Given their almost mythical abilities to swim upstream and overcome unthinkable obstacles in order to perpetuate their species, wild salmon seem unlikely symbols of fragility. However, by weaving together interviews, archival photos and underwater footage, Pacific Northwest filmmaker Mark Titus spins a damning tale of human stupidity, selective memory and a looming ecological crisis so dire that viewers will be left praying that it’s all just a fish story.
British Columbia’s marine ecosystem has collapsed. Fish farms were seen as a way to offset growing pressure on declining wild stocks, but one woman, marine biologist Alexandra Morton, noticed that diseases coming from fish farms were killing wild salmon. In this revealing documentary, filmmaker Scott Renyard links the crash of many fish species on Canada’s west coast to diseases spread from fish farms and shows how the loss in marine fish biomass has global implications.
Wrenched reveals how author Edward Abbey’s anarchistic spirit and riotous novels influenced the nascent environmental movement of the 1970s and ‘80s. Through interviews, archival footage and re-enactments, director ML Lincoln captures the outrage of Abbey’s friends who were the original eco-warriors. With tree-spiking, forest occupation and high-profile publicity stunts such as the cracking at Glen Canyon Dam, this group became the eventual target of FBI infiltrators, leading to the arrest of various members.
Imagine spending years in prison without being charged with a crime or knowing exactly what you’re accused of. A film about the human impact of the “War on Terror,” The Secret Trial 5 is a sobering examination of the Canadian government’s use of security certificates, a Kafkaesque tool that allows for indefinite detention without charges, based on evidence not revealed to the accused or their lawyers. Over the last decade, this rare and highly controversial device has been used to detain five men for nearly 30 years combined. To date, none has been charged with a crime or seen the evidence against them. Through the experience of the detainees and their families, the film raises poignant questions about the balance between security and liberty.
"Troubling and compelling ... As Canadians, we’re used to looking elsewhere in the world and shuddering at the lack of due process and respect for human rights. This film is bound to shake many of us out of that sense of smug complacency." — Bruce DeMara, The Star
Ana Valine’s darkly comic drama centres on mother/daughter con artists who just can’t catch a break. Seen through the eyes of 16-year-old Sammie (Paloma Kwiatkowski)—who lives with her pill-popping, alcoholic mom Marlene (Suzanne Clément)—this bittersweet journey leads us through dysfunction, love and addiction, before culminating with an unusual deliverance for this compelling pair. Winner, Best Director, Leo Awards 2014.
Nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Film, this is a contemporary story imbued with the rich, tangy flavor of Celtic mysticism. Ben is a lousy big brother to six-year-old Saoirse – he’s resentful that she can’t (or won’t) speak, and can’t forgive that his mum died during childbirth. Their dad (voiced by Brendan Gleason) hasn’t gotten over it either, but still their life together on the lonely island where he’s a lighthouse keeper seems infinitely preferable to the conventional upbringing their gran has in mind for them, living with her in Dublin. What none of them understands is how fundamentally Saoirse is connected both to her mother, and to the sea… Dazzling kaleidoscopic imagery and a soulful approach make Song of the Sea a magical experience, recommended for all ages.
"A quite delightful piece of magical animation ... a bewitching, moving and often enchanting film." — Mark Adams, Hollywood Reporter
"Song of the Sea is a wonder to behold. This visually stunning animation masterwork, steeped in Irish myth, folklore and legend, so adroitly mixes the magical and the everyday that to watch it is to be wholly immersed in an enchanted world." — Kenneth Turan, LA Times
"If I had to recommend the best children’s film out there for all ages, this one, and The Tale of Princess Kaguya, would easily top the charts." — Peter Rainer, Christian Science Monitor
Told in fourteen fixed-angle, single shot, individual tableaus that parallel Christ’s journey to his own crucifixion,Stations… is both an indictment of fundamentalist faith and the articulation of an impressionable teen’s struggle to find her own path in life. Though from the outside Maria lives in the modern world, her family and her heart are faithful to a Catholic radicalism that requires sacrifice and devotion at every turn.
"This brilliant and subtle comedy about teenage martyrdom argues that extremism has no place in the modern world." David Jenkins, Little White Lies
"Passionate, generous, witty; Dietrich Bruggemann’s study of a fanatical Catholic family renews one’s faith in the power of slow art movies to change the world." London Evening Standard