Picks for the 2012 DOXA Film Festival

May 4-13, Various venues

The Doxa Film Festival, founded by Manitoba ‘maker Kris Anderson, has been building a solid rep since 2000. This year, the 10-day fest found itself dropped from federal grants; following a public plea to Heritage Minister James Moore, it regained its funding, but not before programming was thrown into financial uncertainty. Here, some solid recommendations:


5 Broken Cameras

May 11, Vancity

Farmer Emad Burnat buys his first camcorder to document his son’s birth but quickly turns his lens on encroaching Israeli settlers instead. That camera falls to a gas grenade; the other four: smashed by a settler, shot, cracked during an accident, and again shot. A beautifully righteous account of the fight for home at any cost.

How to Start a Revolution
May 5, Cinémathèque
Against the world’s dictators stands Gene Sharp, an elfin academic from old Boston. Sharp wrote his 198-step blueprint for velvet revolutions to aid Burma and China in their bids for self-reliance, but the onetime prof now advises nonviolent dreamers from Serbia to Iran. Ruaridh Arrow’s first doc ably introduces the Nobel Peace Prize nominee.

The Substance
May 8, Cinémathèque
The best thing about Martin Witz’s love letter to LSD isn’t its excess interest in the ’60s but extensive interviews with drug discoverer Albert Hofmann shortly before his death, at 102. Acid’s clinical uses, which continue to show promise in terminal patients’ ability to contemplate death, are made quickly apparent.

Nuclear Savage
May 6, Vancity
The U.S. detonated 67 nuclear bombs in the Marshall Islands-anticipating, it seems from Adam Horowitz’s impassioned, strident film, residents’ widespread radiation sickness and death. Restitution eludes the Marshallese, seeking $3 billion in international courts; while they wait, sickness and poverty plague these denizens of apparent paradise

Big Boys Gone Bananas!*
May 6, Cinémathèque
In 2009, Fredrik Gertten just wanted to show his doc about Dole (Bananas! ), but the fruit company-unamused by allegations of worker mistreatment-sued. Gertten responded by making this revelatory meta-film documenting his years-long, successful counterattack.

Who Cares?
May 9, Vancity
In Edmonton’s sketchy Norwood area, hookers come into the Reno Pub to drink, shoot pool, and talk directly into Rosie Danfeld’s unblinking camera. Bruises, black eyes, and blood feature heavily; outside, RCMP take the women’s DNA for the next homicide-when, not if.

May 8, Denman
DJ Paolo Campana spent a decade constructing this paean to LPs; in pilgrimages to Japan, America, and across Europe he strains to find metaphysical meaning in their analog forms. But his most convincing argument comes from the warm, scratchy joy of the music itself.