi Weis
Year Presented: 2014

Argentina’s courageous Grandmothers, or ‘Abuelas’, are searching for their grandchildren: the children of their sons and daughters who disappeared during Argentina’s ‘dirty war’. Filmmaker Noemi Weis beautifully documents the grandmothers’ painstaking work and its results - dramatic, inspiring and sometimes controversial - as the women make contact with grandchildren who were kidnapped and relocated to families linked with the regime that murdered their parents.
Sponsors: Antigonish Women's Resource Centre, Luke, St. Mary’s Parish of Maryvale, Health & Social Justice Committee, United Church of Canada Social Justice Committee, Antigonish
Al Helm (The Dream): Martin Luther King in Palestine - 2013 - Palestine/USA
96 min
Director: Connie Field
Year Presented: 2014

The glorious strains of gospel music wash over the West Bank. The Palestinian National Theater and an African-American choir celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. in a touring play born of a brilliantly simple and potent idea: what if African-American Christians, the same group who served as exemplars of the US Civil Rights Movement, could witness first-hand the plight of Palestinians today? New friendships are forged, attitudes are altered and a rousing portrait emerges of the nonviolent changes unfolding in the Middle East.
Sponsors: Antigonish Quaker Worship Group, First Light Insurance, Knights of Columbus Msgr. Hugh MacPherson Council #14596, StFX Dept. of Political Science
Arctic Defenders - 2013 - Canada
85 min
Director: John Walker
Year Presented: 2014

The creation of Nunavut was achieved by realizing the largest land claim in western civilization and was orchestrated by young visionary Inuit with a dream: the governance of their territory. The story reveals the dark side of Canada's attempt at sovereignty in the north and finds inspiration from determined Inuit who changed the rules of the game. It is also an incredibly personal film, charting Walker's return to the High Arctic which he first explored as a wide-eyed teenager.
Sponsors: StFX Dept. of History, StFX Development Studies Program, StFX Writing Centre
Art from the Streets - 2009 - USA
73 min
Director: Layton Blaylock
Year Presented: 2014

This all-volunteer program was established in Austin, Texas in 1991 with the idea of providing a safe and nurturing environment for homeless people to produce art. There are twice weekly art ‘classes’ and an annual show to sell the work. This story tracks five of the artists over the course of a year: visiting homeless camps, learning the daily challenges of street life, and experiencing the show where the artists’ work is sold and where they interact with people they rarely have a chance to encounter in such a positive way.
Sponsors: Antigonish County Adult Learning Association (ACALA), Antigonish Culture Alive, Knights of Columbus St. Ninian’s Council #1105, L’Arche Antigonish, StFX Faculty of Education, Town of Antigonish
Camera/Woman - 2012 - Morocco
59 min
Director: Karima Zoubir
Year Presented: 2014

Working as a videographer at weddings in Casablanca, Khadija Harrad is the divorced mother of an 11-year-old son and primary breadwinner for her parents and siblings, as well. She navigates daily between the elaborate world of the parties she films and harassment from her conservative family, which disapproves of her occupation and wants her only to remarry. Shot in vérité style, this film reveals the issues that confront working-class Muslim women and that for Khadija, the camera becomes a liberating force.
Sponsors: Antigonish County Adult Learning Association (ACALA), Antigonish Women's Resource Centre, Pictou-Antigonish Regional Library, StFX Dept. of Religious Studies, StFX Women’s & Gender Studies Program
Fire in the Blood - 2013 - India
84 min
Director: Dylan Mohan Gray
Year Presented: 2014

This is a shocking exposé of how western governments and pharmaceutical companies aggressively blocked access to affordable AIDS drugs for the countries of Africa and the global south. By using patent law to keep profits high at the expense of peoples' lives, ten million or more unnecessary deaths were caused. It is also the inspiring story of the improbable group of people who decided to fight back, and a plea for universal access to affordable, life-saving generic medicines.
Sponsors: The Vein Clinic
Fish Meat - 2012 - Turkey
30 min
Director: Joe Cunningham
Year Presented: 2014

Our hunger for seafood grows, but the seas are running out of fish. More than half of the fish the world now eats comes from fish farms. Two friends, a fish biologist and an environmental engineer, take a sailing voyage through the cradle of western civilization to investigate fish farming. It turns out the most modern operations are not necessarily the most sustainable. Along the way they discover the tragedy of bluefin tuna and the joy of carp.
Sponsors: Antigonish Farmers' Market Association, Bennett’s Market, Dr. Robert Dunphy, StFX Dept. of Biology, StFX Dept. of Human Nutrition, The Townhouse
Free the Mind - 2012 - USA/Denmark
80 min
Director: Phie Ambo
Year Presented: 2014

In 1992 Professor Richard Davidson, one of the world's leading neuroscientists, met the Dalai Lama, who encouraged him to apply the same rigorous methods he used to study depression and anxiety to the study of compassion and kindness, those qualities cultivated by Tibetan meditation practice. The film poses two fundamental questions: one - what is consciousness, how does it manifest in the brain and body; and two - is it possible to physically change the brain solely through mental practices?
Sponsors: Antigonish Shambhala Meditation Group, Tuesday Meditation Group
Gideon’s Army - 2013 - USA
96 min
Director: Dawn Porter
Year Presented: 2014

Gideon’s Army follows three young, committed public defenders in the US deep south who are challenging the assumptions that drive a criminal justice system strained to the breaking point. They are working for people society would rather forget. Long hours, low pay and staggering caseloads are so common that even the most committed often give up. These courageous lawyers are working to make “justice for all” a reality.
Gold Fever - 2013 - Guatemala
55 min
Director: JT Haines, Tommy Haines & Andrew Sherburne
Year Presented: 2014

Gold: an obsession of men and nations, a symbol of wealth and power. But for the people living near Vancouver-based Goldcorp’s Marlin Mine in Guatemala's highlands, gold represents oppression, intimidation, pollution and even murder. Three courageous women, in the face of grave consequences, resist the threat to their ancestral lands. This hard-hitting film exposes the impacts of destructive transnational mining operations and how our Canada Pension Plan investments are implicated.
Sponsors: Antigonish Breaking the Silence, Canadian Catholic Organization For Development & Peace Antigonish, Just Us! Coffee Roasters, StFX Service Learning Program & Student Society, Sustainable Antigonish
Granny Power - 2014 - Canada
78 min
Director: Magnus Isacsson & Jocelyne Clarke
Year Presented: 2014

Spanning 10 years, this film follows several of the passionate, activist grandmothers who make up the Raging Grannies, including Muriel Duckworth, Alma Norman, Molly Klopot and Connie Graves and their ‘gaggles’ as they fight for peace, social justice and the environment. In supporting Occupy Wall Street, demonstrating against nuclear arms, protesting at military recruitment centres and taking surprising political guerrilla actions they challenge authorities and stereotypes alike.
Sponsors: Antigonish Women's Resource Centre, Aphrodite Art & Fashion, Beautiful, Friends of the Antigonish Library Association, Old Barn Gallery & Boutique, StFX Dept. of Adult Education, Town of Antigonish
Greedy Lying Bastards - 2012 - USA
89 min
Director: Craig Rosebraugh
Year Presented: 2014

This provocative exposé unravels the layers of deceit behind stalled efforts to tackle climate change despite consensus in the scientific community that it is not only a reality but also a growing threat placing us on the brink of disaster. The film details the people and organizations casting doubt on climate science. The Koch Brothers, ExxonMobil, oil industry front groups, prominent politicians and judges, are threatening democracy and the ability of future generations to survive on planet earth.
Sponsors: Antigonish NDP Association, Luke, StFX Association of University Teachers (AUT), StFX Extension Department, Simply Ducky, The Tall and Small Café
Last Chance - 2012 - Canada
85 min
Director: Paul Émile d'Entremont
Year Presented: 2014

This feature documentary tells the stories of 5 asylum seekers who flee their native countries to escape homophobic violence. They fear deportation, face hurdles integrating into Canada and anxiously await a decision that will change their lives forever.
Sponsors: StFX University Office of Human Rights & Equity, Unifor Local 2107, X-pride StFX
The Light Bulb Conspiracy - 2010 - Spain/France
52 min
Director: Cosima Dannoritzer
Year Presented: 2014

Planned obsolescence has shaped our lives and economy since the 1920’s, when a cartel decided to produce light bulbs with a much limited lifespan, making the humble light bulb one of the first examples of this model for increasing profits. A new generation of consumers, designers and business people have started challenging planned obsolescence as an unsustainable economic driver.
Sponsors: Antigonish Evergreen Inn, St.FX Dept. of Business Administration
Musicwood - 2012 - USA
80 min
Director: Maxine Trump
Year Presented: 2014

This film is an adventure-filled journey with music at its heart. When owners of  the Taylor, Martin, and Gibson guitar companies learn that their Sitka spruce supply from Alaska will be depleted in 10 years, they set aside their competing interests and form the Musicwood Coalition. Their mission is to negotiate with Native American loggers in the Tongass National Forest to change the way the forest is logged before it is too late to continue to supply wood for acoustic guitars.
Sponsors: Botica, MacLean Brothers Woodworking, StFX Dept. of Music
NCR: Not Criminally Responsible - 2013 - Canada
98 min
Director: John Kastner
Year Presented: 2014

Twelve years ago a psychotic young man stabbed a complete stranger who miraculously survived. The victim is terrified to learn that the young man is now living in the community and is applying for an absolute discharge. If he succeeds, he will no longer be required to take the anti-psychotic drugs that control his mental illness. With unprecedented access to the patient, the victim and the mental institution, NCR looks at all sides of this complex ethical issue.
Sponsors: Antigonish International Film Festival Outreach Program
The Passive House Revolution - 2013 - USA
45 min
Director: Faith Morgan & Eugene “Pat” Murphy
Year Presented: 2014

Every activist concerned about climate change and other effects of energy consumption should know about the emerging passive house revolution. In the US, buildings generate 48% of all CO2 and consume 48% of all energy used. The Passive House standard meets the goal of reducing CO2 emissions by 80 percent: the goal climate scientists say we need to reach by 2050. There is no need to wait for technology to improve; the technology we need to build and retrofit structures that safeguard the climate is here.
Sponsors: Alpert Electric, Antigonish Insurance Agencies Limited, Central Home Improvement Warehouse, RBC Royal Bank, Responsible Energy Action Committee
Rock the Boat - 2011 - USA
54 min
Director: Thea Mercouffer
Year Presented: 2014

Activists attempt to paddle the 52 miles of the Los Angeles River to challenge the US Army Corps of Engineers’ classification of the river as non-navigable. This classification exempts the river from environmental protections and permits the Corps to control access to the river and to continue to restrain its flow in concrete culverts originally constructed in 1938 for flood control. A fun, high-energy and, ultimately, moving film that chronicles success in changing policy that governs the management of the river.
Sponsors: Antigonish Harbour Watershed Association, Dr. Dan McKenna, Peak Experiences
The Sacred Place Where Life Begins: Gwich’in Women Speak - 2013 - USA/Canada
20 min
Director: ourarcticrefuge.org/
Year Presented: 2014

The Gwich'in people, who have been native to northern Canada and Alaska for as long as 20,000 years, call the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge 'The Sacred Place Where Life Begins’. This area is the birthing and nursing ground for the Porcupine Caribou Herd, on which the Gwich'in people have depended for millennia. This film shares the voices of Gwich'in women at the 2010 Gathering to discuss the threat of oil and gas development on this sacred land, the caribou, and their way of life.
Sponsors: Antigonish Heritage Museum, Gabrieau’s Bistro, Parish of Three Harbours, The Prissy Pig Café & Deli, St. Paul’s Anglican Church, Sunflower Natural Health, Voices Antigonish
Seeking Netukulimk - 2013 - Canada
23 min
Director: Martha Stiegman & Kerry Prosper
Year Presented: 2014

Kerry Prosper is a passionate fisher and Mi’kmaq elder who is teaching his grandchildren how to exercise their treaty rights by fishing eels. But those rights come with sacred responsibilities to care for the land and waters of Mi’kma’ki. Seeking Netukulimk is a lyrical exploration of the traditional laws that govern fishing in the Mi’kmaq world and some of the political battles that have been fought to defend them.
Sponsors: Rose and Thistle B&B, StFX Association of University Teachers (AUT), StFX Dept. of Anthropology
Sometimes Life Has a Way of Surprising You: The Park Bench Players - 2014 - Canada
60 min
Director: Peter Murphy
Year Presented: 2014

This is the remarkable story of a group of marginalized individuals living with significant mental health issues who picked themselves up from the park bench, stepped into the bright lights of the stage, and in so doing transformed themselves, their audiences and their community - a film about courage, friendship and hope.
Sponsors: Atlantic Superstore, Bergengren Credit Union, BMO Nesbitt Burns, Cornect Family Farm, Guysborough Antigonish Strait Health Authority (GASHA), Moonlight Restaurant
Stand - 2013 - Canada
46 min
Director: Anthony Bonello & Nicholas Teichrob
Year Presented: 2014

With stunning cinematography, this surf and stand-up paddleboard (SUP) film focuses on the west coast of BC, and on what is at stake with the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline and tanker route. The extraordinary diversity, richness and beauty of the coast is highlighted as the film follows expedition stand-up paddler Norm Hann as he travels the length of Haida Gwaii, a group of Bella Bella students building their own wooden SUPs, and West Coast surfer Raph Bruhwiler catching the waves.
Sponsors: Nova Scotia Community College, Strait Area Campus
Sweet Dreams - 2012 - Rwanda
84 min
Director: Lisa & Rob Fruchtman
Year Presented: 2014

Rwanda's first and only all women's drumming troupe is made up of women from both sides of the 1994 Rwandan genocide. The troupe offers a place of support, healing and reconciliation. When the group decides to open Rwanda's first ever ice cream shop, these remarkable Rwandan women embark on a journey of independence, peace and possibility. Sweet Dreams interweaves intimate, heart-wrenching stories with joyous and powerful music to present a moving portrait of a country in transition.
Sponsors: Bergengren Credit Union, Easting Bread & Honey Co., Heatherton Activity Centre, Heatherton Group Home, Partnership in Caring, StFX School of Nursing, Sisters of St. Martha of Antigonish
Treasures of the Old Forest - 2005 - Canada
22 min
Director: Henri Steeghs
Year Presented: 2014

Beautifully filmed in James River, Eigg Mountain and the Mabou Highlands, and with a quietly lyrical script by Bruce Partridge, this is a film about the wildflowers of Nova Scotia’s vanishing old growth Acadian forests. Once abundant, the trillium, the spring beauty, the bloodroot and others are now driven to the far recesses of their ranges. These are a priceless inheritance many Maritimers may never see.
Sponsors: Antigonish 5¢ to $1.00 Store, Forever Green Organic Farm & Gardens, Pleasant Valley Nurseries, StFX Dept. of Biology, Sisters of St. Martha of Antigonish
Watermark - 2013 - Canada
92 min
Director: Jennifer Baichwal & Edward Burtynsky
Year Presented: 2014

This multi-award winning film brings together diverse stories from around the globe about our relationship with water: how we are drawn to it, what we learn from it, how we use it and the consequences of that use. Shot in stunning 5K ultra high-definition video and full of soaring aerial perspectives, this film shows water as a powerful terraforming element. The viewer is immersed in a magnificent force of nature that we all too often take for granted, until it’s gone.
Sponsors: AA Munro Insurance, Nova Chee International Organic Inspector Association, StFX Aquatic Resources Program, StFX Dept. of Biology, StFX Dept. of Earth Science, Wishing Wells Society
We Women Warriors - 2012 - Colombia
84 min
Director: Nicole Karsin
Year Presented: 2014

Well-conceived and unmanipulative, We Women Warriors follows three native women caught in the crossfire of Colombia's warfare who use nonviolent resistance to defend their peoples' survival. Colombia has 102 aboriginal groups, one-third of which face extinction because of the internal conflict. Despite being trapped in a protracted predicament financed by the drug trade, indigenous women are resourcefully leading and creating transformation imbued with hope.
Sponsors: Anonymous, Coady International Institute, Nova Scotia Office of Gaelic Affairs, StFX Dept. of Modern Languages
When Bubbles Burst - 2012 - Norway
92 min
Director: Hans Petter Moland
Year Presented: 2014

In a globalized economy, it has become increasingly difficult for nations, companies, small communities and individuals to protect themselves from financial volatility. The decisions made in US financial institutions ultimately caused the bankruptcy of the tiny hamlet of Vik, Norway. When Bubbles Burst provides a fascinating glimpse into the inner workings of the global economy, examining the mechanics behind bubbles and crashes and suggesting trends for the future.
Sponsors: Antigonish Chamber of Commerce, Heather Murphy CA, Municipality of the County of Antigonish, StFX Enterprise Development Centre
Winds of Heaven: Emily Carr, Carvers & the Spirits of the Forest - 2010 - Canada Director
87 min
Director: Michael Ostroff
Year Presented: 2014

This film is an impressionistic exploration of the spirit that informed the solitary life of one of Canada’s most celebrated and irrepressible painters. Emily Carr began painting in an era when women did not. At an age when most people should not, she travelled to remote locations that few professional adventurers chose to explore. She adopted the painting techniques of modernism when it was considered dangerous and she chronicled the extraordinary art and culture of native peoples, who were invisible to the dominant culture.
Sponsors: Dr. M.N. Amit & Dr. J.R. Hamilton, The Antigonish Review, Lyghtesome Gallery, The Made in Nova Scotia Store, StFX Campus Store, StFX Dept. of Art, Don Webb