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network 28/08/2015 - 12:00PM


Cinema Politica’s latest network acquisitions bolster our roster of extraction, agro-business, and indigenous films, while adding a special focus on the lives of activists themselves.

Although activism and protests are common features of Cinema Politica’s films, many of this season’s new acquisitions foreground the changing faces and tactics of the activists and protestors themselves. As such, the lived experiences of long-term protestors become the focus of THE YES MEN ARE REVOLTING! (Laura Nix & The Yes Men, 2014), wherein the activist-prankster duo are forced to consider whether their escapades are as personally, financially, and politically sustainable as they once hoped. Moving from fake press releases to the streets of London, the gritty and provocative RIOTS REFRAMED analyzes England’s 2011 'riots' from the perspective of community mobilizers and local artists to expose the connections between systemic racism, urban poverty, police brutality, and colonial politics. Magnus Isacsson’s GRANNY POWER(2014) follows a different kind of protestor: a group of elderly activists known as The Raging Grannies, who join Occupy Wall Street protests and other demos across North America, armed with radical song and unstoppable spirit.

A film that truly exemplifies the changing faces and tactics of documentary activism is Pavel Loparev and Askold Kurov’s CHILDREN 404 (2014), produced in the utmost secrecy and at great risk to the filmmakers and protagonists alike.  This account of a gay teenager’s tumultuous final year of living in Russia before attending journalism school in Toronto is considered a criminal offence under Vladimir Putin’s homophobic laws. Cinema Politica and many of our Montreal allies actively supported and fundraised for CHILDREN 404’s completion, and we are very proud to finally be able to share this brave and powerful film throughout our network (for a peek at the filmmakers’ new project, check here).

Our brand new First Peoples First Screens sidebar will make approximately 20-25 films by indigenous Canadian filmmakers available throughout our network of local chapters. These films will be announced later in Fall 2015, and in the meantime, we are very excited to offer three feature films about political issues faced by indigenous people across Turtle Island. Alanis Obomsawain’s TRICK OR TREATY? analyzes the tensions and inconsistencies within the Canadian government’s respect for Treaty No. 9, which deceitfully stripped many First Nations communities of control over their territories.  Tim Wolochatiuk’s WE WERE CHILDREN dramatizes the systemic abuse of indigenous children within the Canadian residential school system. After a popular screening at Cinema Politica’s flagship venue in Montreal, SOL (Susan Avingaq & Marie-Hélène Cousineau, 2014) is making its way across our network. This beautiful and haunting film examines police brutality and the Inuit suicide epidemic through the story of an Inuit artist who died mysteriously while in police custody.


In this round of programming, Cinema Politica’s ongoing commitment to environmental advocacy inspired us to focus on films that critique land usage, especially in the agricultural and resource extraction industries, in North America and around the world.

The resource extraction industry continues to be a regrettably easy and consistently infuriating target for Cinema Politica filmmakers. ABOVE ALL ELSE (John Fiege, 2014) (image above) shares a powerful first-hand account of Texas-based environmental activists who mobilize a large local community to protest the Keystone XL pipeline. MINERS SHOT DOWN (Rehad Desai, 2014) provides grim and scathing commentary on the 34 South African black miners who were murdered by the local police for demanding better wages and safer working conditions.

On the agricultural/land front we find Ari Cohen’s THE FAMILY FARM - a sweeping doc that reveals the financial, environmental, and social pressures faced by small farm owners across Canada (and don’t forget to check out the film’s Webby Award-winning educational site). Also critical of large-scale agro-business is NO LAND NO FOOD NO LIFE (Amy Miller, 2013), which travels around the world to investigate illegal land-grabs, agricultural deforestation, and the poverty-level wages paid to farm laborers by multinational corporations.

This newest batch of hard-hitting POV documentaries from talented artists continues Cinema Politica’s commitment to radical voices, under-represented perspectives, inspiring stories and under-served artists. See you at one of many projections!!