Langara students had the opportunity to screen their documentaries before an audience of approximately 30 people as part of the weekend’s Just Film Festival.
Hosted by Langara, from Feb. 28 to Mar. 2 the event showcased social justice and environmental documentaries. Its mandate was to gather Vancouver’s diverse social justice community to a festival that encouraged reflection, was a forum for discussion and a place to prompt action.
“While the issues are often difficult, we feel it is important to provide tools and ideas for solutions,” said the information guide.
Dozens of professional films were shown over the course of the weekend-long festival, as well as five from students of Langara’s documentary film program.
Documentary topics included gynecomastia and unicycle race
The first student film was Tony, a short directed by Roqaya A. Hameid that told the story of one man’s struggle with gynecomastia, the enlargement of breast tissue in males. As the credits rolled, the audience sat in contemplative silence.
The pace quickly shifted with the next film, entitled The Gran Nigel and directed by Joella Cabalu. Using a light-hearted approach, it told the story of Nigel Wakita, a performer and instructor at the Vancouver Circus School who decided to ride his unicycle in a race from Vancouver to Whistler. Wakita’s witty description of events had the audience at Langara laughing.
“The film with the unicyclist was definitely my favourite,” said Mark Gilchrist, one of the audience members. “It really made me laugh.”
Throwing Punches, Press Pause and Hives for Humanity
Next up was Throwing Punches: A Stuntwoman’s Journey. Rosalie Miller directed the film that followed the career of Leanne Hindle, a pioneering professional stuntwoman. Hindle, alongside family and friends, was also present for a screening of the film that was received with unanimous applause from the audience.
Press Pause: Reset Your Life again changed the mood with its connection of stress and spirituality. Directed by and starring Linda Cherry, the film tackled its subject through sensory deprivation, meditation and radical shifts in perspective, and was met with mixed reactions.
The fifth and final film, Hives for Humanity: The Power of Bees, was directed by Mathew Parry and allowed the audience an intimate view of a beekeeper’s unique hive setup in Vancouver’s Downtown East Side. It was a fitting end to the festival and seemed to delight all present.
Reported by Ben Zutter