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DOXA: The Women Behind the Lens

This week film festival DOXA returns to Vancouver to highlight the best in documentary filmmaking, and educate the public about documentary film as an art form.

DOXA is a curated and juried festival, comprised of public screenings, panel discussions, public forums and educational programs. This year’s festival theme is Spotlight on Troublemakers, a celebration of deep dissent and creative defiance. The festival brings a selection of films that right wrongs, re-imagine the future, and remake history. This year also sees a fantastic array of women filmmakers making the billing, and as the movie industry fights hard to try and promote women in film, it is fantastic to see so many participating.

Women in film, short film, documentary,DOXA, film festival, film

Highly recommended:

The author of A Cyborg Manifesto talks about her work and her life in Fabrizio Terranova’s delightful film portrait Donna Haraway: Story Telling for Earthly Survival.

Directors Catherine Bainbridge (Reel Injun) and Alfonso Maiorana uncover the pivotal role that First Nations artists played in the development of Blues, Rock and Funk in RUMBLE: The Indians Who Rocked The World.

Jean-Marie Barbe and Arnaud Lambert’s Chris Marker, Never Explain, Never Complain looks at Chris Marker’s creative oeuvre through the testimonies of seven people who knew him and worked with him.

Heather White and Lynn Zhang’s Complicit shines a light on the dark irony of the global electronic manufacturing industry in China, where 90% of the world’s consumer electronics are produced.

Women in film, short film, documentary, DOXA, film festival, film

CW: Chris Marker, Never Explain, Never Complain; UR: RUMBLE: The Indians Who Rocked the World; LR: Complicit; LL: Donna Haraway: Story Telling for Earthly Survival

Nathalie Attallah, director of Water on Sand, captures a grandmother and son as they retrace their memories of the Lebanese Diaspora in Vancouver with water and sand.

Attallah is of Lebanese origin; she spent her childhood in Alexandria, Egypt and adolescence in Copenhagen, Denmark. She is interested in social justice issues especially surrounding the representations of Arabs and wants to focus on creating visual rhetoric, which challenge mainstream perceptions.

Women in film, short film, documentary,DOXA, film festival, film

L: Water on Sand, R: You’re Already in the Band (You Just Don’t Know It Yet)

Sandra Ignani is a local director and her  You’re Already in the Band, follows Vancouver-based The Carnival Band for over year, documenting their eclectic lives the self-described band of tricksters, troublemakers, and rabble-rousers, with the occasional real musician thrown in the mix. Ignagni is an amazing documentary filmmaker based in British Columbia, Canada. She trained in film production at Maine Media and Langara College and holds a PhD in Political Science (York University) and a Master of Arts in Indigenous & Canadian Studies (Trent University). Her first three short documentaries screened in 30+ communities coast-to-coast in Canada and the USA, including the Camden International Film Festival, Big Sky Documentary Festival, DOXA, Festival du Nouveau Cinema, Vancouver International Film Festival, and the Whistler International Film Festival.

Her third short film—Ranger—received the Matrix Award for Outstanding Achievement in a British Columbia Short Film at the 2017 Vancouver International Women in Film Festival. Sandra is an alumnus of the Telus-Vancouver International Film Festival Mentorship Program (2015) and the Rencontres internationales du documentaire de Montreal (RIDM) Talent Lab (2015), where she was awarded the Mann-Wintonick Grant. In August 2016, she participated in a documentary fellowship at the Union Docs Centre for Documentary Art in Brooklyn, NY—one of eight international filmmakers selected for the program.


Header Image is of The Road Forward by Marie Clements (Métis/Dene). She is an award‐winning writer, director and producer of film, television, radio, new media and live performance. Her work as a filmmaker includes the award‐winning 2015 docudrama Number 14 and the 2013 short drama Pilgrims, which screened at TIFF and Telefilm Canada’s Not Short on Talent program at the Cannes Market. Her short documentary The Language of Love was an official selection at Hot Docs in 2012.  Her musical documentary The Road Forward is the DOXA 2017 Opening Gala Screening film.


For tickets and more information head to the festival’s website. DOXA Documentary Film Festival runs May 4 –14, 2017. DOXA is presented by The Documentary Media Society, a Vancouver-based non-profit, charitable society.

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