Environmental documentaries to watch at Peterborough’s ReFrame Film Festival

The Messenger, After the Last River, and Fractured Land screen on January 29 and 30 at Showplace

One of several environmentally themed documentaries screening at this year's ReFrame film festival, "The Messenger" documents the human impact on songbirds, including their most common cause of death in urban areas: severe head trauma from hitting the glass windows of high-rise structures.
One of several environmentally themed documentaries screening at this year's ReFrame film festival, The Messenger documents the human impact on songbirds, including their most common cause of death in urban areas: severe head trauma from hitting the glass windows of high-rise structures.

Winter is settling in and the holidays are over. If you live in the Kawarthas, it’s a time for excitement and anticipation as we plan our viewing pleasures for the upcoming annual ReFrame Peterborough International Documentary Festival.

Each January, downtown Peterborough kicks off the new year with this high-quality, community-oriented, entertaining, and educational film festival. This year ReFrame runs from Friday, January 29th through Sunday, January 31st, at venues throughout the downtown core of Peterborough. Over a dozen downtown restaurants and cafes provide meal and snack options for ReFrame guests.

ReFrame’s focus is to present the audience with films about human rights and social justice issues and to encourage dialogue and activism within every level of society. The films have been carefully hand-picked by staff and volunteers, and are chosen based on their ability to impact, enlighten, and entertain us.

In today’s society, we have become increasingly aware of, and rightfully concerned about, climate change and environmental degradation. It is important to know how our world is changing and what we can do to make it a better place for future generations. This year, ReFrame is screening 10 environment-focused films that investigate a wide variety of issues and topics. From well-manicured lawns to extreme capitalism and its effect on the environment, these films will leave you feeling both distressed and inspired.

This year, ReFrame has gathered filmmakers from three featured films who have taken very important environmental issues and shed light on the destruction that we have been causing in our natural landscape.

They will be hosting a Human Construction/Environmental Destruction discussion forum on Saturday, January 30th at The Bourbon Barrel Saloon (140 King St. Peterborough) from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. The filmmakers include Su Rynard of The Messenger, Victoria Lean of After the Last River, and Fiona Rayher of Fractured Land along with Caleb Behn, the subject of the film.


Songbirds have something to say, and we must listen

A still from "The Messenger", showing a nest of baby American robins living in an industrial site in Alberta's Boreal Forest.
A still from The Messenger, showing a nest of baby American robins living in an industrial site in Alberta’s Boreal Forest.
Over the past 50 years, songbird populations have been rapidly dwindling. In The Messenger, director Su Rynard takes the audience through how humans have affected songbirds so greatly from hunting and pesticides to light pollution, high-rises, and pipelines.

This visually stunning film brings the world together to look at the depletion of songbirds and what they face, as well as what we are doing to change not only their future, but our own.

The Messenger screens at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, January 29th at Showplace Performance Centre (290 George St. N., Peterborough, 705-742-7469).


Attawapiskat: where diamonds are not a community’s best friend

The documentary "After the Last River" tells the story of the Attawapiskat First Nation's rise from obscurity into the international spotlight during the protests of Idle No More. The film tells the community’s story  with personal stories intertwined with mounting environmental issues, mining industry agendas, government policy, and a complex portrait of this remote territory.
The documentary After the Last River tells the story of the Attawapiskat First Nation’s rise from obscurity into the international spotlight during the protests of Idle No More. The film tells the community’s story with personal stories intertwined with mounting environmental issues, mining industry agendas, government policy, and a complex portrait of this remote territory.

Attawapiskat is a community that has been facing major crisis and environmental issues. After the Last River was filmed over five years and follows the journey of this community from protests of Idle No More to the lack of benefiting from resource revenues.

This documentary takes us through interviews and personal stories from Indigenous people, as well as government policies and the mining industry.

After the Last River screens at 3 p.m. on Saturday, January 30th at Showplace Performance Centre (290 George St. N., Peterborough, 705-742-7469).


Crossing boundaries: Caleb Behn, a Dene moose hunter, lawyer, and environmental leader with Unity Singers

Caleb Behn is the subject of the film "Fractured Land", which follows four years in the life of this young Dene moose hunter, lawyer, and environmental leader and looks at the impacts of hydraulic fracturing in Canada and New Zealand.
Caleb Behn is the subject of the film Fractured Land, which follows four years in the life of this young Dene moose hunter, lawyer, and environmental leader and looks at the impacts of hydraulic fracturing in Canada and New Zealand.
Fractured Land goes through four years of the life of Caleb Behn, a young Dene man building a movement in his community and the world. Behn’s father is a devout environmentalist and residential school survivor, while his mother is a top executive for the oil and gas industry.

The audience is shown his development through law school and what it takes to make a difference while looking out for the wellbeing of his people and land. As he progresses and shares his knowledge with larger and larger crowds, Caleb is spreading awareness and the motivation to reconcile with the fractures of his world.

After the Last River screens at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, January 30th at Showplace Performance Centre (290 George St. N., Peterborough, 705-742-7469).


You’ll also want to check out Bikes vs. Cars, a Swedish 2015 film exploring a new future aimed towards a healthier and more sustainable mode of transportation.

Other environment-focused films to look for in this year’s ReFrame film festival include Haida Gwaii: On the Edge of the World, Plant This Movie, I am a Seed Saver, This Changes Everything, Land of Many Palaces, and Banking Nature.

Schedules for these films and others can be found at www.reframefilmfestival.ca and the GreenUP Store, where you can also purchase festival passes.

Passes are $40 for adults and $20 for students or un/underemployed. If passes are sold out, you can get $10 rush tickets for each film, available at the door only.

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GreenUP
For more than 20 years, GreenUP has been central and eastern Ontario's leading organization focused on issues of environmental education, sustainability, and stewardship. GreenUP is a non-profit charity and an active community organization that offers dozens of programs and services to those living in the Peterborough & Kawartha Lakes region of Ontario. GreenUP's programs focus on facilitating positive action and provide the tools to make small changes in the home or cottage that can create a large and lasting impact on our environment. You can follow GreenUP on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.