DOXA 2019 brings you justice, feminist porn, and Gordon Lightfoot

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      The golden age of the documentary continues apace, and DOXA is here to fill your cup once again. 

      Vancouver’s Documentary Film Festival announced its 18th year line-up today (April 8), starting with a gala opening night screening of Baljit Sangra’s Because We Are Girls on May 3. 

      Produced by the NFB, Sangra’s film looks at the impact of sexual abuse on an Indo-Canadian family in Williams Lake. 

      A second gala screening on May 8 brings nîpawistamâsowin: We Will Stand Up to Vancouver fresh from its celebrated debut at Hot Docs. 

      Tasha Hubbard’s searing film examines the 2016 shooting death of Colten Boushie on Gerald Stanley’s Saskatchewan farm, and the subsequent trial.

      Both titles mark the 10th anniversary of DOXA’s incomparable Justice Forum—which includes films focused this year on China’s one-child policy (Once Child Nation), the global housing crisis (Push), South Africa’s militant student movement (Everything Must Fall), and a screening of Nettie Wild’s 1998 film A Place Called Chiapas commemorating the 25th anniversary of the Zapatista uprising.

      Wild’s film, notably, is followed by a discussion on efforts to repatriate footage from the doc to Mexico.

      It’s not included in the Justice Forum, but closing night’s Merata: How Mum Decolonised the Screen pays tribute to Merata Mita, whose 1988 film Mauri was the first narrative feature written and directed by a Māori woman. 

      The sprawling program of 82 films is sectioned into a variety of themes:

      Communities of Care puts the spotlight on service dogs (Buddy), infant swim lessons (DIVE: Rituals in Water), and the demands brought on by illness and death (Instructions on Parting, America, Mom Calling).

      Politics of Place takes us to Southern Slovenia (Greetings From Free Forests), Turkey (Xalko), and Vietnam (Pomelo) for formally audacious consideration of landscape and people, while probable audience favourite Los Reyes provides an affecting dogs-eye view of a skate park in Santiago, Chile.

      In Rated Y for Youth, we see topics ranging from the cosmetics industry (Toxic Beauty), to workplace exploitation (Call Me Intern), to the prejudice experienced by LGBTQ+ athletes in Canada (Standing on the Line).

      Expanding on the last four years of its French French program, this year DOXA gives us Italia Italia.

      Once again curated by Thierry Garrel, the series highlights the work of Mosco Levi Boucault, whose career-long interest in politics and crime Italian-style is represented by the Vancouver premiere of titles like Berlusconi: The Mondadori Affair, They Were the Red Brigades, and the epic Corleone.

      The festival also continues to expand its canvas with special features like Longing and Belonging, a collaboration with Rungh magazine that looks back at South Asian-themed film and video art from the '90s “loosely structured,” in the words of guest programmer Zool Suleman, “around themes of diaspora, desire, and identity.”

      Also drawing outside the lines: on May 4, filmmaker Kelly O’Brien combines live performance with eight years of photo essays posted on Facebook to create Postings From Home

      As always, music lovers are well served by DOXA, with films covering certain Canadian heroes (Gordon Lightfoot: If You Could Read My Mind), problematic geniuses (Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool), surprisingly political hit records (Who Let the Dogs Out?), and cult folkies from the '60s named “Dalton” (A Bright Light: Karen and the Process).

      Elsewhere, we see transgender parenting (Seahorse: The Dad Who Gave Birth), feminist porn (Candice), and the daily lives of mortuary workers in Spain (City of the Dead)—and we’re still not close to covering everything.

      The DOXA Documentary Film Festival takes place from May 2 - 12. For more information visit the website—going live with the 2019 program at 8 a.m. Tuesday (April 9)

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