January 20th, 2022
By Leif Einarson, Communications Manager at GreenUP
From January 27 to February 4, the ReFrame Film Festival will connect our communities when we need it most. Tickets and passes can be purchased at ReFrameFilmFestival.ca, where you’ll also find information about the virtual festival format.
I had the pleasure of speaking with Amy Siegel, Creative Director of ReFrame Film Festival, about how this year’s festival covers environmental and social justice topics.
“Every year for the past 18 years ReFrame has brightened up the depths of winter,” shares Siegel. “I’m proud to say that ReFrame 2022 is here to do that when we need it most. We are looking forward to the conversations and connections that come from watching these films together, even when we are apart.”
“We’re living in a deeply polarized world right now,” shares Siegel. “There are several films this year that are about the struggle to have conversations across divides,” continues Siegel. “What does it mean to have differing opinions? What is the power of art in political work? Many of the answers come from the value and generosity of having vulnerable conversations.”
In addition to this focus on the power of conversation, the environmental films in ReFrame 2022 are connected by two underlying themes: food justice and collective action.
Food security, food sovereignty, and sustainable food production are all key concerns as we tackle the climate emergency and the ongoing pandemic.
“Many of the films at ReFrame this year explore issues of food justice,” explains Siegel. “Films like Mnoomin: Gift of the Creator reflect on the cultural role of food and food sovereignty, while films like Food for the Rest of Us ask questions about our local relations to food.”
Mnoomin: Gift of the Creator is a local film premiering at ReFrame 2022. Mnoomin is also part of the all-Canadian short film program called “The Earth Sustains Us.” This short film program is packed with premieres and powerful films – including several local films – that you’ll have a difficult time watching if you miss ReFrame 2022.
“Food for the Rest of Us is about radical activism through farming,” shares Siegel. “The film looks at four community food projects across North America, each in its own way exploring how we can develop more sustainable and equitable access to food. Director Caroline Cox will be speaking at ReFrame Festival this year. Cox lives in the Northwest Territories, but she went to school in Lindsay, Ontario. She is excited to be talking at ReFrame 2022 because she still has strong roots in this area.”
“Food for the Rest of Us is particularly interesting,” explains Siegel, “because one of the four profiles is a butcher who is trying to reconnect people to humane and local meat supply chains. It is rare in an environmental film about farming practices to bring in sustainable meat eating. That’s an interesting choice.”
“Follow the Drinking Gourd is another film on the topic of food justice,” adds Siegel. “About the Black food justice movement, this film links the legacy of slavery in the United States to land loss and climate change. It manages to do that in sixty minutes while also being accessible and family friendly.”
The other underlying theme, collective action, encompasses the need for both activism and accountability in addressing the climate emergency.
“We see this collective action taking many forms,” explains Siegel.
“Conserving Catchacoma reveals the need for collective action to preserve old growth trees here in our own community. Many people take the natural beauty of this region for granted,” explains Siegel.
Directed by Mitch Bowmile, this film follows efforts to conserve the largest known stand of Old Growth Eastern Hemlock in Canada. Located in Catchacoma, just north of Peterborough, this forest is home to at least ten documented species at risk. Conserving Catchacoma is premiering at ReFrame 2022 as part of the local “Earth Sustains Us” short film program.
“There is also the collective action involved in the lawsuits holding governments and corporations accountable in films like Arica and Youth v. Gov,” explains Siegel.
Arica is made by Chilean-Swedish filmmaker Lars Edman, who was born in Chile and grew up in the Swedish village of Boliden, home of a Swedish mining company that dumps toxic waste into a river in Chile. Here, collective action takes the form of the question, “How do we hold first-world nations and corporations responsible for toxic waste?”
Youth v. Gov follows 21 youth activists from across the United States of America as they file a ground-breaking lawsuit, making the case that the government has endangered their constitutional rights by creating the climate crisis through six decades of action. Hint: the film is about more than just a lawsuit.
“In Wochiigii lo: End of the Peace we see collective action in the form of coalitions across nations,” explains Siegel. This film follows Diane Abel and Chief Roland Willson from West Moberly First Nations who are part of a coalition of resistance fighting to preserve their treaty and cease construction of a multi-billion-dollar mega-dam along the Peace River in British Columbia, Canada (commonly known as Site C). Director Heather Hatch will be speaking at ReFrame 2022.
Toxic Neighbour is a short film about Eugene Bourgeois, who located his sheep farm next to the world’s largest nuclear facility, the Bruce Nuclear Station in Kincardine, Ontario. When his family and sheep were repeatedly exposed to toxic gases from the nuclear station, Eugene dedicated the rest of his life to pushing his nuclear neighbour for greater transparency and accountability.
Walking with Plants is a visually and musically stunning exploration of how Styawat (Lee Joseph) walks between academic and cultural worlds. Styawat grew up away from her traditional territory in Squamish, B.C., but came to a deeper understanding of her identity as a Skwzwú7mesh woman and returned to her family home. There, she contemplates her relationship with plants and the role of plants as teachers.
GreenUP is once again excited to be a sponsor supporting the ReFrame Film Festival. Get your passes and tickets now and join us in the local and global conversations and actions these amazing films inspire: reframefilmfestival.ca/festival/passes-tickets/
The 2022 ReFrame Film Guide is online at reframefilmfestival.ca/film-guide.
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