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network 09/10/2015 - 01:00PM

Canadian Election Doc Primer

The next Canadian Federal Election is just under 2 weeks away, and amidst all of the grandstanding, scandals, and controversial platforms, we at Cinema Politica thought it high time to put together an Election Doc Primer.

We know that many of us will be turning to media (traditional, social, mainstream, alternative) for cues and clues on which party to support (if any) – or we’ll just watch this new video on strategic voting from CP filmmaker Twyla Roscovitch. Those who identify as being on the left of the political spectrum have a particular daunting task ahead: to not split the ABC (Anything But Conservative, or non-Conservative) vote while also not betraying individual political convictions and values. With that in mind we present the following list of CP titles - they are films that highlight various problems, tensions, solutions, modes of resistance and stories that revolve around, interface with and respond to the current Conservative regime’s legacy.

Following the lead of Unite Against Austerity, we recognize that among the many issues that need redressing during this next election, we should prioritize organized labour, the environment, immigration, indigenous communities, peace, and women. We’ve used these Unite Against Austerity categories to recommend some of our recent (mostly) Canadian films as local context for these issues and as reminders of the importance of an informed, progressive vote. We’ve also added a few categories of our own, such as student movements and Canadian business abroad.

Whether you vote strategically or with your heart, consider organizing screenings of these films with your nearest CP local, or, check the films out on your own, and consider recommending them to friends and family who could use a break from the narrowcasting and two-dimensional framing so prevalent in mainstream state and corporate news media coverage of politics.

To that end, we have made two of these films (SALMON CONFIDENTIAL and UPROOTED GENERATION) available for free streaming on the brand new CP Freestreaming Vimeo Channel (we’ll be launching the channel soon with an upcoming collaboration with ROAR Magazine, so this is a sneak-preview of sorts!).

So thanks for reading, and please keep supporting political documentary, keep talking and engaging, and don’t forget to head to the polls on October 19th (whether to vote or spoil your ballet).


CAPITALISM IS THE CRISIS (Michael Truscello / Canada / 2011)
This documentary explains the nature of capitalist crisis, visits the protests against austerity measures, and recommends revolutionary paths for the future.

As economic and environmental crises grip public awareness, the world is finally catching up to the ideas of two artists who make work for social change.

TIL THE COWS COME HOME (Lenny Epstein / Canada / 2014)
The Canadian government's hardening approach to criminal justice and food security raises serious questions about its commitment to democracy itself.

Canadian Business Abroad

The Good Neighbour (2014)

ABOVE ALL ELSE (John Fiege / United States / 2014)
An inspired story of how direct action activists take to the tree-tops and work with land owners to fight against the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline.

THE GOOD NEIGHBOUR (Astrid Schau-Larsen / Canada & Norway / 2014)
An 'ethical' oil company operating in Alberta and their interactions with local native people in Canada.

HUICHOLES – THE LAST PEYOTE GUARDIANS (Hernán Vilchez / Mexico & Argentina / 2014)
The urgent story of the mystical Wixarika People and their struggle against the Mexican government and Canadian mining companies.

SILENCE IS GOLD (Julien Fréchette / Canada / 2012)
When author Alain Deneault wrote his exposé book on two large Canadian mining companies’ despicable activities abroad, he discovered free speech in Canada doesn’t extend to those criticizing this country’s largest and worst companies.

THE YES MEN ARE REVOLTING (Laura Nix & The Yes Men / USA / 2014)
The activist-prankster duo continues to pull the rug out from under corporations, governments, and a complacent media in a series of outrageous stunts.


This Changes Everything (2015)

ARCTIC DEFENDERS (John Walker / Canada / 2013)
Confronting a history of oppression and subjugation, "arctic defenders" set out to create the new territory of Nunavut in this inspiring doc.

THE CARBON RUSH (Amy Miller / Canada / 2012)
This commanding doc effectively counters the propaganda around carbon-trading by featuring the voices of those most affected.

END:CIV – RESIST OR DIE (Franklin López / Canada / 2011)
An examination of our culture’s addiction to systematic violence and environmental exploitation, and the heroism of those who confront it head-on.

THE FAMILY FARM (Ari Cohen / Canada / 2014)
Food issues around health, the environment, access and empowerment are at the heart of this exceptional farm doc.

PETROPOLIS (Peter Mettler / Canada / 2009)
The other-wordly devastation of the Alberta tar sands, shot from above.

RAINFOREST: THE LIMIT OF SPLENDOUR (Richard Boyce / Canada / 2011)
A journey into the forests of Canada's Pacific Coast where modern logging practices are contrasted against the ancient practices of the First Nations community.

SALMON CONFIDENTIAL (Twyla Roscovich / Canada / 2013)
Tracking the future of BC's endangered wild salmon through courtrooms, remote rivers, grocery stores and sushi restaurants.

THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING (Avi Lewis / Canada-USA / 2015)
Avi Lewis and Naomi Klein, fresh on the heels of their Leap Manifesto, are back with another powerhouse documentary – this time pitting the climate against capitalism (the choice is ours to make).

WATER ON THE TABLE (Liz Marshall / Canada / 2011)
Is water a commercial good like running shoes or Coca-Cola? Or, is water a human right like air?


THE BIG WAIT (Joanne Jackson / Canada / 2010)
A doc that examines the broken system of doctor accreditation in Canada.

THE END OF IMMIGRATION (Marie Boti & Malcolm Guy / Canada / 2012)
Montreal filmmakers look at the regressive immigration policies of the Canadian state and the people most affected.

LAST CHANCE (Paul Émile d’Entremont / Canada / 2011)
An intimate look into the turbulent journeys of five people who flee their native countries to escape homophobic violence.

Indigenous Communities

AFTER THE LAST RIVER (Victoria Lean / Canada / 2015)
A scathing and up-close look at Attawapiskat, Ontario, the community that asked the Red Cross for relief from their deplorable state-sponsored living conditions.

ANTI-SOCIAL LIMITED (Rosie Dransfeld / Canada / 2014)
41-year old Chris Hoard has spent half of his life behind bars. But now, the charismatic and streetwise ex-convict wants to ‘do the right thing'.

GENTLY WHISPERING THE CIRCLE BACK (Beth Wishart Mackenzie / Canada / 2013)
A documentary exploration of the journey of healing in a people wounded by the Canadian Indian Residential School system.

HONOUR YOUR WORD (Martha Steigman / Canada / 2013)
A powerful doc following new Algonquin leaders, as their community fights to protect their land, their way of life, and their language.

NOWHERE ELSE TO GO (Michael Shade / Canada / 2014)
This doc follows the chronology of the 2013 indigenous anti-fracking protests in New Brunswick from their early days up to the later violent clashes with police.

THE PEOPLE OF THE KATTAWAPISKAK RIVER (Alanis Obomsawain / Canada / 2012)
The disturbing and moving account of the aboriginal community in Canada whose members sparked the Idle No More movement.

SOL (Susan Avingaq & Marie-Hélène Cousineau / Canada / 2014)
A quiet meditation on the devastation of Inuit suicide, SOL confronts the legacy of colonization and urgently demands justice for Canada's Indigenous Peoples.

UPROOTED GENERATION (Réal Junior Leblanc / Canada / 2013)
A haunting experimental reflection on the residential school experience


Examining common myths about Canada's role on the international stage.

YOU DON’T LIKE THE TRUTH: 4 DAYS IN GUANTANAMO BAY (Luc Côté & Patricio Henriquez / Canada & Australia / 2010)
The story of Canadian Omar Khadr, detained at Guantánamo for almost a decade without charges.

Women (and Gender)

This film witnesses the vivacity of five young Quebecois feminists, who try to find new methods of analysis and action to reconcile their modern aspirations, convictions and personal development. 

HANDS ON: WOMEN, CLIMATE, CHANGE (Multiple Directors / Canada / 2014)
A film featuring women tackling the issue of climate justice with a focus on the Canadian Tar Sands.

This feature documentary shows how the devastating reality of breast cancer, which marketing experts have labeled a “dream cause,” has become obfuscated by a shiny, pink story of success.

A sweeping, invigorating and disconcerting doc on the state of feminism, the herstory of the women's movement, & the status of women in Canada.

TRANSGENDER PARENTS (Rémy Huberdeau / Canada / 2014)
An examination of sex, gender and sexuality ,and the ways in which families and communities build positive futures together.

(Student) Protest

DEMUR (Jason O’Hara / Canada / 2011)
A short doc following the days leading up to and the weekend of the G8 and G20 in Toronto.

INSURGENCE (Groupe d’action en cinema Épopée / 2013)
A collective interpretation of Quebec's Maple Spring, this super-charged doc will have you reaching for your red square and gas mask.

RED SQUARE ON A BLACK BOARD (Santiago Bertolino and Hugo Samson / Canada / 2013)
This doc traces the day-by-day anatomy of Montreal’s 2012 student resistance and its main actors to reveal a militant movement of committed and inspired youth.


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