Films presented at the 2011 Film Festival

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A Thousand Suns - 2009 - USA
27 min
Director: Stephen Marshall Global Oneness Project
Year Presented: 2011

A Thousand Suns tells the story of the Gamo Highlands of the African Rift Valley. This isolated area has remained re­markably intact both biologically and culturally. It is one of the most densely populated rural regions of Africa yet its people have been farming sustainably for 10,000 years. Shot in Ethiopia, New York and Kenya, the film explores the modern world’s untenable sense of separation from and superiority over nature and how the interconnected worldview of the Gamo people is fundamental in achieving long-term sustain-ability, both in the region and beyond.
Sponsors: Coady International Institute, Aquaterra Natural Health Clinic, Gabrieau’s Bistro, Bennett’s Market, StFX Department of Anthropology and Antigonish Breaking the Silence
Black Wave: The Legacy of the Exxon Valdez - 2009 - Canada
52 min
Director: Robert Cornellier Macumba International Inc.
Year Presented: 2011

On March 24th 1989, the Exxon Valdez oil supertanker ran aground in Alaska, discharging millions of gallons of crude oil. The incident became the biggest environmental catastrophe in North American history. Over the next twenty years, Riki Ott and the fishers of the little town of Cordova, Alaska waged a legal battle against the world’s most powerful oil company, ExxonMobil. In this film they tell us all about the environ­mental, social and economic consequences of the oil spill that changed their lives forever. With the prospects of pipelines and greatly increased tanker traffic in our waters, this legacy of the Exxon Valdez should be a wake-up call for everyone.
Sponsors: Atlantic Superstore and StFX Art Department
Budrus - 2009 - USA
82 min
Director: Julia Bacha Just Vision
Year Presented: 2011

Ayed Morrar, an unlikely community organizer, brings together Palestinians from all political factions (including Fatah and Hamas) and Israelis to save his village from destruction by Israel’s Separation Barrier. Victory seems improbable until his 15-year-old daughter, Iltezam, launches a women’s contingent that quickly moves to the front lines. Struggling side by side, father and daughter unleash an inspiring, yet little-known non-violent movement in the Occu­pied Palestinian Territories that is still gaining ground today. This action-filled documentary chronicles the movement from its infancy.
Sponsors: Antigonish NDP Association, Quaker Friends Worship Group and Tuesday Meditation Group
Call of Life - 2010 - USA
60 min
Director: Monte Thompson Species Alliance
Year Presented: 2011

Call of Life investigates the growing threat posed by the rapid and massive loss of biodiversity on the planet. Featuring leading social and environmental scientists, the film explores the scope, the causes and the predicted global impact of a mass extinction occurring on a scale not seen since the dis­appearance of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. If current trends continue, scientists warn that half or more of all plant and animal species on Earth will become extinct within the next few decades. Call of Life examines the choices we have before us, and how the decisions we make in the next decade will affect the future habitability of Earth.
Sponsors: Sisters of St. Martha and Antigonish Develop­ment & Peace
Chemerical - 2009 - Canada
75 min
Director: Andrew Nisker Chemical Nation Produc­tions
Year Presented: 2011

Chemerical explores the life cycle of everyday household cleaners and hygiene products to prove that, thanks to our clean obsession, we are drowning in a sea of toxicity. The film is at once humorous, as we watch the Goode family try to turn over a new leaf by creating a toxic-free home, as well as informative, as director Nisker works with many experts to give audiences the tools and inspiration to eliminate toxins from their lives. Chemerical tackles the “toxic debate” in a truly informative and entertaining way, not only by raising awareness, but most importantly, by providing simple solu­tions.
Sponsors: Aquaterra Natural Health Clinic, The Fresh Air Society and Nova Scotia Community College-Strait Area Campus
Dirt! The Movie - 2009 - USA
40 min
Director: Bill Benenson and Gene Rosow Common Ground Media
Year Presented: 2011

DIRT! the Movie--narrated by Jamie Lee Curtis--brings to life the environmental, economic, social and political impact that the soil has on our lives. It tells the story of Earth's most valu­able and underappreciated source of fertility--from its miracu­lous beginning to its crippling degradation. Made from the same elements as the stars, plants and animals, and us, "dirt is very much alive." The movie teaches us: "When humans arrived 2 million years ago, everything changed for dirt. And from that moment on, the fate of dirt and humans has been intimately linked." But more than the film and the lessons that it teaches, DIRT the Movie is a call to action.
Sponsors: Pleasant Valley Nurseries, Just Us! Coffee Roasters and Antigonish Regional Development Association
Dirty Business - 2009 - USA
89 min
Director: Peter Bull Center for Investigative Reporting
Year Presented: 2011

This documentary reveals the true social and environmental costs of coal power and tells the stories of innovators who are pointing the way to an alternative green energy future. Half the electricity in the US still comes from coal, and guided by Rolling Stone reporter Jeff Goodell, the film examines what it means to be so dependent upon a nineteenth century tech­nology that is the largest single source of greenhouse gases. Can coal really be made ‘clean’? Can renewable resources and efficiency replace coal? Goodell seeks answers in a se­ries of stories shot in China, Canada and the USA.
Sponsors: Campbell’s Brewing Centre
Familiar Stranger - 2009 - Canada
5 min
Director: Cara Jones
Year Presented: 2011

Familiar Stranger is the story of Ottilia Chareka’s dream of achieving higher education and influencing a new generation of African women.
Fresh - 2009 - USA
70 min
Director: Ana Sofia Joanes A Ripple Effect Inc.
Year Presented: 2011

Fresh is a new look at the problems and consequences of our current industrialized food system; something that affects us all. But more than just a critique of the ills that accompany mass production on the farm and mass marketing in the food chain, Fresh focuses on the farmers, thinkers and business people who are re-inventing food production. It illustrates how farmers are eschewing artificial inputs like chemical fertilizers, antibiotics and pesticides to grow better produce and health­ier livestock for consumers, and, at the same time, creating a better way of life for everyone.
Sponsors: Gabrieau’s Bistro, Antigonish Braemore Co-op, Antigonish Farmer’s Market and Voices Antigonish
Girl Inside - 2007 - Canada
70 min
Director: Maya Gallus Red Queen Productions
Year Presented: 2011

Following 26-year-old Madison during a crucial three years of her transition from male to female, Girl Inside is a beautiful film that tracks her emotional, intellectual and spiritual journey of self-discovery that is just as important as the physical jour­ney of hormones and surgery. Sharing the spotlight is Vivien, Madison’s glamorous 80-year-old grandmother, who has taken on the job of advising her on all things feminine. While Vivien's attempts to school Madison in old-fashioned codes of dress and behavior are often hilarious, the juxtaposition of two vastly different experiences of womanhood, raises pro­found issues about the nature of gender, femininity and sexu­ality.
Sponsors: StFX Department of Women’s & Gender Stud­ies and X Pride
Heart of the Sea - 2002 - USA
54 min
Director: Lisa Denker and Charlotte Lagarde
Year Presented: 2011

Heart of the Sea is a documentary about Hawaiian legend Rell “Kapolioka'ehukai” Sunn who died in January 1998 of breast cancer at the age of 47. Known worldwide as a pioneer of women’s professional surfing in the Islands, Rell Sunn achieved the stature of an icon, not only for her physical power, grace and luminous beauty, but for her leadership in a community that loved her as much as she loved it. Named one of Hawaii’s most influential women of the 20th century, Sunn was eulogized in the New York Times for having “captured the heart of Hawaii during a 14-year battle with cancer.”
Sponsors: BMO Nesbitt Burns
Men’s Health Clinic - 2010 - Canada
22 min
Director: Peter Murphy SeaBright Productions
Year Presented: 2011

This film by Peter Murphy takes an intimate look at the variety of men in Antigonish drawn to this pioneering healthcare pro­ject, men who tend to fall between the cracks of the traditional healthcare system.
Sponsors: Town of Antigonish
Music by Prudence - 2010 - USA/ Zimbabwe
33 min
Director: Roger Ross Williams iThemba Productions, Inc
Year Presented: 2011

Prudence Mabhena lives in Zimbabwe, and for a long time almost no one knew about her hauntingly beautiful voice. They could not see beyond her physical condition which was debilitated by arthrogryposis. Music by Prudence traces the path of a little girl, and her remarkable transcendence from a world of hatred and superstition into one of music, love and possibility.
Sponsors: BMO Nesbitt Burns, Sisters of St. Martha, Antigonish 5¢ to $1.00 Store, Highland Hearing Clinic and L’Arche Antigonish
Oil in Eden: The Battle to Protect Canada's Pacific Coast - 2010 - Canada
17 min
Director: Damien Gillis Pacific Wild
Year Presented: 2011

The Great Bear Rainforest on BC’s north and central Pacific coast is one of the last bastions of Canadian wilderness. Home to bountiful marine mammals, fish and wildlife, this spectacular place is now threatened by a proposal to bring an oil pipeline and supertankers to this fragile and rugged coast. The risks are enormous. Now First Nations, conservation groups and concerned citizens are banding together to op­pose the Enbridge project, in what is shaping up to be the defining Canadian environmental battle of our time.
Sponsors: Easting Bread & Honey, MacLean Brothers Woodworking and Antigonish Harbour Watershed Association
Reel Injun - 2009 - Canada
85 min
Director: Neil Diamond NFB
Year Presented: 2011

Reel Injun is an entertaining and insightful look at the por­trayal of North American Natives through a century of Holly­wood cinema. Cree filmmaker Neil Diamond looks at how the myth of “the Injun” has influenced the world’s understanding, and misunderstanding, of Natives. With clips from hundreds of classic and recent films, and candid interviews with cele­brated Native and non-Native directors, writers, actors and activists, Reel Injun traces the evolution of cinema’s depiction of Native People from the silent film era to present day.
Sponsors: Lyghtesome Gallery, Friends of the Antigonish Library, Central Building Supplies and StFX University Office of Human Rights and Equity
River of Life - 2007 -
53 min
Director: Werner Walcher NFB
Year Presented: 2011

This documentary focuses on the Yukon River Quest, the world's longest annual canoe and kayak race. Athletes come from around the world to test their endurance, racing day and night along 740 km of rugged river shoreline. The film chroni­cles the experiences of the all-female 2006 Paddlers Abreast team. By following them from the moment they climb into their boat in Whitehorse to the cheers that greet them in Dawson City, the film tells an exhilarating story of a group of women who have faced death and understand how precious life is.
Sponsors: StFX School of Nursing
Schooling the World : The White Man’s Last Burden - 2010 - USA
65 min
Director: Carol Black
Year Presented: 2011

Schooling the World takes a challenging look at the role played by modern education in the destruction of the world’s last intact indigenous cultures. Beautifully shot on location in Ladakh in the northern Indian Himalayas, the film weaves the voices of Ladakhi people through a conversation between four original thinkers. The film questions our definitions of wealth and poverty, of knowledge and ignorance, as it uncov­ers the role of schools in the destruction of traditional sustain­able agricultural and ecological knowledge, in the breakup of extended families and communities, and in the devaluation of ancient spiritual traditions.
Sponsors: Coady International Institute, Luke Batdorf, Peak Experiences, ACALA and StFX Faculty of Education
Serendipi Daughter - 2008 - Canada
7 min
Director: Cara Jones
Year Presented: 2011

A touching adoption story that highlights the impact of love and sacrifice through the eyes of the child and the four par­ents who loved and let go.
Soundtrack for a Revolution - 2009 - USA / France / UK
82 min
Director: Bill Guttentag and Dan Sturman
Year Presented: 2011

Soundtrack for a Revolution tells the story of the American civil rights movement through its powerful music, the freedom songs protesters sang on picket lines, in mass meetings, in paddy wagons and in jail cells as they fought for justice and equality. The film features new performances of the freedom songs by top artists, including John Legend, Joss Stone, Wyclef Jean and The Roots; riveting archival footage; and interviews with civil rights foot soldiers and leaders, including Congressman John Lewis, Harry Belafonte, Julian Bond and Ambassador Andrew Young.
Sponsors: Bergengren Credit Union, Lyghtesome Gallery and StFX AUT
The Horse Boy - 2009 - USA
93 min
Director: Michel Orion Scott
Year Presented: 2011

The Horse Boy chronicles the journey of Rowan, an autistic boy, with his parents, Rupert and Kristen, across the vast, wild landscape of Mongolia. More than this, the film delves into the strange world of autism itself by consulting various experts in the field on the nature of healing and the differ­ences between cultures. Above all, The Horse Boy tells the story of how Rupert and Kristen search out a way to help their son connect with the world at large.
Sponsors: Bergengren Credit Union, Luke Batdorf, Eckova Productions and Word by Word Bookstore
The Meaning of Life - 2008 - Canada
82 min
Director: Hugh Brody Correctional Service of Canada / Chehalis Nation of British Columbia
Year Presented: 2011

The Meaning of Life looks at a very unusual prison and its fascinating model for rehabilitating prisoners. The film was directed by Hugh Brody as a collaboration between the Che­halis Nation of British Columbia and Correctional Service of Canada and filmed over the course of two years at Kwìkwèx­welhp (formerly known as the Elbow Lake Correctional Facil­ity). The film examines a different way of looking at the con­cepts underlying punishment and rehabilitation in prisons with the idea that the current system can be significantly improved by including community in the process.
Sponsors: Peak Experiences and Antigonish Correctional Facility
The Topp Twins: Untouchable Girls - 2009 - New Zealand
84 min
Director: Leanne Pooley Diva Productions
Year Presented: 2011

New Zealand’s favourite singing, dancing and yodeling les­bian twin sisters reveal all in this rollicking film. From their “coming out” to Jools Topp’s recent brush with breast cancer, Leanne Pooley’s Untouchable Girls is bursting with music, hilarious archival footage and home movies, as well as inter­views with the Topps’ infamous comedy alter-egos, including Ken and Ken, and the bowling ladies. A colleague puts it more simply, “They’re two very, very naughty girls.” The sis­ters’ boundless energy, musical and political savvy, courage in the face of discrimination and infectious zest for life is like a blast of pure unadulterated joy.
Sponsors: Antigonish Women’s Resource Centre,Rainbow Warriors and Antigonish Culture Alive
Total Denial: Doe vs. Unocal - 2006 - Bulgaria / Italy
92 min
Director: Milena Kaneva MK Production
Year Presented: 2011

This is the story of the construction of the Unocal/Total oil pipeline in Burma and of two western corporations making business deals with a junta infamous for human rights abuses. It is also the story of one man, Ka Hsaw Wa, wanted by the law both in Burma and in Thailand. The film shines a light on the common practice of slave labour in Burma, a country controlled by a military dictatorship. An unprece­dented legal battle unfolds in a US courtroom, shocking the world with its revelations. The outcome of this struggle will profoundly affect the actions of corporations worldwide.
Sponsors: Canadian Auto Workers Local 2107, StFX AUT, StFX Department of Business Administration and StFX Department of Political Science
Vanishing of the Bees - 2009 - USA
86 min
Director: George Langworthy & Maryam Henein Hipfuel / Hive Mentality Films
Year Presented: 2011

Vanishing of the Bees follows commercial beekeepers as they strive to keep their bees healthy and fulfill pollination contracts across the U.S. This documentary examines the alarming disappearance of honeybees and the greater mean­ing it holds about the relationship between humankind and Mother Earth. As scientists puzzle over the cause, organic beekeepers discuss possible alternative reasons for this tragic loss. Conflicting opinions abound and after years of research, a definitive answer has not been found to this mys­tery. The bees have a message . . . but are we listening?
Sponsors: Easting Bread & Honey, Cornect Family Farm, Town of Antigonish and Sunflower Natural Health
War in the Mind - 2011 - Canada
64 min
Director: Judy Jackson Face to Face Media
Year Presented: 2011

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is the unending echo of battle etched in the brain that affects up to 15% of soldiers by some estimates. It can destroy families, and can leave its sufferers unable to work, addiction addled and changed. Senator and Lieut. General (Retired) Roméo Dallaire plays a major role in this film, having for many years spoken out in public about his experience with PTSD. This film also discovers that with effective treatment, suicide can be prevented. Interventions such as the UBC/Canadian Legion program help soldiers undo the wiring that military training has implanted in their brains, confront their pain, and learn to live again.
Sponsors: Coady International Institute, Central Building