STORIES WE TELL – Retroview by Jennifer Merin

In Stories We Tell, acclaimed Canadian actress and director Sarah Polley documents her own search to find out the truth about her parentage, trying to track down the truth about whether the man she’s known as dad for her entire life is or is not her biological father. At the root of her quest are a tangled knot of rumors that she is actually the offspring of an illicit affair that her mother, an actress, had with an actor with whom she was working in a Canadian regional theater.

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STELLAR (TIFF 2022) – Review by Leslie Combemale

Darlene Naponse, a member of the Atikameksheng Anishnawbek First Nation in Northern Ontario, Canada, uses Stellar to create a world outside of time wherein She and He can, from a safe distance, examine a world that centers on white people. They are also witness to an apocalypse, one that seems to be about the genocide, assimilation, and betrayal of First Nation Canadians, and at other times speaks to the global warming and environmental disasters created by the white world.

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YOU WILL REMEMBER ME – Review by Martha K Baker

Édouard and his wife Madeleine sit for an interview. Surrounded by cameras and microphones, Édouard, a famous, if insufferable, history professor, brags on his ability to recite dates and events. In counterpoint, his long-suffering wife jabs him with corrections wrought from her exhaustion dealing with a historian losing his memory. The French-Canadian film, You Will Remember Me, realistically reflects the cost to the whole family when dementia steals in.

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Nadine Pequeneza on LAST OF THE RIGHT WHALES – Interview by Rachel West

With her latest documentary feature Last Of The Right Whales, Canadian filmmaker Nadine Pequeneza gained unprecedented access to the North Atlantic Right Whale. With less than 360 of the species remaining in the wild, Pequeneza documented the plight of the whales by following a number of experts on their quest to help this critically endangered whale. Delivering stunning never-before-seen footage of the North Atlantic Right Whale, Pequeneza’s doc is more than just an exploration of how humans have directly impacted their population, but a drastic call to action follow the deaths of 17 of the species in 2017 alone.

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LAST OF THE RIGHT WHALES – Review by Rachel West

Convincing an audience to care about a whale most have never heard of, let alone can picture, is a challenge filmmaker Nadine Pequeneza takes on in the conservation documentary Last Of The Right Whales. Winner of Best Canadian Feature at the 2021 Planet In Focus International Environmental Film festival, the documentary presents audiences with not just an unparalleled look at the North Atlantic Right Whale, but an engaging story.

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FLEE THE LIGHT – Review by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

Flee the Light very much has that pilot-for-a-supernatural TV series vibe to it, and this is not meant as a dig: it is what it is, and I found its non-patronising embrace of its generic terrain very endearing indeed. In many ways, it was actually something of a relief to have my hand held in such a way, and a reminder that not everything needs to be a challenge. It’s charming in a way that this film about the relationship between past and present and the role of women in that tug-of-war is evocative of 1990s textures, making Flee the Light a warm, snuggly although perhaps not wholly memorable way to spend eighty minutes.

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DONKEYHEAD – Review by Rachel West

Donkeyhead is a family drama centred on Mona (Darshi), a thirty-something woman who has returned to her family home to sort out her messy life as a failed writer. Soon, a short break turns into several years and then her father is diagnosed with cancer. After he takes a turn for the worse, Mona’s more successful siblings descend on the traditional Sikh family home, determined to take the reins and manage the situation better than Mona has. Family dynamics quickly come into play as Mona reconnects with her siblings and comes to terms with the life choices she has made in the past.

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WEEK IN WOMEN: Karen McClellan heads Pacific Screenwriting Series Lab – Brandy McDonnell reports

Award-winning writer Karen McClellan will serve as showrunner in residence for the Pacific Screenwriting Program’s 2022 Scripted Series Lab. Starting this month, McClellan is mentoring six up-and-coming British Columbia-based screenwriters as they develop her original series in the Pacific Screenwriting Program’s flagship training program. Now in its fourth year, the Scripted Series Lab combines real-world story room experience, mentorship, workshops and information sessions to equip writers with the skills, experience and connections necessary to establish a sustainable career in the province’s dynamic screen-based industry.

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A.RTIFICIAL I.MMORTALITY – Review by Liz Braun

A.rtificial I.mmortality is an intriguing documentary from Ann Shin about the pursuit of everlasting life. What used to be the purview of religion is increasingly being handed off to the tech world in the 21st century. Can we live forever?

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DEAD MAN’S SWITCH – Review by Liz Braun

You don’t need to know anything about cryptocurrency to buy into Dead Man’s Switch: A Crypto Mystery. The new documentary from award-winning Canadian filmmaker Sheona McDonald is all about the QuadrigaCX investment scandal. McDonald enlists experts from the world of finance, crypto, crime fighting and investigative journalism to delve into the mystery around Gerald Cotten and his company.

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