Vancouver – DOXA 2009 will screen 75 films during the expanded ten-day festival. This year the festival offers the most diverse and innovative programming to its widest audience yet, with the majority of films offering upliftment through intimate and inspirational stories.
Afghan Girls Can Kick is one of the most powerful stories of this year’s festival. It tells the story of the first ever Afghani women’s soccer team. Not only is it the first women’s team, but the athletes are extremely passionate and skilled at their sport. These women fought to form a team and they keep on fighting for what they deserve, including a chance to play their first international tournament.
Nobody’s Perfect follows Niko who, exposed to the drug Thalidomide, was born with very short limbs. But the film is not a lamentation of disability, rather it is a celebration of what society dismisses as ‘abnormal.’ It shows Thalidomide survivors, after a lifetime of struggle, able to accept and embrace themselves for who they are through a nude photo exhibit.
Upstream Battle tells the story of the Klamath River. Always a plentiful source of salmon for the Aboriginal people along the river, a dam has decimated the fish population and the livelihoods of the residents. Those affected come together to ask the new dam owner, billionaire Warren Buffett, for the largest dam removal project in history. Leading the battle is the Hoopa tribe, who has maintained their traditions and has succeeded in an environment that has discouraged exactly that.
Local filmmaker Hugh Brody follows prisoners in the Canadian correctional system in The Meaning of Life. What could have been a depressing account of crime and tragedy is an honest and moving look at prisoners at Kwìkwèxwelhp. Sentenced to life in prison, many of these men could have given up, written off by society. But a unique rehabilitation program has changed their lives, offering them real community — for the first time in their lives and, with it, a sense of responsibility and peace.
I Want to Grow Old in China shows the virility and spirit of the elderly. Western society doesn’t view old age as something to look forward to, but the elders in this film reveal aging as an opportunity for rebirth. Milking the Rhino offers tangible hope for economic and environmental sustainability, following communities in Kenya and Namibia who successfully co-exist and profit from their relationship with the local wildlife. Ex-voto For Three Souls is a beautiful and moving meditation on faith in its different forms. Three people gain strength from their faith even when the odds are against them. Soneros: The Sound of the River is about Mexican folk music. Just when it seems that tradition and culture is being lost, Soneros shows us that the connection to music and culture lives on in the hearts and lives of youth in Veracruz.
This is just a taste of the 75 films that could leave you inspired at DOXA – films that will give you a chance to share in the often untold stories that will move you more than you expect. Leaving ones troubles at the door of a dark movie theatre is a common response during times of recession, and this year at DOX you’ll find meaning, motivation and inspiration.
DOXA Documentary Film Festival runs May 22-31, 2009. Tickets to the Opening Night Film are $15; and $35 including the Opening Night Party. Single tickets for all other screenings are $10 each plus one-time $2 Membership. Festival Passes allow access to all films except Opening Night and are available for $125. Tickets and Passes are available at Bibliophile Bookshop, Videomatica, Biz Books and also online. For further information, call DOXA at 604-646-3200.
DOXA is presented by the Documentary Media Society, a Vancouver-based non-profit, charitable society.