ReFrame Film Festival intern Katy Catchpole catches up with ReFrame creative director Amy Siegel to discuss the upcoming virtual festival, with some sneak peeks into the festival line-up, and the creative ways that audiences have been able to experience films together while apart.
ReFrame is back! Can you tell me about the upcoming festival?
ReFrame is back for a virtual festival this year, streaming online across Canada from January 27 to February 4, 2022. The festival is bigger than ever, with over 70 films available to audiences on-demand for nine days.
VIDEO: “Bangla Surf Girls” trailer
Last year ReFrame was able to expand its scope to audiences across Ontario, and this year you’ve expanded yet again to reach audiences across Canada. What are your thoughts on why this is important?
It is really exciting to see ReFrame enter the national arena, as we have sort of flown under the radar of the broader documentary community. ReFrame is a known destination for filmmakers and film lovers alike because of how community-focused it is.
We will always highlight topics of interest to Nogojiwanong/Peterborough and the surrounding area, but many of those themes are pertinent to other places, as well. I’m excited to see how those conversations translate into other communities.
VIDEO: “Courage” trailer
Can you give us any sneak peeks into the festival program?
The ReFrame program this year speaks to many pressing issues including environmental activism, food justice, refugee stories, Indigenous sovereignty, art as resistance, and the importance of a free press.
Please note, this is only a sneak peek. The full list of over 70 films in the 2022 program will be revealed in early January.
On a local level, we are proud to be premiering James Cullingham’s feature film The Cost of Freedom about refugee journalists in Canada.
VIDEO: “The Cost of Freedom” trailer
As well, we are really excited to premiere local shorts including Mnoomin: The Gift of the Creator by James Whetung and Michelle Fraser, a film that celebrates and honours the sacred food Mnoomin (wild rice).
There’s also a new film by Mitch Bowmile about the fight to save old-growth trees in the Catchacoma Forest.
Other local artists include Shahed Khaito, Chris Mutton, Mars Pendleton, and more.
On the national level, Heather Hatch’s Wochiigii lo: End of the Peace, which premiered at TIFF this year, is an urgent look at British Columbia’s Site C hydro dam project. Food for the Rest of Us explores radical activism through farming, showcasing four unique and inspiring community food projects.
Canadian projects also trot the globe: The Price of Cheap reveals the lives behind fast fashion, Wuhan Wuhan humanizes a city at the outset of the pandemic, and Bangla Surf Girls celebrates young women set on breaking rules, building friendships, and changing their circumstances.
VIDEO: “Wuhan Wuhan” trailer
On the international level, ReFrame 2022 features exceptional stories on the awards circuit including Writing with FireCourage chronicles the uprisings in Belarus, and Nothing But the Sun is a poetic film about an Ayoreo man trying to preserve his culture in Chaco, Paraguay.
Paper & Glue follows prolific artist JR who creates genre-blending combinations of public art, photography, and large format spectacle. Firestarter is about three Aboriginal brothers in Australia who started the internationally renowned First Nations dance company, Bangarra. The Story Won’t Die features exiled Syrian artists reflecting on a global battle for peace, justice, and freedom of expression.
And that is just the tip of the iceberg that is ReFrame 2022!
VIDEO: “Firestarter: The Story of Bangarra Dance Theatre” trailer
Last year there were some very interesting talks, Q+A’s, and panels. Can we expect more of that this year?
I am honoured to say that Tanya Talaga, renowned Anishinaabe journalist, author, public speaker, and director, will be the keynote speaker for this year’s festival.
Tanya Talaga and Michelle Derosier co-directed the film Mashkawi-manidoo bimaadiziwin: Spirit to Soar, which documents the stories of the seven First Nations teenagers who died or went missing while in high school in Thunder Bay, Ontario, centring the voices of the families and communities. The film is inspired by Tanya Talaga’s book Seven Fallen Feathers.
The keynote address will take place on opening night on Thursday January 27, 2022.
In 2021, it was a fascinating experience to connect with filmmakers from across the country and around the world. That is a really exciting feature of the online format, as it allows us to bring in speakers that would otherwise be excluded from the event. Look out for the full program and schedule of live events in early January.
VIDEO: “Food for the Rest of Us” trailer
It sounds like community is a big part of what makes ReFrame what it is. How did audiences connect with the virtual format in 2021?
Last year our audiences came up with some really creative ideas for how to watch movies together. We heard about folks hosting Zoom parties, ordering the same food, and coordinating start times across households, as well as group discussions and talk-backs led by different organizations.
It was really wonderful to hear about all the ways audiences stayed connected.
If you have a story you would like to share about how you and your family or friends participated in ReFrame 2021, or about how you plan to enjoy the upcoming festival, get in touch with ReFrame intern Katy Catchpole at firstname.lastname@example.org.
VIDEO: “Nothing But The Sun” trailer
It sounded like there might be some in-person screenings this year. Can you talk about that?
We have decided to save in-person screenings for next spring and fall. Community safety concerns are paramount for us, and the arrival of a new variant and increases in COVID-19 cases across the province, means that right now there are too many unknowns.
Keeping our community safe has always been our top priority and the online festival allows us to do that. We are also looking forward to having more opportunities for local audiences to visit our beloved venues throughout the year. We will have more information about those screenings after the festival.
We appreciate all the support we have received so far, and look forward to a time we can all safely watch movies together.
VIDEO: “Paper & Glue” trailer
What sets ReFrame apart from other festivals?
One special thing about ReFrame is that community groups invest in the festival by sponsoring films. We are indebted to the incredible support provided by organizations, ad-hoc groups, university clubs and departments, and individuals.
When the film program is revealed in early January, I highly encourage folks to take a close look at the groups sponsoring each film. It’s a great way to connect film themes to the work being done on the ground.
VIDEO: “The Price of Cheap” trailer
How do I purchase a pass or ticket for the virtual festival?
To buy passes to the virtual festival, or to learn more, visit www.reframefilmfestival.ca.
kawarthaNOW is proud to be a media sponsor of the ReFrame Film Festival.