What are you going to see at DOXA?

It’s the day documentary filmmakers and fanatics have been waiting for since last year: The start of DOXA Documentary Film Festival less than 24 hours away.

I’m sure by now most of you have picked up a DOXA program book, or browsed the list of films online, and of course all of you are going to go support DOC Members with films in the festival. But what else are you going to see? After all, with over a week’s worth of films it might be overwhelming to choose just a few.

Lucky for you, one of our lovely DOC BC Members and former DOXA jury member, Michelle Bjornson, has put together a list of ten must-see documentaries.

Bloody Beans — Winner of the Best Documentary Film Award 2013 Copenhagen International Documentary
Film Festival

Saturday, May 3, 2014 – 9:15pm VIFF’s Vancity Theatre

 “The Algerian War of Independence, as told through a gang of street kids, is the basic gist of Narimane Mari’s debut film, but that description simply doesn’t do it justice. Phantasmagorical, magic, and occasionally a little bit cuckoo, this is documentary filmmaking that takes serious risks.”

Return to Homs — Winner of the World Cinema Grand Jury Prize for Documentary at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival

Sunday, May 4, 2014 – 9:00pm – The Cinematheque

“A remarkable portrait of a country at war, Talal Derki’s film was made over the course of two years (from August 2011 to August 2013). During this period, we watch a group of young men transform from ordinary citizens into revolutionary fighters. In the city of Homs, the fighting has been brutal, even by Syrian standards. The place has been transformed into little more than a bombed out husk.”

The Circle —Winner of the Teddy and Audience Awards at the 2014 Berlin Film Festival,

Friday, May 9, 2014 – 6:30pm – The Cinematheque
“Stefan Haupt’s lovely docu-drama blends sumptuous recreations with real-life interviews with the actual participants in this story about the first gay rights organization in Switzerland.”


Song from the Forest —Winner VPRO Award for Best Feature-Length Documentary, 2013 International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam.

Saturday, May 10, 2014 – 11:00am –  VIFF’s Vancity Theatre

“While listening to the radio one night in Amsterdam, Louis Sarno heard a recording of some strange singing. The moment changed his life. He bought a one-way ticket to the Central African Republic and set about finding the Bayaka people, the creators of the mysterious music, and one of the last communities of huntergatherers on Earth. As befits a film about a musician, the film is an aural tapestry of sound.“

Pipeline —Winner, Karlovy Vary IFF 2013 (Best Documentary Film); MDR Prize (Excellent Eastern European Documentary) 2013 Dok Leipzig.

Sunday, May 11, 2014 – 1:00pm – VIFF’s Vancity Theatre
“Expansive, in the largest sense of the word, Vitalij Manskij’s epic film stretches across the world’s largest country, following the route of the eponymous gas pipeline that delivers gas from Siberia to Europe. Despite the distance travelled, there is a sense that some strange inertia grips the people depicted.”

Powerless—This special screening of Powerless was chosen by our guest curator and essayist Charles Montgomery.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014 – 8:45pm – The Cinematheque“In Kanpur, India, in the brutal summer heat, when the power goes off, life gets very harsh for the city’s three million inhabitants.”

Nostalgia for the Light—This special screening of Patricio Guzmán’s extraordinary film was chosen by our guest curator Rebecca Solnit.

Thursday, May 8, 2014 – 7:15pm – VIFF’s Vancity Theatre

“The Atacama Desert in northern Chile is one of the driest places on the entire planet. The Atacama was also the site of a concentration camp established by Gen. Augusto Pinochet, where thousands of people “disappeared.”

Fly Colt Fly: Legend of the Barefoot Bandit

Friday, May 9, 2014 – 12:30pm – VIFF’s Vancity Theatre
Saturday, May 10, 2014 – 9:00pm –  The Cinematheque

“The Gray Brothers have fashioned an adrenaline-fueled caper epic, chock-a-block with animated car chases, boat chases, and even plane chases. Colton’s story serves as an interesting example of the intersection between different forms of mediated reality, be it conventional journalism, online culture, and even documentary film itself.”

Cinéma Vérité: Defining the Moment

Friday, May 9, 2014 – 4:15pm – VIFF’s Vancity Theatre
If you would like to sum up the entire ethos of DOXA this year, you need look no further than Wolf Koenig’s interview in Peter Wintonick’s masterwork, Cinéma Vérité. Says Koenig: “All documentary is theatre. It’s all manufactured. Every cut is a lie. But you’re telling a lie in order to tell truth.” DOXA is extremely honoured and proud to offer this special presentation, in collaboration with the Vancouver International Film Festival, in tribute to Peter Wintonick, who passed away earlier this year.

Shameless Propaganda

Saturday, May 3, 2014 – 7:00pm – The Cinematheque
An interesting companion to Peter Wintonick’s Cinéma Vérité, Robert Lower’s investigation into the roots of the National Film Board of Canada provides a revelatory look at this most august of institutions.  On the anniversary of the 75th year of the National Film Board of Canada, DOXA is exceptionally proud to present the world premiere of Shameless Propaganda

Have your own suggestions for what to see at DOXA this year? Post them on our facebook wall, or tweet at us.  And don’t forget to come out to DOC BC Day at DOXA to meet DOXA filmmakers and mingle with DOC Members. 

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