ReFrame ‘Takes You Around the World in Four Days’

Creative director offers peek into upcoming film festival

Filming For Sama, Maiden and Honeyland

There will be lights, camera and action early in 2020 with Peterborough’s 16th offering of its international film festival.

The ReFrame Film Festival runs from Jan. 23 to 26, illuminating the darkest period of the year with social justice documentaries from around the world.

With a goal to foster meaningful connections between audiences, filmmakers, artists, community partners, and neighbours, Amy Siegel, creative director for the ReFrame Film Festival, discusses with Electric City Magazine the objectives and highlights for this year’s edition of ReFrame.

 

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What makes the festival an important event?

Creating a space for this kind of work to be seen, inspiring people to act in their own community and hearing the conversations continue throughout the year makes it all worthwhile.

ReFrame takes you around the world in four days.

The films share deeply-personal stories that take you on a journey far beyond a news headline ever could. Witnessing this type of intimate storytelling with your friends, family, neighbours, community can be a profound collective experience.

You get to immerse yourself in an environment, in a person’s life, spending time with those experiences, really contemplating them. I see people walking out of the movie theatre already deep in conversation, holding their loved ones close and calling their friends to tell them about what they just saw.

 

nîpawistamâsowin: We Will Stand Up

 

What are a few highlights for this year?

This year, we have incredible films that we can’t wait to share with audiences. It’s so hard to choose a few highlights.

Blockbuster Oscar-nominated hits like For Sama, Maiden and Honeyland, demand to be watched on the big screen. The feature-length world premiere of Town of Widows is a must-see. It follows Peterborough residents as they fight for compensation for health issues they acquired working for General Electric.

There will also be a circus performance following the sneak-peek of Lester Alfonso’s latest, Circus Boy, about Peterborough Circus founder Thomas Vaccaro.

Our Opening Night film on Thursday, Jan. 23 is Máxima, an inspirational film about Máxima Acuña, a Peruvian farmer fighting to protect her land against a multi-national mining corporation.

Tasha Hubbard’s nîpawistamâsowin: We Will Stand Up has been stirring hearts, inspiring audiences to action and winning awards as it sweeps across Canada. It tells the story of Colten Boushie, a young Cree man who was shot on a farm in Saskatchewan, and his family’s ensuing fight for justice.

Sensitively directed by Tasha, it weaves a profound narrative encompassing the filmmaker’s own adoption, the stark history of colonialism on the prairies and a vision of a future where Indigenous children can live safely on their homelands.

ReFrame is honoured to be hosting Jade Tootoosis, advocate and sister to late Colten Boushie from the Red Pheasant Cree Nation, for a conversation following the screening.

Special guests, including Alanis Obomsawin, will be coming to ReFrame with her 52nd film Jordan River Anderson: The Messenger.

 

Máxima Acuña

 

What is/are the best thing(s) that could happen?

I hope that ReFrame audiences see films that challenge the way they think about the world and how they think about documentary film.

ReFrame brings the best of documentary world cinema to local theatres, creating awareness about social injustice, arts and culture, the environmental crisis and global conflict. Creating a space for this kind of work to be seen, inspiring people to act in their own community and hearing the conversations continue throughout the year makes it all worthwhile.

 

How will you know it’s a success?

Local organizations this year are facilitating film discussions, panel presentations and organizing petitions from topics spanning the opioid crisis to extinction of salmon in the Otonabee River, using film as a tool for activism.

January can be a difficult time of year, it is cold and dark.

ReFrame brings people together to watch films of course, but also to have conversations, engage with important issues and feel inspired. Seeing crowds gathered together in the dead of winter, running from screening to screening, participating in panels and discussions, huddled over hot coffees debating ideas — seeing the community come to life, is what makes the festival an absolute success.

 

What happens after ReFrame winds down to keep the focus on the key issues?

ReFrame has a community sponsorship program that connects on-the-ground local work being done by the incredible organizations in our own community to the world issues that ReFrame is bringing to the screens.

Local organizations this year are facilitating film discussions, panel presentations and organizing petitions from topics spanning the opioid crisis to extinction of salmon in the Otonabee River, using film as a tool for activism.

In 2020, we are also excited to be working towards more screenings year-round. We know Peterborough is hungry for more documentaries and we are excited to serve as a platform and have a presence throughout the year.”

 

For more information and tickets, visit the website.

Photos courtesy of the ReFrame Film Festival.

Check back with Electric City Magazine in January 2020 for additional coverage of ReFrame.

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