Wheelchair Accessible Venue, Open Captions
Aboozar Amini / 2018 / Dari and Pashto with English Subtitles / Netherlands, Afghanistan, Japan, Germany / 88 min
In this subtle and beautiful documentary portrait, first time feature film director Aboozar Amini captures the everyday lives of 12-year old Afshin and his younger brother Benjamin alongside bus driver Abas. The three subjects of this subtle portrait of Kabul take us on a journey of their daily lives where war is omnipresent. Amini’s gentle camerawork gives us time to witness the intricacies of life in Kabul where dust appears as a main “character” in the film. Kabul, City in the Wind unfolds via intimate direct interviews with the subjects and observations of daily routines: in between the markets and helicopters buzzing, Abas’s bus keeps breaking down and Afshin becomes head of the household when their father, a former soldier, unexpectedly has to go to Iran. Kabul, a city that is mostly known for war and death, is presented lovingly as home for those who strive for a better tomorrow.
Trauma & Addiction in Kabul
Kabul, City in the Wind is an intimate and heartbreaking look at families affected by war and trauma in Kabul. We will take time after the film to process and discuss our impressions and responses with a series of guests and experts who have lived experience within a trauma informed lens.
Trista Suke and Ellis Poleyko / 2018 / Canada / 60 mins / Toronto Premiere
Hair is just keratin protein and dead skin cells. Yet beauty standards today and historically have made hair and its appearance a signifier of status. When you are dissatisfied with the state of your hair, each hair care advertisement is a microaggression advocating anything but otherness.
Foxy is a spunky film that debunks the social stigma surrounding alopecia universalis by interweaving a scripted memoir of director Trista Suke’s personal story with direct-to-camera interviews highlighting people from the community who are also living with hair loss. In flirty fashion, the fictional character Penny Todd tracks a journey of ultimate self acceptance and what it’s like to live as a beautifully bald woman.
Consent Is… The Freedom to Choose
Lucy Drumonde | 2019 | Canada | 1 min | Canadian Premiere
In public or private the ethics of informed consent acknowledges the human right to choose.
Isolation by Ann Bekooy
Ann Bekooy | 2019 | Canada | 8 mins | Toronto Premiere
Through a dreamscape of surreal images, artist Ann Bekooy poetically narrates the universal but somehow alienating condition of existence.
Animating Artists’ Health (Shorts Program)
Canada | 19 mins
Animating Artists’ Health features short animations exploring artists’ health and wellbeing. This program is a product of Artist Health Alliance’s Creating Artists’ Health initiative. Featuring shorts by M.C Cruz, Shelton Deverell, Nikole Hidalgo McGregor, Ess Joelle Okemow, Raoul Olou, David Rendall, and Tommy Truong.
We will be welcoming the range of filmmakers who are showing work as part of this screening to celebrate and reflect on the power of sharing their stories through film. What is it about the medium of film that has called each of these artists to create these works and how has it empowered them to reveal their vulnerable depths to themselves, audiences and each other?
Sara Fattahi / 2018 / Arabic and German with English Subtitles / Austria, Syria, Lebanon, Qatar / 95 min / Toronto Premiere
Winner of the Golden Leopard Award at the 2018 Locarno Film Festival, Chaos tells the story of three women in three cities and asks: what’s the effect of war on the human spirit? As the personal stories of these Syrian women are intimately revealed, Chaos bears witness to the scarred existence of survivors. One woman lives in Damascus, spending her days in silence as she grieves for her teenage son. Another has fled the country to a Swedish village, where she’s coping with traumas by painting. The third woman is Sara Fattahi herself, Chaos’ director, who now lives in Vienna. She’s portrayed on-screen by an actor, while excerpts from a radio interview with the Austrian author Ingeborg Bachmann give expression to Fattahi’s innermost feelings. Fattahi explores the women’s immediate surroundings with equal attention to detail; interiors speak to us, the winds whisper clues and the rain is tangible. Beguiling our senses, Fattahi draws us into the processes of profound grief and inner disengagement.
Displacement and the Syrian Refugee Crisis
How does displacement affect those living with mental health conditions and how are mental health conditions a result of displacement? As we look at the film Chaos, we will take time to discuss the Syrian refugee crisis and how this global crisis intersects with gender, mental health diagnoses and the importance of sharing these stories.
Yolande Zauberman / 2018 / Yiddish, Hebrew, English with English Subtitles / France / 115 min / Ontario Premiere
Menahem Lang is an Israeli actor with a tragic past. He was raped as a child by several older men from his own community. Lang grew up in the Haredi sect, an ultra-Orthodox Jewish community known for its theological conservatism. After confronting one of his abusers, Lang left his hometown of Bnei Brak and hasn’t been back until now. In M, Lang returns to face his community, his trauma and to seek justice. But more than anything, Lang ends up finding other survivors. Shooting her film entirely at night, director Yolande Zauberman follows Lang as he runs into multiple strangers on the streets of his old neighborhood where they all confess the same thing – they were also sexually abused as children by older men in the community. Through many candid interviews in M we learn that child molestation is rampant in their community, turning the abused into abusers in a vicious circle of sexual violence.
Extended Panel: Childhood Sexual Abuse & Recovery
Join us for an extended discussion following the screening of the documentary M, as we are joined by specialists who work in trauma informed care, childhood sexual abuse and sexuality studies. We will sensitively discuss the realities and impacts of (early) sexual abuse, the complexities of finding treatment and the journey of recovery in the context of observant communities as well as in more secular contexts.
Hyung-sook Hong / 2018 / Korean with English Subtitles / South Korea / 108 min / Canadian Premiere
Junha is a 4th grader who doesn’t make friends easily. Afraid he will attack or spit on them, his classmates keep their distance. Junha’s teachers spend most of their time with Junha trying to discipline him or simply understand why he behaves the way he does. But Junha lives on the Autism spectrum: he has little to no control over his impulses. Concerned parents of Junha’s peers question whether he should be educated in the same environment as their kids. While the school advocates for Autism awareness and encourages children to support Junha, many lose their patience. Including Junha. Junha’s Planet is a quiet and powerful observational documentary that addresses some of the most pressing issues at the intersection of disability and education.
Autism in Ontario
After experiencing Junha’s Planet and the realities of autism education in South Korea, join a panel of educators, parents and advocates to discuss the current state of autism spectrum disorder support in Ontario. How can we support those living on the spectrum as well as the families and educators here at home?
Beryl Magoko / 2018 / German and Swahili with English Subtitles / Germany, Kenya / 90 min / Toronto Premiere
Director Beryl Magoko underwent Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) as a child. Unlike many of her peers, she wasn’t forced into it. Feeling pressured by societal expectations, Beryl went through FGM behind her mother’s back. Nobody told her about the pain, guilt and trauma that would follow her into adulthood. Years later, Beryl learns that her FGM can be reversed with the help of reconstructive surgery. But after everything she has been through, she’s hesitant to make a decision. “Will I be making another terrible mistake?” In her documentary account, Beryl is searching for an answer. She asks other women who survived FGM about their experiences and thoughts on reconstructive surgery. By frontlining these stories, Beryl processes her trauma and exposes the extreme misogynist ideologies behind FGM.
Erika MacPherson, Katherena Vermette | 2016 | Canada | 19 min
Kyle Kematch and award-winning writer Katherena Vermette offer an Indigenous perspective on the devastating experience of searching for loved ones who have disappeared. Born out of the need to do something, their stories ignite a relationship between resilience and activism.
Q&A with Beryl Magoko
Following the screening of In Search…, join the filmmaker (who is also the subject of the documentary) Beryl Magoko as she discusses working on the film which recounts her journey with reconstructive surgery after surviving Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) as a child.
Heinrich Dahms / 2018 / Japanese with English Subtitles / Netherlands, Japan / 93 min / North American Premiere
After losing an uncle and two friends to suicide, Zen Buddhist Ittetsu Nemoto made it his life’s work to support individuals struggling with depression and suicidal ideation. Despite cultural taboos from a temple in the high mountains of central Japan, Ittetsu Nemoto takes a community-focused, holistic approach to healing trauma. My Soul Drifts Light Upon a Sea of Trees inscribes the journey and mission of Nemoto as he helps three people find life after limbo. As each person candidly reveals their story of what the edge of life felt like, a therapeutic effect transfixes the audience. With this remarkable film, a quiet plea for a radical shift in the way we think about suicide is heard.
Rick Miller | 2019 | Canada | 15 mins | World Premiere
From the traditional territories of the Micmac Nation of Gespeg to the small town of Gaspé, Québec, director Rick Miller reveals to the audience his family’s lineage and how it has defined and illuminated his relationship with mental health.
My Soul Drifts with Ittetsu Nemoto
Join us for a discussion with the subject of My Soul Drifts Light Upon a Sea of Trees. Internationally known Buddhist priest Ittetsu Nemoto will be joining us via Skype to talk about his life’s mission to provide space and time for those who live with depression.
Iain Cunningham / 2018 / UK / 82 min / Canadian Premiere
Irene’s Ghost is a stunning 6-years-in-the-making documentary that follows a son’s search to find out about the mother he never knew. Cunningham breaks the silence and tracks down his mother’s friends and family to rebuild a picture of her. Cunningham was three when his Mother Irene died. His Father never spoke of it and the family’s silence around Irene meant that she was alive only in Cunningham’s imagination as a thistle seed or in the image of the moon. The birth of his own child inspires a journey to discover the truth about Irene, piecing together fragments of the past to make sense of the present. Utilizing gorgeous animation alongside moving archival footage, Irene’s Ghost lovingly rebuilds Irene’s lost life.
Uncle Thomas: Accounting for the Days
Regina Pessoa | 2019 | Canada | 13 mins | Toronto Premiere
Regina Pessoa’s latest animation beautifully illustrates her childhood memories of her charming and idiosyncratic uncle. This film is a testament of Pessoa’s love and admiration for her uncle’s unique spirit.
How does talking about (or not talking about) post-partum depression and post-partum psychosis impact women and families? After the screening of Irene’s Ghost, we will explore the complicated layers of how post-partum disorders are understood and felt personally as well as culturally through first hand experiences from women and professionals in discussion with the filmmaker.
Kenneth Paul Rosenberg / 2019 / USA / 84 min / Canadian Premiere
Haunted by the death of his sister Merle, psychiatrist Kenneth Paul Rosenberg takes on the role of documentary filmmaker to examine a national health crisis in the US. Bedlam follows personal stories of people living with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and other chronic mental health issues with a television-style precision. Bedlam describes the deinstitutionalization triggers pulled in the mid- and late 20th century (which occurred in Canada as well) to create this ‘bedlam’ on an inter/national scale. Created over the course of five years, Bedlam takes us inside Los Angeles County’s overwhelmed and vastly under-resourced psychiatric ER; a nearby jail warehousing thousands of patients; and people suffering from severe mental health issues in their homes and homeless encampments, where silence and shame often worsen the suffering.
Talking at Night
Eric Thiessen | 2017 | Canada | 6 mins
Director Eric Thiessen captures behind-the-scenes experiences of Saskatoon’s Mobile Crisis Centre staff as they provide 24/7 crisis resolution to people in distress.
De-institutionalization On Both Sides Of The Border
How has de-institutionalization shaped Toronto? Have we fared any better in the practice of de-institutionalization than our US counterparts? The history of de-institutionalization in our city has led to the Mad Pride movement, shaped the neighbourhood of Parkdale (and others in the GTA) and continues to alter hospital emergency rooms, shelter systems and community-based harm reduction centres. In witnessing how the United States systems have been affected in the documentary Bedlam, we will use this film as a counterpoint to reflect on where we have been and where we are going here at home.
Nance Ackerman, Teresa MacInnes, Ariella Pahlke / 2019 / Canada / 78 min
“It’s not that we wanna be here... where else do we have to go?"
– Bianca Mercer
Bianca Mercer is one of many women affected by Canada’s ineffective prison system. With more resources being invested into prisons than communities, women have become the highest growing prison population in the world.
In Conviction, a team of documentary filmmakers gain access to a female correctional facility in Nova Scotia to tackle the crisis from within. Instead of simply conducting interviews, the filmmakers collaborate with Bianca and other women in the facility to create a deeply personal and prisoner’s-eye documentary. Utilizing cameras, spoken word poetry and art supplies, the women share their experiences with institutionalization and unapologetically address the ineptitude of incarceration. What can we do to prevent women from being imprisoned in the first place and stop systemic re-institutionalization? Working alongside the Elizabeth Fry Society and the filmmakers, the women envision a better alternative to a failing criminal justice system to build communities; not cages.
Join us for our first panel discussion, which will include Conviction’s filmmaker Ariella Pahlke, subject Tanya C. Bignell, and representatives from the Elizabeth Fry Society. Moderated by Orev Reena Katz, a Mental Health Correctional Chaplain, they will discuss the various realities and difficulties for women living with mental health issues within a correctional facility. Why are women the fastest growing segment of the prison system in Canada? How do we support, encourage and make space for the growth of women on the inside?