The ReFrame Film Festival has unveiled the complete film lineup for its first-ever virtual documentary film festival, which runs for a full week beginning Friday, January 22nd.
With the festival going online this year because of the pandemic, nearly 50 films are available to anyone living in Ontario to stream from the comfort and safety of their own homes.
In recognition of the impact of the pandemic on Canada’s collective arts community, this year’s festival is focused on supporting Canadian films and filmmakers.
Canadian-made films include The Magnitude of All Things (an exploration of climate grief), Dope is Death (a documentary on how the Young Lords and Black Panther Party created the first acupuncture detoxification program), Softie (the story of Kenyan activist Boniface Mwangi in his run for office), and Judy vs. Capitalism (a profile of the prolific women’s rights advocate, Judy Rebick, who will also be speaking at the festival).
VIDEO: “Judy Versus Capitalism” Trailer
Ontario audiences will also have a chance to see short films made by Peterborough-area filmmakers, including Benjamin Hargreaves’ The River (a profile of the Peterborough arts magazine produced by low-income artists), Julia Huynh’s We Dance at Home (an exploration of her family history of emigrating to Peterborough), Cara Mumford’s Sing Them Home (an artistic exploration of salmon migration in Michi Saagiig territory), and a ReFrame and Public Energy Performing Arts’ joint production of Pivot: Performance in a Pandemic, where Peterborough artists talk about life in lockdown.
International films include the Canadian premiere of We Hold the Line (the story of Maria Ressa, the fearless journalist defending freedom of speech in the Philippines), The Sit-In: Harry Belafonte Hosts the Tonight Show (a documentary about the week Johnny Carson gave up his seat on the Tonight Show to activist and singer Harry Belafonte), 9to5: The Story of a Movement (the story of the women’s union that inspired the film, by Oscar-winning duo Julia Reichert and Steven Bognar), and The Earth is as Blue as an Orange (the story of a family who makes films together while under siege in the Ukraine).
The festival kicks off on Friday, January 22nd with a virtual opening night that includes a keynote address by Curve Lake playwright and author Drew Hayden Taylor.
This year’s ReFrame also features Q&As with documentary filmmakers, including Jennifer Abbott (The New Corporation, The Magnitude of All Things), Lulu Wei (There’s No Place Like This Place, Any Place), Sam Soko (Softie), Tiffany Hsiung (Sing Me A Lullaby, The Apology), and Deia Schlossberg (The Story of Plastic).
Listed below are all the films featured at this year’s virtual ReFrame Film Festival, with the complete detailed film guide (where films can be filtered by topic) available at my.reframefilmfestival.ca/films. A full schedule of events, including filmmaker Q&As, will be released on Monday, January 18th.
All-access passes, allowing you to see all the films and events, are available for $60. Festival 5-packs, allowing you to choose five films, are available for $40. Tickets for individual films will also be available for $10 each (or pay what you can). Buy passes and 5-packs at my.reframefilmfestival.ca/passes/buy.
2021 ReFrame Film Festival film lineup
For details about each film and to register for a virtual screening, visit my.reframefilmfestival.ca/films.
- 9to5: The Story of a Movement (86 minutes | United States | 2020) – The latest film from Oscar-winners Julia Reichert and Steve Bognar ( American Factory ) explores a pivotal but little remembered intersection of women’s rights and labour rights. In the early 1970s, secretaries and other female office workers were underpaid, undervalued, unable to advance, and often subject to sexual harassment. In the wake of the Women’s Liberation Movement, a group of women in Boston finally had enough, joining together to begin 9to5, a movement that would sweep the nation with irreverent, attention-getting actions to demand meaningful change—and later inspire the eponymous hit film and song.
- Abortion Helpline, This is Lisa (13 minutes | United States | 2019) – A revealing look at how economic stigma and cruel legislation determines who in America has access to abortion.
- Call Me Human (78 minutes | Canada | 2020) – An intimate portrait of Innu poet Joséphine Bacon.
- Canada’s Unchecked Racism (6 minutes | Canada | 2020) – Growing up as a non-white Canadian, you experience racism every day. What makes Canadian racism so unique, is that you almost don’t notice it.
- Chung Toi Nhay Dam O Nha (We Dance At Home) (7 minutes | Canada | 2017) – Through interviews and archival footage, the filmmaker explores her parent’s experience of being Vietnamese in Peterborough.
- Coded Bias (83 minutes | United States | 2020) – CODED BIAS explores the fallout of mit media lab researcher Joy Buolamwini’s startling discovery that facial recognition does not see dark-skinned faces accurately, and her journey to push for the first-ever legislation in the U.S. to govern against bias in the algorithms that impact us all.
- Cottagers and Indians (45 minutes | Canada | 2020) – James Whetung is claiming his Indigenous right to cultivate wild rice on Ontario’s Pigeon Lake, but local homeowners are furious about large-scale changes in the waterways.
- Dope Is Death (78 minutes | Canada | 2020) – The story of how the Young Lords and Black Panther Party—two inner-city human rights activist groups— created the first acupuncture detoxification program in America.
- The Earth is Blue as an Orange (74 minutes | Ukraine, Lithuania | 2020) – Director Iryna Tsilyk’s documentary follows single mother Anna and her four children as they document their lives under siege in Ukraine.
- êmîcêtôcêt: Many Bloodlines (11 minutes | Canada | 2020) – A Cree filmmaker and her white partner document their pregnancy and journey to parenthood.
- First We Eat (101 minutes | Canada | 2020) – First We Eat: Food Security North of 60 celebrates the ingenuity, resourcefulness & knowledge of Northern Canadians and our relationship to the land through the food that we hunt, fish, gather, grow and raise in the North.
- For the Love of Rutland (92 minutes | United States | 2020) – A small, blue-collar city struggles with the opioid crisis and with welcoming new refugees in an epic identity crisis that threatens to tear them apart.
- The Garden Collective (22 minutes | Canada | 2020) – The Garden Collective follows the Prison for Women Memorial Collective as they work to build a memorial garden on the grounds of the former prison in Kingston, Ontario.
- Gichitwaa Nibi – Sacred Water (Water Teaching with Dorothy Taylor) (15 minutes | Canada | 2021) – An Elder and a water activist, Dorothy Taylor shares Sacred Water Teachings that call for action to bring balance to the world.
- Granite Man of Gilmour (15 minutes | Canada | 2019) – A profile of David Hamel, who dedicated himself to building a flying saucer in his backyard.
- Headwaters to Hearts: Education in Action (7 minutes | Canada | 2021) – Headwaters to Hearts is a local story of education in action. Students and teachers at St. Anne CES came together with GreenUP to transform their relationship to water and protect the local watershed by transforming a flood-prone corner of their school yard.
- In the Shadow of the Pines (7 minutes | Canada | 2020) – An animated short documentary about a difficult father-daughter relationship. Drawing on childhood memories, Anne Koizumi, the filmmaker, explores her upbringing with her Japanese immigrant dad, who was also the janitor at the elementary school she attended. The film explores the idea of shame and how it can shape and define us while also concealing who we can truly become.
- Influence (91 minutes | Canada | 2020) – The story of controversial advertising and public relations executive Timothy Bell.
- John Ware Reclaimed (70 minutes | Canada | 2020) – JOHN WARE RECLAIMED follows Filmmaker Cheryl Foggo on her quest to uncover the complex story of John Ware, a Black cowboy who settled in Alberta during the ranching industry’s early years.
- Judy vs. Capitalism (62 minutes | Canada | 2020) – A portrait of the life of influential Canadian activist Judy Rebick, based in part on her memoir Heroes in My Head.
- Keyboard Fantasies: The Beverly Glenn-Copeland Story (63 minutes | United Kingdom | 2020) – Part biopic, part tour documentary, the film Keyboard Fantasies tells the mystical tale of cult musician Beverly Glenn-Copeland.
- Landfall (91 minutes | United States | 2020) – Chronicling the aftermath of Hurricane Maria and the fraught relationship between the US and Puerto Rico.
- The Magnitude of All Things (85 minutes | Canada | 2020) – The Magnitude of All Things merges stories from the front lines of climate change with recollections of the loss of her sister, drawing intimate parallels between personal and planetary grief.
- Manasie Akpaliapik (5 minutes | Canada | 2020) – This short film explores how renowned Inuk artist, Manasie Akpaliapik, shares his culture and relationship to land through his carvings.
- My Name is Anik (16 minutes | United Kingdom | 2019) – Bircan has decided to learn Kurdish, her once-forbidden mother tongue, with all the words her grandmother has forgotten and all the stories that have remained unspoken.
- The Need to Grow (96 minutes | United States | 2019) – The Need To Grow delivers alarming evidence on the importance of healthy soil – revealing not only the potential of localized food production working with nature, but our opportunity as individuals to help regenerate our planet’s dying soils and participate in the restoration of the Earth.
- The New Corporation: The Unfortunately Necessary Sequel (106 minutes | Canada | 2020) – From Joel Bakan and Jennifer Abbott, filmmakers of the multi-award-winning global hit, The Corporation, comes this hard-hitting and timely sequel.
- No Ordinary Man (84 minutes | Canada | 2020) – No Ordinary Man is an in-depth look at the life of musician and trans culture icon Billy Tipton. Complicated, beautiful and historically unrivaled, this groundbreaking film shows what is possible when a community collaborates to honor the legacy of an unlikely hero.
- No Visible Trauma (95 minutes | Canada | 2020) – The lives of three men and their families are torn apart by the violent actions of Calgary police officers and a justice system that refuses to hold them accountable.
- On Treaties with Elder Doug Williams (7 minutes | Canada | 2018
Elder Doug Williams discusses omissions in history and the importance of knowing the truth about treaties.
- The Painter and the Thief (102 minutes | Norway | 2019) – Czech artist Barbora Kysilkova develops an unlikely friendship with the man who stole two of her paintings.
- Pivot: Performance in a Pandemic (7 minutes | Canada | 2021) – Peterborough performance artists talk about life in lockdown.
- Prayer For A Lost Mitten (79 minutes | Canada | 2020) – Prayer For A Lost Mitten takes us to snowy Montreal, where transit riders file into the metro system’s lost and found centre to rummage for lost hand-knit tuques and missing house keys, or inquire after photos of departed loved ones tucked into missing bus pass sleeves.
- The Reason I Jump (82 minutes | United Kingdom | 2019) – Based on the book by Naoki Higashida this immersive film explores the experiences of nonspeaking autistic people around the world.
- Rematriate: Passing the seeds (6 minutes | Canada | 2020) – This short film follows the creation of the “Rematriate: Passing the seeds” wampum belt.
- The River Guards (20 minutes | United States | 2020) – Faced with the enormous environmental and health crisis of a contaminated river and city, “The River Guards” tells the intimate story of a dedicated community of grassroots activists fighting for 30 years against corporate negligence and government bureaucracy, and with a new and contentious cleanup plan for the Housatonic River on the table, how they are dealing with the uncertain future.
- River Queens: Highlight My Strengths (16 minutes | New Zealand | 2020) – New Zealand national coach and paddler Howard Hyland, 76, returns to his roots to start a competitive waka ama club for youth on the Whanganui River – the first river in the world to be granted personhood. His team, the River Queens, learn as much about paddling as they do life.
- The River (17 minutes | Canada | 2020) – The River Magazine is dedicated to showcasing the art, words, and stories of those who identify as part of the low-income community in Peterborough, Ontario.
- See Us (5 minutes | Canada | 2019) – A short, heartwarming documentary inspired by the efforts of Emilee and Hannah Schevers in the creation of their virtual community for celebrating disabilities called “Tru Faces.”
- Sing Me A Lullaby (29 minutes | Canada | 2020) – Captured over 14 years, across two continents a daughter’s search for her mother’s birth parents unravels the complex tensions between love and sacrifice.
- Sing Them Home (13 minutes | Canada | 2020) – Dancing the past and future waterways of salmon migration in Michi Saagiig territory.
- The Sit-In: Harry Belafonte Hosts the Tonight Show (77 minutes | United States | 2020) – For one week in February 1968, Johnny Carson gave up his chair to Harry Belafonte, the first time an African-American had hosted a late night TV show for a whole week.
- Softie (96 minutes | Kenya, Canada | 2020) – As one of Africa’s most notorious activists, Boniface Mwangi, enters mainstream politics to challenge social injustice, he faces questions on the cost of his sacrifices from his country, family and himself.
- Starborn (16 minutes | Canada | 2020) – It is 50 years in the future. What will a grandmother tell her grandchildren about the time of pandemic? What can she teach them – about stories, about grief, about hope?
- The Story of Plastic (93 minutes | United States, Indonesia, China, India, Philippines, Belgium | 2019) – A detailed look into the environmental damage and human rights abuses that occur throughout the lifecycle of plastic. What can companies, countries and people do to fix the issues?
- There’s No Place Like This Place, Anyplace (75 minutes | Canada | 2020) – There’s No Place Like This Place, Anyplace profiles the issue of gentrification in Toronto through the history, demolition and redevelopment of the historic Honest Ed’s department store.
- A Walk in the Park (5 minutes | Canada | 2020) – A young girl describes the struggles of life under quarantine in letters to her grandparents.
- We Hold the Line (93 minutes | Germany | 2020) – In the Philippines, journalist Maria Ressa and her team from the news platform Rappler fight against a violent president who is turning the country into a dictatorship.
- Wintopia (89 minutes | Canada | 2020) – A box of tapes uncovered. A lifelong Utopian obsession. A daughter’s attempt to complete her father’s final film.
kawarthaNOW is proud to be a sponsor of the 2021 ReFrame Film Festival.