Thursday, October 18
Acclaimed filmmaker Christy Garland somehow managed to get up close and personal with a feisty young woman who was raised in a refugee camp in the West Bank. Honestly, we don’t know how she did it, but this film follows Walaa over six years of her young life, from 15-21, as she vows to succeed at basic training for the Palestinian Security Forces. The paradox here is that Walaa is a defiant maverick, and so obeying the discipline of boot camp is especially challenging for such a personality. Obstacles abound, not the least of which is the whole Middle East itself. This really is a tour de force of filmmaking. The filmmaker takes us into a life and a reality we would never have known about otherwise. What Garland wants Garland gets with precision, sensitivity, and uncanny intimacy.
Susan Gordanshekan is the German director and screenwriter of this totally winning film. On the surface, the film is about two gorgeous strangers, both Iranians, Mina and Kian, who agree to marry for practical, even understandable reasons. Their challenge is, of course, to make the marriage work, but their differences keep popping up like annoying obstacles, impeding the possibility of harmony, let alone the hope of love. The real-world context of their relationship speaks so much to 21st century themes of cultural displacement—to accommodation and integration. Not only are these young people new to each other but they are also Iranians speaking in a foreign language, adjusting awkwardly to their new German home while aiming so hard to please. And then there’s the cat, a mangy mop of a loser that starts to assume all the metaphorical weight of the marriage itself. Without spoiling the plot, let’s just say that this is a gloriously smart romance turned inside out, pure delight from start to surprising finish.
Meet the women behind the camera of some of the industry’s most compelling documentaries. Learn how documentaries can be used to entertain, educate, effect social change, and serve as a form of activism and why women are leading the world of documentary filmmaking.
This panel will feature Christy Garland (What Walaa Wants), Laura Marie Wayne (Love, Scott) and Lea Marin (What Is Democracy).
The working title of this wonderful documentary was “The Woman Who Loved Giraffes.” That could be the title of a Dr. Seuss tale, and, indeed, there is definitely a childlike quality to Anne Innis Dagg, giraffe pioneer and protector who fell in love with the extraordinary creature as a child at the zoo. This is Anne’s story, one that takes her from a happy childhood in Canada to the untrammelled wilds of Africa where for years she observed the giant animals with the focus of a seasoned scientist. The film is bookended by her return to Africa some fifty years after she first took out her notebook. Realizing early on that she needed the credentials to be taken seriously she pursued a doctorate in zoology and published in all the right journals. The Canadian scientific community, however (shame on you Waterloo), just couldn’t see its way into accepting Anne into its male sanctum. Nevertheless, she persisted. This is the remarkable story—and with amazing footage--of one exceptional woman’s achievements not only in observing the behaviour of giraffes long before anyone else but also in producing influential scholarly texts based on her research. Further, this is the story of a highly principled feminist who stuck her own neck out to protect the graceful long necks of others.
Join the team behind our Festival’s amazing opening night feature, An Audience of Chairs, for an intimate lunch panel where you can chat with the filmmakers and actors to discover the process, stories and secrets behind their work. Featuring lead actress Carolina Bartczak, director Deanne Foley and film editor Wiebke von Carolsfeld.
You have the idea, now you need the funds to make it happen. In an ever-evolving world of financing, we will be offering a panel with a focus on provincial and federal funding opportunities for film, television, digital media and web series.
This panel is FREE to attend!