The Salt Spring Film Festival takes place from March 1 to 3, 2024, at Gulf Islands Secondary School (GISS), featuring three dozen feature-length documentaries and dozen short films, many of them presented by the filmmakers and film subjects themselves.

Festival Passes

Full Festival Passes are $50 and include the Opening Night Gala Film on Friday, March 1, are available for advance purchase via the ArtSpring Box Office. Other options (half-day, one-day and two-day passes) will be sold at GISS during the Festival weekend. Subsidized passes are available by request, thanks to financial support from the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 92.

Purchase 2024 Festival Passes Here

Program & Schedule

Programs are now available at various locations around the island.

Or click on the image to the left to download the program.

Our online schedule will help you plan your film festival weekend!

Click on the image to the left to download the schedule.

OPENING NIGHT GALA

AITAMAAKO’TAMISSKAPI NATOSI: BEFORE THE SUN

Friday, March 1, at 7:00 pm at GISS

(preceded by dinner at 5:30 pm; doors open at 5 pm)

Tickets: $15 at the door, or included with Full Festival pass

Directed by Banchi Hanuse, 2023, Canada, 88 minutes 

Don’t miss Nuxalk filmmaker Banchi Hanuse’s intimate and thrilling profile of Logan Red Crow, a young Siksika woman in the golden plains of Blackfoot Territory, as she prepares for one of the most dangerous horse races in the world: the Indian Relay. A sport for the truly brave, the Relay’s bareback riders vault from horse to horse in short, exhilarating races. As she prepares to make history by joining the men’s competition at the Calgary Stampede, Logan’s courage is repeatedly put to the test. There’s no hiding from the dangers of North America’s original extreme sport. Gentle and reflective yet unshakable in her determination, Logan is a champion in the making. Besides her skill and sheer grit, she has a loving family, an elite group of horses, and a home on her ancestral lands. Offering the dual pleasures of serenity and suspense – lyrical immersion in rural life alternating with thrilling race footage – the connections explored here are profound and lasting: those between father and daughter, animal and human, family and community, ancestral tradition and contemporary life. Graceful, compelling and uplifting, this inspirational portrait of radiant heroism has won four Leo Awards – including for Best Cinematography – and Audience Awards at the Vancouver and Calgary International Film Festivals. Named Best Documentary at San Francisco’s American Indian Film Festival, it also received a Special Jury Mention at the Port Townsend Film Festival “for capturing the soul of cinema.”

Viewer advisory: contains brief scenes of racehorses colliding.

Film Website

Watch The Trailer Here

FILMS AND DESCRIPTIONS

Showings on Saturday March 2nd and Sunday March 3rd

1946: THE MISTRANSLATION THAT SHIFTED CULTURE

About The Film

Director

Sharon Roggio

Country

USA

Year

2022

Length

92 min

Saturday, March 2, at 12:30 pm at GISS

What if the word “homosexual” was never intended to be in the Bible? Seeking to uncover the origins of rabid homophobia among Christian Evangelicals, a gay seminary scholar and a straight activist – both of them Evangelicals – make a shocking discovery: an erroneous translation of a single word in the Bible in 1946 has been weaponized against the queer community ever since. Featuring music by Grammy-nominated Mary Lambert, this challenging, entertaining and enlightening film was named Best Documentary at Atlanta’s Out on Film LGBTQ Film Festival and has won multiple Audience Awards, including at Doc NYC, America’s largest documentary film festival.

Film Website

500 DAYS IN THE WILD

About The Film

Director

Dianne Whelan

Country

Canada

Year

2023

Length

120 min

Sunday, March 3, at 2:30 pm at GISS

With attending film guests! Join Dianne Whelan as she traverses the entire Trans Canada Trail, from sea to shining sea. Boasting gorgeous cinematography, gruelling challenges and an awesome soundtrack, this epic six-year journey explores such fundamental questions as: What is our relationship as Canadians to the land and to one another? What have we lost through modernity, and can we turn to nature to rediscover the sacred? Co-presented by Salt Spring Arts to welcome Dianne’s return to Salt Spring after her 2019 Mahon Hall residency, this crowd-pleaser won the Audience Award at the Whistler Film Festival, where it made its World Premiere in December.

Film Website

ALLIHOPA: THE DALKURD STORY

About The Film

Director

Korodo Doski

Country

Canada, Iraq

USA, and Sweden

Year

2023

Length

91 min

Saturday, March 2, at 2:30 pm at GISS

Sunday, March 3, at 12:30 pm at GISS

In English, Swedish and Kurdish with English subtitles.

A scrappy team of mostly Kurdish refugees who defy the odds to climb the ranks of Sweden’s soccer leagues, the Dalkurd Football Club is one of the greatest success stories in European sports. Allihopa (Swedish for “all together”) charts their determination to join Sweden’s national league in order to bring attention to the plight of their stateless people by challenging the countries occupying Kurdistan. Can the athletes overcome xenophobia, limited resources and harrowing personal histories to make European sports history? This uplifting and inspirational story of unstoppable underdogs will have you on the edge of your seat, cheering them on.

Film Website

AMERICAN JUSTICE ON TRIAL

(part of the shorts package OVER-POLICED AND UNDER-PROTECTED)

About The Film

Director

Andrew Abrahams

& Herb Ferrette

Country

USA

Year

2022

Length

40 min

Sunday, March 3, at 2:30 pm at GISS

Black Panthers co-founder Huey P. Newton is accused of murdering a white policeman in 1967 Oakland. A landmark trial ensues and Newton’s defence team calls out racism in the system. With the death penalty looming, a shocking verdict is delivered. Winner of multiple festival awards and shortlisted for the Oscars.

Film Website

ANSELM

About The Film

Director

Wim Wenders

Country

Germany

Year

2023

Length

93 min

Saturday, March 2, at 2:30 pm at GISS

In English and German with English subtitles.

Acclaimed director Wim Wenders explores the work of Anselm Kiefer, one of the world’s most innovative contemporary painters and sculptors, who for decades has rattled European history, addressing his country’s Nazi past and fascism’s philosophical underpinnings, and confronting the aftermath of war on the landscape. Gorgeous cinematography captures the artist’s inner and outer geographies and his fascination with myth and the cyclical nature of history. This stunning, immersive experience was named Best Documentary at Bulgaria’s CineLibri International Book & Movie Festival, won an Audience Award at the Santa Fe International Film Festival and the IDA Award for Best Music Score.

Film Website

BOIL ALERT

About The Film

Director

Stevie Salas

& James Burns

Country

Canada and USA

Year

2023

Length

104 min

Saturday, March 2, at 10:00 am at GISS

Sunday, March 3, at 10:00 am at GISS

Join Layla Staats as she travels across Turtle Island to learn the personal stories behind the monumental battles for safe drinking water in First Nations communities. Grappling with her own complicated identity as a Mohawk woman, Staats meets Oji-Cree residents of the remote Neskantaga First Nation in Northern Ontario who have never had clean water in their lifetimes; heads south to visit the Navajo Nation, whose lands and aquifers have been polluted by uranium mines; and joins the front lines of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation’s anti-pipeline blockades. This hybrid film mixes lyrical and imaginative narrative elements with urgent investigative journalism.

Film Website

BREAKING THE NEWS

About The Film

Director

Heather Courtney,

Princess A. Hairston,

& Chelsea Hernandez

Country

USA

Year

2023

Length

99 min

Sunday, March 3, at 10:00 am at GISS

A feisty group of fearless women band together to launch a national news startup in the midst of the pandemic, bucking the status quo in order to highlight perspectives left out of the mainstream media…only to discover that true diversity can be challenging even for people with good intentions. Chronicling the tenacious efforts of female and nonbinary journalists to uplift and amplify marginalized voices, and featuring frank discussions on race and gender, this buoyantly engaging film was nominated for Best Documentary at Tribeca and won the David Carr Award for Truth in Non-Fiction Filmmaking at New Jersey’s Montclair Film Festival.

Film Website

ĆELÁNENS TŦE ṮEṮÁĆES

(W̱SÁNEĆ Homelands of the Southern Gulf Islands)

About The Film

Director

Renée Sampson

(SX̱EDŦELISIYE)

& Tye Swallow

Country

Canada

Year

2023

Length

37 min

Saturday, March 2, at 2:30 pm at GISS

In English and SENĆOŦEN.

With attending film guests! ĆELÁṈEN TŦE ṮEṮÁĆES translates as “birthright or heritage of, to and for our relatives of the deep,” referring to the Southern Gulf Islands in traditional W̱SÁNEĆ and Coast Salish territory. Drawing upon traditional knowledge and the SENĆOŦEN language to educate viewers about W̱SÁNEĆ community’s long-standing relationship with ṮEṮÁĆES, or “relatives of the deep,” this film describes the process by which W̱SÁNEĆ were displaced from ṮEṮÁĆES, and inspires settlers to engage in active reconcili-action.

COMMON GROUND

About The Film

Director

Josh & Rebecca Tickell

Country

USA

Year

2023

Length

105 min

Saturday, March 2, at 10:00 am at GISS

Sunday, March 3, at 10:00 am at GISS

An impassioned plea to care for the soil that feeds us, balances the climate and sustains life on earth, this eye-opening invective against the harms of industrial agriculture exposes the hidden agendas of multinational corporations and their lobbyists while unveiling the powerful potential of regenerative farming. By fusing ancient wisdom and modern technology, farmers, scientists and advocates show that soil is the most valuable substance on our planet, because “if our soil dies, so do we.” Featuring Laura Dern, Jason Momoa, Rosario Dawson, Woody Harrelson and Donald Glover, this rousing and optimistic call to action won the Human/Nature Award at Tribeca.

Film Website

A COMPASSIONATE SPY

About The Film

Director

Steve James

Country

USA

Year

2022

Length

101 min

Saturday, March 2, at 10:00 am at GISS

The youngest member of the Manhattan Project, physicist Ted Hall shared classified nuclear secrets with the Soviet Union, subsequently enduring FBI surveillance and intimidation throughout the Cold War. Guilty of crimes for which the Rosenbergs were executed, Ted and his wife Joan closely guarded the secret of his well-intentioned treason, until finally confessing in 1998, shortly before his death. A cautionary tale about the cost of doing the wrong thing for the right reasons, this gripping real-life thriller brings to life mid-century paranoia with convincing re-enactments to flesh out a story that would seem implausible if it weren’t completely true.

Film Website

CONFESSIONS OF A GOOD SAMARITAN

About The Film

Director

Penny Lane

Country

USA

Year

2023

Length

105 min

Saturday, March 2, at 10:00 am at GISS

When quirkily cheerful filmmaker Penny Lane makes the unusual decision to donate one of her kidneys to a complete stranger, she launches a surprisingly funny quest to understand why everyone seems to think she’s crazy. Rationalizing that she can live without one of her kidneys, Lane is categorized as an “altruistic donor” who derives no personal or financial benefit. Embarking on a provocative investigation into the very nature of altruism, Lane learns about the history and future of organ transplants. This award-winning and deeply moving film maintains a sense of humour and a carefully balanced tone that never feels moralizing.

Film Website

A COOLER CLIMATE

About The Film

Director

James Ivory

& Giles Gardner

Country

France

Year

2022

Length

72 min

Saturday, March 2, at 4:15 pm at GISS

Oscar-winning filmmaker James Ivory reviews his celebrated career in this warm, engrossing autobiography recounting his life as a traveler, outsider and artist. Ivory journeyed to Afghanistan in 1960 to film a never-completed documentary. Notable for its air of mystery as much as for its beauty, the footage shot in and around Kabul was shelved and remained unseen for 60 years. At the age of 94, Ivory decides to revisit this unique material, looking back at his younger self and unravelling how this unlikely expedition far from his hometown in Oregon helped form the internationally renowned filmmaker he was to become.

Film Website

DEEP RISING

About The Film

Director

Matthieu Rytz

Country

USA

Year

2023

Length

94 min

Saturday, March 2, at 4:15 pm at GISS

Sunday, March 3, at 12:30 pm at GISS

Who owns the ocean depths? The fate of the planet’s last untouched wilderness is under threat as a secretive organization is about to allow massive extraction of nodules of rare metals from the ocean floor to power electric vehicles. Can we transition away from fossil fuels without disrupting the vital relationship between deep ocean ecosystems and all life on Earth? Narrated by Jason Momoa and featuring luminous underwater footage of translucent, seemingly alien life forms, this award-winning environmental investigation by the director of Anote’s Ark (which we screened in 2019) is also a gripping tale of geopolitical, scientific and corporate intrigue.

Film Website

ECO-HACK!

(part of the shorts package BIRDS OF A FEATHER)

About The Film

Director

Josh Izenberg

Country

USA

Year

2023

Length

16 min

Saturday, March 2, at 12:30 pm at GISS

Conservation biologist Tim Shield abandons traditional conservation practices to save the endangered desert tortoise from voracious ravens, employing a non- lethal arsenal of lasers, exploding model turtles, drones and desert rovers as a means of protecting the tortoise’s dwindling numbers. Winner of the Audience Award for Short Documentary at Hot Docs.

Film Website

EL EQUIPO

About The Film

Director

Bernardo Ruiz

Country

USA, Argentina

& Mexico

Year

2023

Length

80 min

Sat. March 2, at 2:30 pm at GISS

Sun. March 3, at 2:30 pm at GISS

In English and Spanish with English subtitles.

Larger-than-life Texan scientist Dr. Clyde Snow trains a group of Latin American students in the use of forensic anthropology to uncover the fates of los desaparecidos – the estimated 30,000 victims of state terrorism during Argentina’s “dirty war.” Generating evidence leading to the conviction of hundreds of perpetrators, the group then travels to El Salvador, Bolivia and Mexico, doggedly working behind the scenes to establish the facts for the families of the victims. This fascinating and haunting true-crime thriller was named Best Film at California’s Sebastopol Documentary Film Festival and won the Gullugen Award at Norway’s Bergen International Film Festival.

Film Website

FIELD NOTES

(part of the shorts package BIRDS OF A FEATHER)

About The Film

Director

Aisha Jamal

Country

Canada

Year

2023

Length

10 min

Saturday, March 2, at 12:30 pm at GISS

During pandemic isolation, Daniele Guevara discovers a passion for birdwatching, which leads to an appreciation for the natural world that exists in the midst of Toronto’s concrete jungle. As the birds struggle to survive, she’s committed to protecting their habitat and bringing awareness to their plight.

Film Website

FREEDOM ON FIRE: UKRAINE’S FIGHT FOR FREEDOM

About The Film

Director

Evgeny Afineevsky

Country

Ukraine, UK

& USA

Year

2022

Length

114 min

Sat. March 2, at 10:00 am at GISS

Sun. March 3, at 10:00 am at GISS

In English, Ukrainian and Russian with English subtitles.

When Russia invaded Ukraine in 2022, Ukrainians instinctively renewed the survival strategies that had sustained them during the 2014 Maidan Revolution, demonstrating an astounding ability to unite as a people and defend their country’s sovereignty. With introductory narration by Helen Mirren, this sweeping look at an ongoing humanitarian crisis amplifies the views of children, parents, soldiers, doctors, volunteers, clergy and journalists who are transformed while witnessing senseless destruction and bloodshed. Winner of multiple prizes at festivals around the world, this testament to resilience made international headlines when it was recently invited to the Vatican for a private screening for the Pope.

Film Website

I’M JUST HERE FOR THE RIOT

About The Film

Director

Asia Youngman

& Kathleen Jayme

Country

Canada

Year

2023

Length

77 min

Sat. March 2, at 4:15 pm at GISS

Sun. March 3, at 12:30 pm at GISS

With attending film guests! Who can forget the 2011 Stanley Cup riot? The Canucks’ loss to the Boston Bruins sparked a massive riot in downtown Vancouver, in which police cars were burned, windows shattered and stores looted in what was called the first smartphone riot, as waves of young people captured and encouraged the mayhem in thousands of viral photos and videos. From the contagious violence in the streets to a toxic mob mentality in the online pursuit of the culprits, this dark moment in the city’s history raises deep questions about both the shocking power of an angry crowd and the dangers of social media witchhunts.

Film Website

IN THE NAME OF WILD

About The Film

Director

Phillip & April Vannini

Country

Canada

Year

2022

Length

82 min

Sat. March 2, at 10:00 am at GISS

Sun. March 3, at 12:30 pm at GISS

In English, Italian, Spanish, Japanese and Thai with English subtitles.

With attending film guests! One family, five years, ten countries: a new vision of wild. Join ethnographers Phillip & April Vannini on an epic five-year journey as they travel the world to discover how people co-exist with myriad forms of nature, reimagining what we mean when we talk about “the wilderness.” Exploring UNESCO World Heritage sites in ten countries across five continents – in Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Thailand, Italy, Iceland, Canada, Belize, Ecuador and Argentina – this adventurous family of three consults with local residents – many of them Indigenous Elders – and learn what wildness means to them, exploring the values underlying environmental conservation and heritage preservation.

Film Website

INCOMPATIBLE WITH LIFE

(Incompatível com a vida)

About The Film

Director

Eliza Capai

Country

Brazil

Year

2023

Length

93 min

Saturday, March 2, at 12:30 pm at GISS

In Portuguese with English subtitles.

What are the consequences when a country makes abortion a punishable crime? After bravely documenting her personal experience of a diagnosis of fetal malformation in Brazil – where abortion can lead to three years in prison – and subsequent termination of her pregnancy in Portugal, filmmaker Eliza Capai spotlights other women with similar experiences, capturing their raw pain and vulnerability and creating a powerful choir of voices reverberating on universal themes: motherhood, prenatal grief and the centrality of reproductive rights. Named Best Brazilian Film at Brazil’s International Documentary Film Festival, and Capai was named Best Director of a Documentary at Chile’s FICVIÑA.

Film Website

INNOCENCE

About The Film

Director

Guy Davidi

Country

Denmark, Finland,

Iceland, & Israel

Year

2022

Length

100 min

Sunday, March 3, at 10:00 am at GISS

In Hebrew with English subtitles.

BC premiere! Award-winning Israeli filmmaker Guy Davidi, Oscar-nominated co-director of 5 Broken Cameras (which we screened in 2013), turns the spotlight onto his country’s military-industrial complex to reveal a story of propaganda, perpetual warfare and a militarized society that sacrifices young people in service of state violence. Specific in its details of Israeli mandatory conscription but universal in its themes of how children are indoctrinated to accept shocking levels of violence, this scathing critique of Israeli society is told from within by dissenting Israeli voices – young people brave enough to reject the status quo – who pay the price for refusing to cooperate.

Film Website

INTO THE BLUE

(part of the shorts package OVER-POLICED AND UNDER-PROTECTED)

About The Film

Director

Ömer Sami

Country

Denmark

Year

2022

Length

28 min

Sunday, March 3, at 2:30 pm at GISS

Painfully shy 12-year-old Tatheer undergoes an immersive police boot camp aimed at improving relations with marginalized communities. Donning a uniform over her hijab, she participates in mock arrests and gruelling initiations that push her beyond the breaking point…and unexpectedly arm her with the confidence to begin to find her voice.

Film Website

INVISIBLE BEAUTY

About The Film

Director

Bethann Hardison

& Frédéric Tcheng

Country

USA

Year

2023

Length

115 min

Sunday, March 3, at 10:00 am at GISS

One of the highest-profile Black models of the 1970s, fashion icon Bethann Hardison advocates tirelessly for diversity, both on and off the runway. Tracing her audacious efforts to challenge the status quo, revolutionize the fashion world and diversify notions of beauty, this vibrant portrait features fascinating interviews with fashion icons from multiple eras, including Naomi Campbell, Iman and Zendaya. Balancing retrospective and contemporary perspectives on representation, this all-access backstage pass – which won the Audience Award and was named Best Film at Florida’s Sarasota Film Festival – shows how we got to where we are…and how far we still have to go.

Film Website

LA SINGLA

About The Film

Director

Paloma Zapata

Country

Spain & Germany

Year

2023

Length

95 min

Saturday, March 2, at 4:15 pm at GISS

Sunday, March 3, at 4:15 pm at GISS

In Spanish with English subtitles.

Born deaf, a young Roma flamenco dancer named Antonia Singla became an international phenomenon in the 1960s at the age of 17, captivating the public with her powerful gaze and thunderous movement. Disappearing at the height of her success, she has been all but forgotten. When a young woman comes across the tantalizing story, she pieces together the legend of La Singla, celebrating the legacy of one of the greatest flamenco dancers of all time through her strikingly passionate performances and heartbreaking story. Winner of the Audience Award at DocsBarcelona and the Federation Award at the Moscow International Film Festival.

Film Website

LAST RESPECTS

(short film preceding SOMEONE LIVES HERE)

About The Film

Director

Megan Durnford

Country

Canada

Year

2023

Length

7 min

Saturday, March 2, at 2:30 pm at GISS

The bodies of Canadians who die in dire circumstances – from homeless youth to neglected seniors – are often unclaimed. Believing that everyone deserves respect, Montreal priest Abbé Claude Paradis creates an annual ceremony to celebrate the lives of people otherwise forgotten by society. Named Best Canadian Short Documentary at Hot Docs.

Film Website

THE LONGEST GOODBYE

About The Film

Director

Ido Mizrahy

Country

Israel & Canada

Year

2022

Length

87 min

Saturday, March 2, at 4:15 pm at GISS

Sunday, March 3, at 2:30 pm at GISS

Mostly in English, with some Spanish with English subtitles. In the next decade, NASA plans to send astronauts to Mars for the first time. Separated from Earth, unable to communicate with loved ones in real time throughout the three-year journey, crew members will experience prolonged isolation that could gravely affect both their mental state and the mission. With awareness of the psychological harms of social isolation having skyrocketed since the pandemic, this beautifully engrossing meditation on the universal need for human connection follows a savvy NASA psychologist tasked with protecting these daring explorers, who are torn between their dream to reach new frontiers and their need to stay connected.

Film Website

LOST ANGEL: THE GENIUS OF JUDEE SILL

About The Film

Director

Andy Brown

& Brian Lindstrom

Country

USA

Year

2022

Length

91 min

Saturday, March 2, at 12:30 pm at GISS

Sunday, March 3, at 4:15 pm at GISS

The very first artist signed to David Geffen’s Asylum Records label, folk singer Judee Sill is now largely forgotten, despite having once made the cover of Rolling Stone. Combining the soulful poetry of Leonard Cohen with the self- destructiveness of Janis Joplin, Sill survived a troubled upbringing before enjoying a meteoric rise in the music world, followed by an ignominious fall from grace and a lonely death by overdose. Featuring David Geffen, Linda Ronstadt, Jackson Browne, Shawn Colvin and Graham Nash, this haunting, evocative biography explores Judee’s unique style and the recent rediscovery of her singular music by young new artists.

Film Website

MAD ABOUT THE BOY: THE NOEL COWARD STORY

About The Film

Director

Barnaby Thompson

Country

UK

Year

2023

Length

91 min

Sunday, March 3, at 4:15 pm at GISS

Growing up in poverty and leaving school at nine years old, Noel Coward defied the odds to become the highest paid writer in the world and one of the most successful artists of the 20th Century. Frank Sinatra once said, “If you want to hear how a song should be sung, go see Mr. Noel Coward.” Queer in a very straight world, he was also – somewhat improbably – a WWII spy. Featuring Laurence Olivier, Maggie Smith, Harold Pinter, Frank Sinatra, Lauren Bacall, Michael Caine and Lucille Ball, with the voices of Alan Cumming and Rupert Everett and music by Adam Lambert.

Film Website

MADELEINE

(short film preceding MUCH ADO ABOUT DYING)

About The Film

Director

Raquel Sancinetti

Country

Canada

Year

2023

Length

15 min

Sunday, March 3, at 10:00 am at GISS

Raquel finds a way to spring her elderly friend Madeleine from her Montreal nursing home for a road trip in this whimsical, partly animated reflection on the joys of intergenerational friendship. Winner of multiple festival awards, including both juried and Audience Awards at Sweden’s Uppsala International Short Film Festival.

Film Website

MODERN GOOSE

(part of the shorts package BIRDS OF A FEATHER)

About The Film

Director

Karsten Wall

Country

Canada

Year

2023

Length

23 min

Saturday, March 2, at 12:30 pm at GISS

Able to navigate by reading the Earth’s magnetic field, geese straddle the territory between ancient instincts and the contemporary world. Combining beauty, humour and profound empathy, this exquisitely observed cinematic essay embeds in the daily life of these iconic animals to reveal a deeper message of continuity and connection.

Film Website

MUCH ADO ABOUT DYING

About The Film

Director

Simon Chambers

Country

Ireland & UK

Year

2022

Length

83 min

Sunday, March 3, at 10:00 am at GISS

When filmmaker Simon Chambers is called back to London to care for his dying uncle David, a bohemian gay actor, he is unprepared for the madcap journey to follow. David’s anarchic spirit is exhaustingly unbreakable. “One month to live” becomes four whirlwind years of catastrophes large and small, including a house fire, credit card fraud, wanton clutter, nudity and peeing in jars. As Simon tries to help David find a comfortable ending to the drama that his life has become, this award-winning portrait of aging, agency and burden becomes a bittersweet celebration of living in chaos and dying without dignity.

Film Website

NOT QUITE THAT

About The Film

Director

Ali Grant

Country

Canada

Year

2023

Length

47 min

Sunday, March 3, at 2:30 pm at GISS

With attending film guests! Testing positive for a mutation of the BRCA2 gene, predisposing her to breast and ovarian cancer, Sarah White must make some big decisions about taking preventative measures to stay healthy. As a butch lesbian, Sarah is no stranger to the confused judgements of others. Would a double mastectomy with no reconstruction make everything even more confusing and challenging? Filmed over the course of three years, this intimate story of family – both biological and chosen – of love and community, of courage and resistance, is a layered exploration of how we are seen, how we see ourselves…and why it matters.

Film Website

NOTHING COMPARES

About The Film

Director

Kathryn Ferguson

Country

Ireland & UK

Year

2022

Length

97 min

Saturday, March 2, at 12:30 pm at GISS

Sunday, March 3, at 12:30 pm at GISS

Sinéad O’Connor was one of Ireland’s brightest rising talents by the age of 20, with a searingly original voice. Defiant and unapologetic, she became an unlikely pop star. Her decision to speak out against the abuses of the Catholic Church – which at the time were not widely acknowledged – provoked worldwide condemnation. Filmed shortly before her death last year at 56, O’Connor reveals the abusive upbringing that left her feeling betrayed and ultimately led her to the therapeutic power of music. Winner of multiple awards at festivals around the world and named Best Documentary at the Irish Film & Television Awards.

Film Website

OUR TEACHER

About The Film

Director

Phillip Vannini

Country

Canada

Year

2023

Length

59 min

Saturday, March 2, at 12:30 pm at GISS

With attending film guests! Join Coast Salish carver Beau Wagner as he carves a traditional dugout canoe from a single cedar log. Fulfilling the dying wish of his mentor, Stz’uminus Master Carver ShYa’QuThut (Elmer Sampson), that his teachings be passed on to young people as a way of fostering respect for and revitalizing Coast Salish culture, Beau invites assistance from curious students at Gabriola Island Elementary. The more they carve, the more profoundly they begin to understand traditional teachings and Indigenous ways of knowing. This charming, life-affirming film is not just about a canoe; it’s about the transformation of human and non-human relatives alike.

Film Website

PLAN C

About The Film

Director

Tracy Droz Tragos

Country

USA

Year

2023

Length

60 min

Saturday, March 2, at 2:30 pm at GISS

A determined, clandestine grassroots organization – the modern-day equivalent of the Jane Collective – struggles to expand access to abortion pills across state lines during the pandemic. Despite being approved by the FDA over two decades ago, access to the abortion pill – which safely and effectively ends a pregnancy up to 12 weeks – has never been more threatened, directly impacting reproductive options all over America, particularly in Republican states since the 2022 overturning of Roe v. Wade. This urgent, timely dispatch from the frontlines was nominated for Best Film at the Cleveland International Film Festival and Best Documentary at the Nashville Film Festival.

Film Website

SALMON SECRETS

About The Film

Director

Jérémy Mathieu

Country

Canada

Year

2023

Length

40 min

Sunday, March 3, at 12:30 pm at GISS

In English, with some spoken Nuu-chah-nulth and ‘Na̲mg̲is.

With attending film guests! Fish farming is pushing wild salmon to the brink of extinction. The federal government has promised to remove fish farms from BC waters by 2025, but now industry is pushing back with false solutions. Join Clayoquot Action’s fish farm watchdog program as a team of underwater cinematographers investigates an “experimental” fish farm near Tofino. What they find surprises them, and spells potential disaster for wild salmon. Featuring marine biologist and bestselling author Alexandra Morton and traditional ‘Na̱mg̱is Chief Ernest Alfred, who document the successful resurgence of salmon after the removal of fish farms from the Broughton Area and Discovery Islands.

Film Website

SAM NOW

About The Film

Director

Reed Harkness

Country

USA

Year

2023

Length

87 min

Saturday, March 2, at 12:30 pm at GISS

Sam Harkness and his Seattle family are shocked and heartbroken when his mother suddenly disappears. Tracking cryptic clues of her whereabouts years later, Sam and his half-brother Reed head out on a West Coast road trip to try to find her…but solving the mystery of her disappearance is only the beginning of their story. Stitching together 25 years of home videos, this quirky and endearing cinematic family album is a mosaic of love, longing and loss, as well as an attempt to overcome intergenerational trauma. Winner of 15 festival awards, including Best International Documentary at the Zurich Film Festival.

Film Website

SEARCHING FOR SŁEW̱ÁŁ NOṈET* (peace of mind at last*)

(short film preceding OUR TEACHER)

About The Film

Director

Mary Anne Paré

& Kenta Kikuchi

Country

Canada

Year

2023

Length

20 min

Saturday, March 2, at 12:30 pm at GISS

With attending film guests! Facing the dilemma of living on land stolen from the original inhabitants (i.e., the W̱SÁNEĆ peoples), a group of Gulf Islanders explores what Reconciliation means to them. Here are stories of neighbouring communities – Indigenous and settler descendants – who are finding new ways to be in relationship with one another.

SEVEN WINTERS IN TEHRAN

About The Film

Director

Steffi Niederzoll

Country

Germany & France

Year

2023

Length

97 min

Sat. Mar. 2 at 4:15 pm at GISS

Sun. Mar. 3 at 12:30 pm at GISS

In Farsi with English subtitles.

When 19-year-old Reyhaneh Jabbari is sentenced to death for stabbing and killing the man who tried to rape her, her protest makes her a symbol of resistance even beyond the borders of Iran. Featuring letters written by Reyhaneh and videos secretly recorded in prison, this award-winning film depicts the fate of a courageous young woman who refuses to be silenced by a repressive, patriarchal theocracy. Named Best International Film at Italy’s Biografilm Festival. Won the F:ACT Award for Investigative Journalism at the Copenhagen International Film Festival and the Activist Documentary Award at the Movies that Matter Festival in The Hague.

Film Website

SLEEPLESS BIRDS

(part of the shorts package BIRDS OF A FEATHER)

About The Film

Director

Tom Claudon

& Dana Melaver

Country

Germany

Year

2022

Length

45 min

Saturday, March 2, at 12:30 pm at GISS

The rise of artificially lit industrial greenhouses in the French region of Bretagne has dire consequences, disrupting birds’ perception of time. Raising prescient questions about the consequences of human attempts to overpower nature and control the elements, this information film won the Cinematography Award at Austria’s Innsbruck Nature Film Festival.

Film Website

SOMEONE LIVES HERE

About The Film

Director

Zack Russell

Country

Canada

Year

2022

Length

75 min

Saturday, March 2, at 2:30 pm at GISS

One tiny shelter at a time, carpenter Khaleel Seivwright tries to address Toronto’s apathetic response to the housing crisis. The shortage of shelter beds inspires him to build small, life-saving shelters for the unhoused, attracting international attention and staunch opposition from city officials, who insist he isn’t allowed to build them, citing safety issues. Police- enforced evictions reach a dramatic climax as protestors lock arms in the face of violence and arrests. This Kafkaesque David & Goliath story was named Best Canadian Documentary at the Vancouver International Film Festival and won the Audience Award for Best Canadian Documentary at Hot Docs.

Film Website

STOLEN TIME

About The Film

Director

Helene Klodawsky

Country

Canada

Year

2023

Length

85 min

Saturday, March 2, at 4:15 pm at GISS

Sunday, March 3, at 2:30 pm at GISS

Courageous and charismatic Montreal lawyer Melissa Miller champions the rights of the elderly by taking on the for- profit nursing-home industry in this riveting and enraging exposé of how Canada is failing to properly care for our aging population. Miller’s most challenging case yet is a class action suit representing hundreds of families fighting some of the world’s most powerful long-term care corporations, accused of neglecting their vulnerable charges and exploiting underpaid caregivers while reaping huge profits. This compelling call for justice is an occasionally disturbing – but ultimately inspiring – insight into a legal battle with implications for what awaits us all.

Film Website

SUMMER QAMP

About The Film

Director

Jennifer Markowitz

Country

Canada

Year

2023

Length

80 min

Saturday, March 2, at 2:30 pm at GISS

Sunday, March 3, at 4:15 pm at GISS

Far from the fierce political battles currently raging, Camp fYrefly is an idyllic lakeside summer camp in Alberta, a rare safe haven for queer, non-binary and trans teens, who just get to be kids together in a supportive space – “without any of the explanations,” as one camper puts it – surrounded by camp counsellors they can relate to. Removed from bullies and awkward situations, the kids quickly blossom into their empathetic, confident, authentic selves. This warm, funny and joyful film won the Audience Award at the Calgary International Film Festival and received a Special Mention from the Directors Guild of Canada.

Film Website

SX̱IÁM,E TŦE ṮEṮÁĆES (The Story of the Islands)

(short film preceding ĆELÁṈENS TŦE ṮEṮÁĆES)

About The Film

Director

David Underwood (PENÁĆ)

Country

Canada

Year

2023

Length

4 min

Saturday, March 2, at 2:30 pm at GISS

With attending film guests! A delightful animated W̱SÁNEĆ origin story as told by the Elders, in which the Creator arrives in a canoe, transforms some of the people into the Gulf Islands and instructs both the islands and the remaining people to “take care of your relatives.”

TANJA: UP IN ARMS

About The Film

Director

Marcel Mettelsiefen

Country

Germany

Year

2023

Length

85 min

Sunday, March 3, at 2:30 pm at GISS

In English, Dutch and Spanish with English subtitles.

A 19-year-old au pair from the Netherland, Tanja Nijmeijer is horrified by the injustices she witnesses in Colombia. Joining the largest guerrilla army in the world, she takes up arms against the Colombian government. After years of gruelling training in the jungle and participating in deadly acts of terrorism, Tanja unexpectedly emerges as a key player in the peace negotiations that end Latin America’s longest-running civil war. This astonishing account of one woman’s improbable journey grapples with the difficult question of whether armed revolt is ever justified, and is ultimately a roadmap to how entrenched conflicts can be resolved peacefully.

Film Website

WHO I AM NOT

About The Film

Director

Tünde Skovrán

Country

Romania, Canada,

South Africa, Germany,

& USA

Year

2023

Length

103 min

Saturday, March 2, at 10:00 am at GISS

In English, Sepedi, Xhosa, Setswana & IsiZulu with English subtitles.

BC premiere! South African beauty queen Sharon-Rose Khumalo, featured on the cover of our Program Guide, plunges into an identity crisis after learning she is genetically male. Anatomically female but with XY chromosomes, she has a condition known as androgen insensitivity syndrome. Bravely going public to raise awareness of the intersex community, she collaborates with Dimakatso Sebidi, a masculine-presenting intersex activist with congenital adrenal hyperplasia – a survivor of largely unnecessary childhood medical intervention – who turns out to be her complete opposite. This eye-opening and deeply humanizing exploration of the widely misunderstood complexities of human biology has won multiple awards at film festivals around the world.

Film Website

WITNESS

About The Film

Director

Yasmine Mathurin

Country

Canada

Year

2023

Length

17 min

Sunday, March 3, at 2:30 pm at GISS

Waseem Khan witnessed a Black man forced to the ground, handcuffed and tasered by Toronto Police Services. When his footage goes viral, he prepares for the daunting task of showing the video to his young children and talking them through the harsh realities of police violence against people of colour.

Film Website