Films presented at the 2009 Film Festival

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49 Megawatts                                                                - 2007 - Canada
31 min
Director: Bryan Smith
Year Presented: 2009

49 Megawatts looks at the future of BC’s rivers. The province has recently issued hundreds of private water licenses for power production. In an attempt to uncover the backroom politics behind the approval of the Ashlu Creek Hydro Project, Bryan Smith reveals how the government of BC is fast tracking hydro projects under the name of “green power” without efforts to curb power demand, adequately assess the environmental impacts of “run of river” hydro projects, or consider the input of local communities and governments. 49 Megawatts has been acclaimed for its amazing kayaking footage and for exposing the controversy over these energy projects.
Sponsors: Antigonish Harbour Watershed Association; Wishing Wells
4857 [Life in Tuzla Shipyards] - 2008 - Turkey
30 min
Director: Petra Holzer
Year Presented: 2009

This film is about the working conditions in Turkey’s ship building industry. Its title, 4857, represents the number of workers there who have been killed while at work. It conveys an under-reported human side to the globalization of the shipbuilding industry, where great profits are made and workers die.
Sponsors: Canadian Autoworkers Union (CAW) Local 2107
Alethea - 2007 - Turkey
41 min
Director: Petra Holzer
Year Presented: 2009

Multinational mining companies have been coming to Turkey since 1989 in order to mine gold using the cyanide leaching process. Eurogold, an Australian and Canadian joint venture, is one of them. Their mine is situated in Bergama. The people living in Bergama and the surrounding 17 villages started to resist the project, and won their legal struggle in the courts; however, the mine still operates. Alethea documents the people of Bergama’s struggle. Awards: 2nd for best documentary, Environmental Film Festival Istanbul 2007; Audience award for best documentary, The Boston Turkish Film Festival 2007.
Sponsors: Coady International Institute
Angels in the Dust - 2007 - USA/South Africa
94 min
Director: Louise Hogarth
Year Presented: 2009

Angels in the Dust is a story of hope and healing in the face of a staggering crisis. AIDS is leaving entire South African villages decimated and thousands of children orphaned. Marion Cloete is a therapist who, with her husband and daughters, fearlessly walked away from a privileged life in a wealthy Johannesburg suburb to build Botshabelo, an extraordinary village and school that provides shelter, food, and education to more than 550 South African children. This is the inspiring story of the life-changing power of one compassionate heart: a courageous, self-sacrificing, fiercely loving woman who has chosen a spiritual path over a material one. Angels in the Dust offers a clear pathway of hope. Award: Special Jury Award, Seattle Int’l Film Festival.
Sponsors: Bergengren Credit Union; Coady International Institute
The Antigonish Movement - 2009 - Canada
60 min
Director: Peter Murphy; Producer: The Tompkins/Coady Multi-Media Project
Year Presented: 2009

This is the world premiere of a new documentary on the remarkable social movement that occurred in our backyard. The Antigonish Movement was an experiment in community development that used kitchen meetings and study clubs to create co-ops and credit unions, which improved the lives of rural people throughout the Maritimes. “People came together and…brought about something…that didn’t exist before…that’s a bit of inspiration and genius…and it’s a genius they all shared” (Dr. Dan MacInnis). The Antigonish Movement helped shape the modern face of Canada and continues to influence the lives of people throughout the developing world.
Archeology of Memory: Villa Grimaldi - 2008 - USA/Chile
88 min
Director: Quiquez Cruz & Marilyn Mulford
Year Presented: 2009

Archeology of Memory is a beautifully crafted film.on the power of music and art to heal, and about the Chilean exile community. The film follows exiled musician Quique Cruz from the San Francisco area to Chile as he unlocks painful memories to create a multimedia installation and musical suite to heal his wounds inflicted by state-sponsored torture at Villa Grimaldi during the Pinochet regime. To help tell the story, he searches for artist friends who were incarcerated with him. Poets, painters, writers, playwrights, and musicians have collectively created a narrative in which they explore the contradictions of terror and aesthetics, the notion of pain and beauty, and how to convert darkness into light. The film culminates with the performance of the tremendously moving musical suite. Awards: Audience Top Ten, Vancouver Int’l Film Festival; Best Documentary, Mill Valley Film Festival.
Sponsors: Department of Art, StFX; Department of Modern Languages, StFX; Lyghtesome Gallery; StFX Print Shop; Société historique Pomquet
Body and Soul: Diana and Kathy - 2007 - USA
40 min
Director: Alice Elliott
Year Presented: 2009

Body and Soul: Diana and Kathy chronicles two disability rights activists who met in Illinois three decades ago. Diana, who has Down’s syndrome, and Kathy, who has cerebral palsy, vowed then to live independent lives. When aging and medical crises threaten this freedom, they attempt to meet the challenge together. The story moves beyond disabilities and activism, giving a rare portrait of a profound and symbiotic friendship. Awards: Best of Festival Award, Superfest XXVIII, Disability Film Festival; Crystal Heart Award, Heartland Film Festival 2007; NAFDMA Insight Award for Excellence, Short Film Documentary 2007; TASH Positive Image in Media Award 2007.
Bread Makers - 2007 - Scotland
11 min
Director: Yasmin Feda
Year Presented: 2009

At a unique Edinburgh bakery, a community of workers with learning disabilities makes a variety of organic breads for daily delivery to shops and cafes in the city. The workers interact using individual expressions, repetitive speech, and sign language — revealing intricate social relationships with each other and their support workers. In what can seem a chaotic workplace, there is a mix of sounds that can approach levels of white noise amidst the carefully structured everyday process of bread production. The featured bakery is part of a centre inspired by the ideas of Rudolph Steiner, where the workers realize their potential for self-discovery and creativity in a social environment.
Sponsors: Easting Bread & Honey Co.
Capturing Reality: The Art of Documentary - 2007 - Canada
98 min
Director: Pepita Ferrari; Producer: Michelle van Beusekom
Year Presented: 2009

Directors have been turning their cameras on the world since the time of the Lumière brothers — and documentary filmmaking has sparked impassioned creative debate ever since. In Capturing Reality over 30 luminaries — including Albert Maysles, Errol Morris, Alanis Obomsawin, Michel Brault, Nick Broomfield, Kim Longinotto, and that great iconoclast Werner Herzog — offer insight into their craft while reflecting on the nature of representation and the continually contested status of the “truth.” Where do directors get their ideas for documentary films? Can film capture reality? What ethical issues arise when portraying real lives? How does editing or music condition our emotional response to film? More than 100 documentary clips enliven the discussion, offering a panoramic overview of contemporary documentary filmmaking. Documentaries can change how we view our world — and viewers come away from Capturing Reality with a renewed curiosity in the genre and its infinite creative possibilities.
Sponsors: Department of Adult Education, StFX; Guysborough Antigonish Pictou Arts & Culture Council (GAPACC) — Culture Alive Series
Chasing Wild Horses  - 2008 - Canada
50 min
Director: Matt Trecartin
Year Presented: 2009

Chasing Wild Horses, filmed on Sable Island, is a beautiful story of reverence and splendour. Roberto Dutesco, New York City’s top fashion photographer, works with human beauty every day. Raised in Canada, many years ago he took a small plane to Sable Island, where what he found changed his perception of beauty and impacted on his art. This unique island’s long-maned, untamed horses running through the dunes was an aesthetic experience like none other. He became fixated with the natural beauty of the untouched wild horses. In this film he returns to the island with his camera and, with him, we discover its hidden treasures. Through his photos, and his gallery in New York, Roberto wants to support the various organizations dedicated to preserving the beauty of Sable Island.
Sponsors: Antigonish 5¢ to $1 Store; Antigonish Highland Skateboarding Association; Friends of Antigonish Library Society
Doing Time, Doing Vipassana - 1997 - USA/India
52 min
Director: Ayelet Menahemi & Eilona Ariel
Year Presented: 2009

Tihar Prison inspector general Kiran Bedi is seen here in prayer. This is the story of an ancient meditation technique named Vipassana, which shows people how to take control of their lives and channel them toward their own good. It is the story of a strong woman named Kiran Bedi, the former Inspector General of Prisons in New Delhi, who strove to transform the notorious Tihar Prison and turn it into an oasis of peace. But most of all it is the story of prison inmates who underwent profound change, and who realized that incarceration is not the end but possibly a fresh start toward an improved and more positive life. Awards: Golden Spire Award, 1998 San Francisco International Film Festival; 1998 American National Council on Crime and Delinquency award winner.
Sponsors: Antigonish Shambhala Meditation Group; Tuesday Meditation Group; Department of Religious Studies, StFX
Dream People of the Amazon - -
Director: Larry Lansburgh
Year Presented: 2009

Under threat of social upheaval and pollution from oil operations in their pristine Amazon rain forest, the indigenous Achuar people have relied on their dreams for guidance. Following those dreams, the Achuar are reaching out for alliances in the developed world — the very world that has destroyed so many cultures like theirs. This film is a creative blending of modern activism and technology in partnership with Indigenous wisdom and intelligence.
Sponsors: Department of Anthropology, StFX
The Edge of Eden: Living with Grizzlies - 2006 - Canada/United Kingdom
89 min
Director: Jeff & Sue Turner
Year Presented: 2009

[FAMILY FRIENDLY] The grizzly bear is considered by many to be the most dangerous animal in the world. But Canadian grizzly bear expert Charlie Russell thinks differently. He believes that grizzlies are misunderstood animals and that our fear of them is not only unnecessary, but driving them to extinction. After a life of exploring the relationship between humans and grizzlies in Canada, Russell’s beliefs have taken him to Russia’s Southern Kamchatka peninsula. For more than 10 years, 65-year-old Russell has been rescuing orphaned cubs from squalid Russian zoos, raising and releasing them into the world’s last remaining grizzly bear sanctuary. As their surrogate mother, he struggles to teach them everything they need to survive a life in the wild. The film follows Russell as he rescues two orphaned cubs from a zoo (where they were soon to be killed) and takes them to his cabin in the remote sanctuary. Over the course of one season, the film shows extraordinary scenes of Russell teaching them everything he can about life in the wild, including encountering adult grizzlies and holding his ground while protecting his charges. He has learned that it is possible for humans and grizzly bears to live together peacefully and safely, sharing this earth. The Edge of Eden brings us closer than most of us will ever be to these magnificent animals.
Sponsors: Word by Word Bookstore
Fate of the Lhapa - 2007 - USA/Tibet/Nepal
63 min
Director: Sarah Sifers
Year Presented: 2009

Fate of the Lhapa documents the last three Tibetan shamans (lhapas) living in a Tibetan refugee camp in Nepal. With no other descendants to carry on their healing practices, and a younger generation attending schools, acculturating, and modernizing, these “sucking doctors” are practicing an endangered tradition. Each lhapa requested that their story be filmed as an historical record. Their fear is that the next heir might not appear until after the old men’s deaths; with no lhapa alive to mentor the children, the documentary could be used to transmit the knowledge to the next generation. Tales of nomadic childhoods, shamanic callings and apprenticeships, cosmologies of disease and treatments, and of their flight from Tibet during the Chinese occupation in the late 1950s are juxtaposed with images of present-day life in the camp, current healing practices, and shared concerns of the future and the fate of their tradition. Awards: Gold Medal, best music in a documentary, Park City Film Music Festival, Utah, 2008; Moondance Seahorse Award, Moondance International Film Festival, 2007.
Sponsors: School of Nursing, StFX
The Forest for the Trees - 2006 - USA
57 min
Director: Bernadine Mellis
Year Presented: 2009

The Forest for the Trees is an intimate look at an unlikely team of young activists and older civil rights workers who come together to battle the U.S. government. Filmmaker Bernadine Mellis is the daughter of 68-year-old civil rights lawyer Dennis Cunningham. Judi Bari was an Earth First! leader and union organizer who placed as much importance on timber workers’ lives and families as she did on the trees. Her car was bombed in 1990, and three hours later she was arrested as a terrorist — charges that were later dropped. Cunningham took on Judi’s case and, after 12 years, Judi Bari v. the FBI finally got a court date. This film of U.S. history resonates today as the lines between dissent and terrorism are being intentionally blurred.
Sponsors: MacLean Brothers Woodworking
The Green Dragon - 2008 - USA/China
45 min
Director: Caroline Harrison, Max Perelman, & River Yun Lu
Year Presented: 2009

Over the summer of 2007, three young people — one Chinese, one American and one English — traveled to China to investigate common misconceptions about the potential for mass-scale sustainable construction there. Over 65 people were interviewed and filmed in 9 cities within 9 weeks. The results are both eye-opening and inspiring. The film portrays the sheer scale of China’s construction industry, while engaging the viewer in the reality of how this industry works. It also provides an in-depth discussion of the barriers and opportunities for China to “go green”. High level developers present their experiences alongside government officials, product manufacturers, architects and lawyers. Many of these people are leading the green building movement in China. They know the realities, and they know how to succeed.
Sponsors: Antigonish Sustainable Development
Healing Words: Poetry & Medicine - 2008 - USA
55 min
Director: Healing Words Productions
Year Presented: 2009

Healing Words highlights the poetry component of this remarkable program by following the journey of Dr. John Graham-Pole and poetry therapist John Fox from room to room as Fox gently coaxes words from patients, many of whom have never written poetry before. Every patient has a different story. For Bertis, a teenager who suffers from sickle-cell anemia, dance therapy helps relieve her pain when conventional drugs no longer work. Together with Fox and dance therapist Jill Sonke, she composes a poem that describes how dancing — even while confined to her bed — is a transcendent experience. Americans have grown cynical about healthcare costs, impersonal treatment, and the intrusion of corporate self-interest in the doctor–patient relationship, but this film tells the stories of patients whose lives have been dramatically changed by the incorporation of poetry into their recovery process. Poetry and art can build understanding and compassion between doctor and patient and help facilitate healing among the most critically ill. Since 1990, the Arts in Medicine (AIM) program at Shands Hospital at the University of Florida has used arts therapy to help patients and their families deal with the sorrows, losses, and unexpected joys that accompany illness and recovery.
Sponsors: The Antigonish Review; School of Nursing, StFX
Honour in the Woods - 2008 - Canada
30 min
Director: Co-produced and directed by Kim Thompson & Marley Parker
Year Presented: 2009

Clear cutting has been the dominant method of forest management on both public and private land in Nova Scotia for the past 50 years. However, individuals who have recognized the damage being done through massive clear cuts have opted for more sustainable forestry practices. Honour in the Woods introduces 15 woodlot owners and forest activists from Nova Scotia in conversation about their vision for healthy and sustainable forests. Each describes methods they have used to restore and protect the biodiversity and richness of the Acadian forests in their care. The film captures the wisdom of extraordinary people such as Dr. Wilfrid Creighton, who brings more than 100 years of experience living and working in the woods; Pamela Langille, a woods worker and passionate activist; and forester Jim Drescher, who has championed sustainable forestry for years. This film inspires and points toward the kinds of changes that will one day bring honour to the woods and all who spend time in them.
Sponsors: Forest Glen Consulting
Island on the Edge - 2008 - Canada
70 min
Director: Nick Versteeg; Co-Producers: Don Genova & Jason Found
Year Presented: 2009

Food security is an issue that affects everyone. This film looks at the history of food production on Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands and what would happen to residents’ food supply if the islands were suddenly cut off from the rest of the world. It also chronicles the efforts of several crusaders who grow crops, raise animals, and craft artisan food products in the face of growing competition from imports and rising costs. These visionaries imagine a world in which eating and growing food is accessible to all and is part of a healthy community, economy, and planet. The film shows why people need to get involved with supporting the local food movement. The film’s producers and B.C. Minister of Agriculture Stan Hagen are featured in the film.
Sponsors: Antigonish NDP Association; Bennett’s Market; Braemore Co-op Food Market; Pleasant Valley Nurseries; Easting Bread & Honey Co.; Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture
It’s STILL Elementary - 2007 - USA
45 min
Director: Debra Chasnoff & Helen S. Cohen
Year Presented: 2009

It’s STILL Elementary presents a moving story about the power to ignite positive social change through documentary film and grassroots organizing. It examines the incredible impact of the award winning film It’s Elementary over the last decade, and follows up with teachers and students featured in the first film to see how lessons about lesbian and gay people changed their lives. It’s STILL Elementary also documents the story behind the controversial PBS broadcast of It’s Elementary and the infamous right-wing attacks on the film and its creators. This film is a call to action for parents and educators to continue working for safe, inclusive schools. Award: CINE Golden Eagle Award.
Sponsors: Xpride, StFX; Rainbow Warriors
KM. 207 By the Roadside: The Case of Hector Reyes  - 2007 - Guatemala/France
42 min
Director: Gregory Lassalle
Year Presented: 2009

In September 2003, Hector Reyes, a plantation worker, was kidnapped by orders of his employer. His disappearance occurred while the government was supposedly committed to human rights and in mediation of the land conflicts which have increased throughout history. This video retraces part of the history of the Nueva Linda Group in its struggle for justice and brings light to the management of Reyes’s case by the Oscar Berger government.
Sponsors: Breaking the Silence, Antigonish Committee
Madrassahs: Inside and Out - 2009 - Pakistan
55 min
Director: Eckova Productions
Year Presented: 2009

Madrassahs (Muslim schools) today are seen by non-Muslims as the root of militancy and terror from which hatred and violence grow. International media and many world leaders have placed the blame for many problems in the Muslim world at the doorstep of madrassahs. This film looks at life inside these schools of religious learning; it paints a balanced portrait of a historical institution trying to keep its place in modern progressive society and to reform its mission and image.
The Man of Two Havanas - 2007 - USA/Cuba
97 min
Director: Vivien Lesnik Weisman
Year Presented: 2009

The filmmaker’s childhood was filled with bombings and assassination attempts on her father, a former comrade of Fidel Castro. Weisman explores her relationship with her father and the Cuba he left behind, through a prism of the nature of social responsibility and personal sacrifice. The movie contains highly controversial top-secret audiotapes of a CIA trained Cuban exile terrorist, who is in the middle of a trial and is incarcerated by Homeland Security. During the 1970s and 1980s, there were as many as seven bombings in one day and hundreds per year carried out by anti-Castro terrorists in Miami. Award: First Coral Award, Havana International Film Festival
Sponsors: Don Webb
Money - 2003 - Canada
65 min
Director: Isaac Isitan
Year Presented: 2009

Two years ago, Turkish-born Canadian director Isaac Isitan watched from the comfort of his living room as thousands of people in Turkey and in Argentina took to the street, attacking the banks when their life savings evaporated overnight. Middle-class people who once lined up at the bank were now lining up at food banks. How could these relatively wealthy countries possibly go bankrupt in less than a decade? With this question in mind, Isitan takes us to Turkey, Argentina, and the U.S. in a moving portrait of citizens who have lost everything. Interwoven with these stories, a lucid essay dissects the macro-economic policies that are demanded by the World Bank and the IMF, which have plunged entire nations into economic crisis. Faced with a lack of money, the people have begun to reinvent it, initiating credit and barter systems and inventing local parallel economies. An essential and incisive look into the hidden side of money.
Sponsors: Bergengren Credit Union; Development Studies Program, StFX
Paris 1919 - 2008 - Canada
86 min
Director: Paul Cowan
Year Presented: 2009

In Paris 1919, director Paul Cowan takes us inside the peace talks that followed the First World War. For six months in 1919, Paris was the centre of the world. World leaders convened to broker peace “for all time.” At the helm were the Big Four — U.S. president Woodrow Wilson along with the leaders of France, the U.K. and Italy. Inspired by Margaret MacMillan’s landmark book, which was hailed by The New York Times as a “blueprint of the political and social upheavals bedeviling the planet now,” Paris 1919 provides a vivid sense of character and narrative.
Sponsors: Department of History, StFX; Department of Political Science, StFX
Pete Seeger: The Power of Song - 2007 - USA
93 min
Director: Produced & directed by Jim Brown
Year Presented: 2009

In Pete Seeger: The Power of Song, Jim Brown documents the life of one of the greatest American singer/songwriters of the last century. Pete Seeger was the architect of the folk revival, writing some of its best known songs including “Where Have All the Flowers Gone” and “If I Had A Hammer.” Largely misunderstood by his critics, including the US government, for his views on peace, unionism, civil rights and ecology, Seeger was targeted by the FBI’s communist witch hunt of the 1950s. He was picketed, protested, blacklisted, and — in spite of his enormous popularity — banned from American television for more than 17 years. The film includes never-before-seen archival footage and personal films made by Seeger and his wife Toshi. The cast includes Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, Arlo Guthrie, Natalie Maines, Tom Paxton, Bruce Springsteen, and N. Paul Stookey.
Sponsors: Lyghtesome Gallery
Le peuple invisible [The Invisible Nation] - 2007 - Canada
93 min
Director: Richard Desjardins & Robert Monderie
Year Presented: 2009

In 1999, Richard Desjardins and Robert Monderie hit their mark with Forest Alert, a shocking documentary on the dubious practices of the logging industry. In The Invisible Nation, they again challenge perceptions by spotlighting the sad reality of the Algonquin of Quebec and bringing the history of this people to the screen for the first time. The Algonquin once lived in harmony with the vast territory they occupied. This balance was upset when the Europeans arrived in the 16th century. Gradually, their Aboriginal traditions were undermined and their natural resources plundered. Today, barely 9,000 Algonquin are left. They live in about 10 communities, often enduring abject poverty and human rights abuses. These Aboriginals are suffering the threat to their very existence in silence. Richard Desjardins and Robert Monderie have decided to sound the alarm before it's too late. In French with English subtitles.
Sponsors: Aboriginal Student Advisor, StFX; Aboriginal Student Services, StFX; Department of Modern Languages, StFX; Faculty of Education, StFX; Nova Scotia Community College – Strait Area Campus; Société Sainte-Croix
Raised To Be Heroes - 2006 - Canada/Israel
54 min
Director: Jack Silberman
Year Presented: 2009

They will fight and die for their country, but not in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Featuring haunting accounts from the front lines, Raised to Be Heroes introduces the latest generation of Israeli soldiers to selectively object to military operations undertaken by their country. Do they obey orders or do they refuse to serve, risking backlash and condemnation from family, friends and society? Through emotional testimonies, a group of Refuseniks lay bare the moment that they courageously drew the line. “The time I spent in jail was the most important time I served for my country, for my friends in my unit, for my family, for the security of Israel,” says Major Chen Alon.
Sponsors: Antigonish Quaker Worship Group
The Real Dirt on Farmer John - 2006 - USA
83 min
Director: Taggart Siegel
Year Presented: 2009

A third-generation American farmer, John Peterson, is on a journey of success, tribulation, failure and rebirth. This film takes us through his childhood in the 1950s to the farm-crisis in the 1980s culminating in his creation of a biodynamic, organic CSA farm serving 1500 families in the Chicago area with fresh produce. Equal parts performance artist, philosopher of the soil, and farmer, Peterson has been known to wear a feather boa with his overalls. This is the story of the transformation of an individual and his community. It is the story of the terrors of non-conformity in a traditional insular society with its resistance to change and diversity, and the necessity for innovation and risk in response to changing circumstances. Awards: Audience Award, Slamdance Festival; Grand Jury Award, San Francisco Int’l Film Festival.
Sponsors: Forever Green Organic Farms; Pleasant Valley Nurseries; Voices Antigonish; Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture
Rumi: Turning Ecstatic - 2007 - Canada
48 min
Director: Tina Petrova
Year Presented: 2009

Mevlana Jelalludin Rumi was a 13th century mystic and poet. He was born in a corner of the Persian Empire (today Afghanistan) and lived most of his life in Turkey. His two signature literary works, The Mathnawi and the Divani Shams i Tabriz, are considered second in importance only to the Koran in the Middle East. In the West, he has outsold Shakespeare in the English language for 2 decades, becoming a best-loved poet in America today. Canadian filmmaker Tina Petrova shares her extraordinary encounter with Rumi devotees and scholars during a road trip of discovery across America and in the shifting sands of the Middle East. Featured are: Nader Khalili (U.N.award for his emergency shelter designs), Coleman Barks (the most popular presenter of Rumi in the U.S.), the hypnotic spin of the Whirling Dervishes of Turkey, and Shaikh Kabir Helminski (who heads up Rumi’s spiritual order today in the West). This film propels the viewer deep into the heart of Sufi mysticism, with thought provoking interviews, stunning footage, and a haunting soundtrack of Sufi music.
Sponsors: Lyghtesome Gallery
The Singing Revolution  - 2008 - USA/Estonia
97 min
Director: Maureen & James Tusty
Year Presented: 2009

First occupied by the Soviets in 1939, then by the Nazis, and then by the Soviets again, Estonia lived through decades of terror. By the end of World War II, more than one-quarter of the population had been deported to Siberia, been executed, or had fled the country. Most people don’t think about singing when they think about revolution. But song was the weapon of choice when Estonians sought to free themselves from decades of Soviet occupation. The Singing Revolution is an inspiring account of one nation’s dramatic rebirth, and of humankind’s irrepressible drive for freedom and self-determination. If Hollywood made this story up, no one would believe it. “Imagine the scene in Casablanca in which the French patrons sing ‘La Marseillaise’ in defiance of the Germans, then multiply its power by a factor of thousands, and you’ve only begun to imagine the force of ‘The Singing Revolution’” (Matt Zoller Seitz, The New York Times).
Sponsors: Guysborough Antigonish Pictou Arts & Culture Council (GAPACC) — Culture Alive Series
The Strangest Dream - 2008 - Canada
90 min
Director: Eric Bednarski; Producer: Kent Martin
Year Presented: 2009

This film explores the groundbreaking work of anti-nuclear activist and physicist Joseph Rotblat, who was deemed a traitor when he walked away from the Manhattan Project (the only one of the group to do so). Eventual winner of the Nobel Peace Prize and founder of the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs, his words on nuclear proliferation still ring true. The threat of nuclear war often seems like a distant memory, a holdover from the Cold War years. While we are not in the perilous situation that faced the world during the Cuban Missile Crisis, threats of nuclear war continue, as countries such as Iran and North Korea continue to develop nuclear weapons, as Israel keeps their weapons a poorly hidden secret, and what has been called the hypocrisy of governments like the United States refusing to allow others to develop nuclear weapons while maintaining a large arsenal of their own. How we have gotten here and what the next steps could be are still crucial. Note: The now-famous Pugwash Conferences began in the small Nova Scotia community of Pugwash, then spread world-wide, but has always retained the original name. Before his death the Nobel Peace Prize medal won by Joseph Rotblat was gifted by him to the Village of Pugwash.
Sponsors: Peak Experiences
Strong Coffee: The Story of Café Femenino - 2007 - Canada/Guatemala
48 min
Director: Sharron Bates
Year Presented: 2009

Strong Coffee tells the story of Café Femenino, the first and only coffee grown entirely by women farmers. The Café Femenino project is helping to weaken the grip of machismo in remote farming communities. The project has resulted in more gender equity; abuse and violence towards women are decreasing, and the quality of life in these regions is improving. This uplifting film follows a group of coffee roasters to Peru as they travel to remote villages to see how coffee beans are grown, picked, processed, and sold. We learn about the Peruvian women’s struggles, their courage and incredible achievements, and how Café Femenino helps women in our own communities.
Sponsors: Antigonish Women’s Resource Centre; Coady International Institute; Department of Anthropology, StFX; Sisters of St. Martha, Antigonish
Suncookers - 2006 - Kenya
18 min
Director: Catherine Scott
Year Presented: 2009

Suncookers follows activist Margaret Owino on a journey across Kenya, visiting solar projects in Kakuma refugee camp and the community of Nyakach. In refugee camps, when fuel rations are depleted, women and children often must walk for miles, risking abduction and rape. Solar cooking can reduce firewood needs by up to 40%, and solar water pasteurization can improve health dramatically. This film presents a positive example of small scale appropriate technology involving local communities.
Sponsors: Antigonish Women’s Resource Centre; The Fresh Air Society
Sweet Misery: A Poisoned World - 2004 - UK
52 min
Director: Cori Brackett
Year Presented: 2009

The artificial sweetener aspartame is the bedrock of the diet industry. It is found in everything from fizzy drinks to vitamin pills and is marketed under a variety of different names. It is difficult to detect and even harder to avoid. But how safe is it? Does it really cause brain tumours, blindness and other serious illnesses? This shocking documentary investigates how the U.S. Federal Drug Agency came to approve such a potentiallydangerous product.A year after aspartame was added to diet drinks, diabetes rates jumped 30% in the United States and incidents of an unusual type of brain tumour jumped 60%. Look for one of the most notorious Bush era villains in this “whodunit” of corporate rule.
Sponsors: Aqua Terra Natural Health Clinic
Taking Root: The Vision of Wangari Maathai - 2008 - USA/Kenya
80 min
Director: Lisa Mereton & Alan Dater
Year Presented: 2009

This compelling film tells the story of Wangari Maathai, the Kenyan Nobel Peace Prize winner who, through the simple act of planting trees, sparked a powerful political crusade to protect the environment, women's rights, and democracy. After rural women described to her the human and environmental costs of rampant deforestation, Maathai founded the Green Belt Movement, a grassroots tree-planting program that has restored the land, reduced soil erosion, and provided new food sources — and in the process empowered the previously disenfranchised women behind it. Dramatic scenes of political turmoil, chilling first-person accounts, and cinéma-vérité footage of tree nurseries and the people who tend them coalesce into a gripping portrait of a woman of unwavering determination and courage. Awards: Amnesty International Durban Human Rights Award; Durban International Film Festival 2008 Audience Award; Projecting Change Film Festival, May 2008, Vancouver, BC, Audience Award Winner; Outspoken/Outstanding, Hot Docs 2008; Full Frame Women in Leadership Award, Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, 2008.
Sponsors: Development & Peace (Antigonish); Development Studies Program, StFX; MacLean Brothers Woodworking; Peak Experiences; The Writing Centre, StFX
Tar Sands: Canada for Sale - 2008 - Canada
52 min
Director: Peter Raymont & Tom Radford
Year Presented: 2009

Washington lobbyists, Newfoundland pipefitters, Chinese investors, and Norwegian industrialists descend on tar-soaked Fort McMurray, where rents are skyrocketing and cocaine abuse is four times the provincial average. This “environmental sacrifice” zone has become Canada’s contribution to U.S. energy security. Yet for many, the tar sands are a global warming disaster. Cancer rates skyrocket downstream of Fort McMurray while Rocky Mountain glaciers melt and disappear. All the while, Alberta crude goes south to U.S. markets and Eastern Canada pays ever more for Middle East oil. How much is Canada willing to sacrifice for a stake in this energy bonanza?
Thar: The Living Desert - 2007 - Pakistan
4 min
Director: Eckova productions
Year Presented: 2009

This film provides a quick trip through the Thar desert region of southeastern Pakistan. It is quiet, barren, colorful, and alive. It has a population of one million desert dwellers, for whom water is a central theme in their everyday lives
Sponsors: Eckova Productions
Two Rivers - 2006 - USA
57 min
Director: Rodney Mitchell
Year Presented: 2009

Attempts at Native and European American reconciliation typically fail to produce lasting changes — usually because whites set the agenda. Several years ago, a handful of individuals in the Okanagan Valley of Washington state began meeting together to find out why relationships between Native Americans and non-Natives were virtually non-existent outside of courtrooms. Two Rivers shows how people from different worlds can create profound, lasting friendships if they are willing to adopt an open attitude, experiment with new ways of connecting, and learn to speak, listen, and act from their hearts.
Sponsors: Aboriginal Student Advisor, StFX; Aboriginal Student Services, StFX; Word by Word Bookstore; Sisters of St. Martha, Antigonish
Ukuleles for Peace - 2008 - Canada
20 min
Director: Mathias Korn
Year Presented: 2009

The Ukuleles for Peace orchestra is a growing 4-year-old, co-existence, non-profit project for Arab and Jewish children and their families. Ukuleles for Peace was created by musician Paul Moore to encourage Jewish and Arab children to have daily contact and to build friendships that can last a lifetime. Presently there are 70 children and 60 families participating in the project.
Sponsors: Antigonish Quaker Worship Group
Voices in Wartime - 2005 - USA
57 min
Director: Andrew Himes
Year Presented: 2009

This film sharply etches the experience of war through powerful images and the words of poets — unknown and world-famous. Soldiers, journalists, and historians were interviewed to add diverse perspectives on war’s effects on soldiers, civilians, and society. Poets around the world — from the USA and Colombia to Britain and Nigeria, to Iraq and India — share their views and experiences of war that extend beyond national borders and into the depth of the human soul. History and literature have shown that, in times of war, poets can lead us to greater truths and that the power of poetry can help us understand the trauma, violence, and death caused by armed conflict.
Sponsors: Antigonish Quaker Worship Group, The Antigonish Review The Antigonish Review
The War on Democracy - 2007 - England
94 min
Director: John Pilger
Year Presented: 2009

The War on Democracy demonstrates the brutal reality of the US government’s notion of “spreading democracy”; in fact, the US is actually conducting a war on democracy. John Pilger argues that true popular democracy is now more likely to be found among the poorest of Latin America and their grassroots movements. Pilger conducts an exclusive interview with President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela. Some remarkable interviews with US government officials who ran the CIA’s wars in Latin America in the 1980s reveal more about US policy than all the statements and postures of recent times. The War on Democracy, however, is a hopeful film, for it sees the world not through the eyes of the powerful, but through the hopes and dreams and extraordinary actions of ordinary people. Award: Best Documentary, One World Media Awards.
Sponsors: StFX Association of University Teachers; Pictou–Antigonish Regional Library
Welcome Aboard Toxic Airlines - 2008 - UK
93 min
Director: Tristan Loraine; Producer: Fact Not Fiction Film
Year Presented: 2009

This is the story of what some airline crews claim is the biggest cover-up in aviation history. Passengers and crews for nearly 50 years have been supplied with unfiltered air to breath, taken directly from the engines, even though this air supply is known to become contaminated with neurotoxins, carcinogens, and other hazardous chemicals. The filmmaker was an airline captain in 2001 when, as a union representative, he received a call that changed his life. The caller, a work colleague and airline captain, told him he had been exposed to toxic fumes in the cockpit of a Boeing 757. After six years of research, Tristan Loraine released Welcome Aboard Toxic Airlines. This documentary film, with unique access to the aviation industry, reveals the facts and scandal of contaminated air exposures on aircraft.
Sponsors: Aqua Terra Natural Health Clinic
The Wild Horse Redemption - 2007 - USA/Canada
90 min
Director: John Zaritsky
Year Presented: 2009

At a prison in the high desert foothills of the Colorado Rocky Mountains, prison inmates are given 90 days to tame wild mustang horses. Most of the inmates who volunteer for the program have never trained a horse before, nor even ridden one. Can a wild creature be rehabilitated and socialized for safe interaction with humans? Can two tough wild creatures — prisoner and mustang — help each other to a better life? Yes.
Wings of Defeat - 2007 - USA/Japan
90 min
Director: Risa Morimoto
Year Presented: 2009

Risa Morimoto’s evocative documentary boldly confronts the popular notion of the kamikaze as fanatical patriots. The film’s genesis lies in the filmmaker’s discovery that her own uncle was a kamikaze pilot. To understand his experience, Morimoto delved into the complex history of the kamikaze, a history long shrouded by secrecy and shame after Japan’s defeat in World War II. Through interviews, their heartbreaking stories poignantly provide a window into a country’s staggering desperation and the reprehensible detachment of leaders who saw it fit to sacrifice their country’s future to stave off an inevitable present. Not all the young pilots faced their near-certain death with zeal. Caught in the cogs of a massive war machine, their options were few. And yet, even in the chaos and momentum of war, the pilots stumbled upon heart-wrenching moments of grace and humanity. Awards: Special Jury Award, San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival; Winner Audience Award, New York Asian American International Film Festival.
A Year at Sherbrooke - 2009 - Canada
54 min
Director: Thomas Hale
Year Presented: 2009

Artists Thelma Pepper and Jeff Nachtigall believe that we are all born artists and that creativity is an essential expression of being fully alive. A Year at Sherbrooke follows these two artists as they work with the residents of Sherbrooke Community Centre, a long-term care facility in Saskatoon. Thelma documents the residents of Sherbrooke through her portrait photography, while Jeff spends close to a year as artist-in-residence, helping them make art. For Thelma and Jeff, it isn’t just a matter of leading by example, but also being intrinsically involved in the community — which, in turn, enables others to realize their artistic abilities. The film explores how creativity can transform people’s lives, from the abled to the differently abled — all the while vividly demonstrating the healing power of art and community. Thelma and Jeff show that art can give hope to the hopeless and provide a sense of life beyond disability.
Sponsors: Department of Art, StFX
You, Me and the SPP: Trading Democracy for Corporate Rule - 2009 - Canada
80 min
Director: Paul Manly
Year Presented: 2009

This film examines the Security Prosperity Partnership (SPP) and the Trade Investment Labour Mobility Agreement (TILMA), trade agreements which are undermining, eroding and eliminating standards, civil liberties, regulatory systems, and institutions put in place over generations through the democratic process. Proponents of these agreements argue that they are needed to improve trade by removing barriers which impede the free flow of goods and services both inter-provincially and between the NAFTA countries. Opponents equate them to a corporate coup d’etat that is weakening the democratic authority of the citizens of North America and the sovereignty of Canada.
Sponsors: StFX Association of University Teachers (StFXAUT)