No Boundaries Film Festival looks for input in festival choices

By Contributor
January 15th, 2015

Looks like some great choices for the upcoming 2015 Traveling Community Film Festival.   This year our festival kicks off on the evening of Friday, February 27th,  continues all day and into the evening on Saturday, February 28th and wraps up in the afternoon of Sunday, March 1st.  Be sure to mark it on your calendar!

Once again we will be hosting the festival at the Grand Forks Secondary School auditorium.  As we only have the one venue we can not screen all the films that are made available to us.  If you are interested we would like your input as to some of the films you would really like to see – but please don’t give us more than 10.  Unfortunately we cannot see them all and some of your picks may not be chosen so if you don’t want to be disappointed you may not want to look at the offerings until after we have made our final selection. 


Please respond with your choices by Sunday, January 18th.  Then our committee will meet, compile your input, and make the final selection and send out our program by the end of this month.


John Westaway 

No Boundaries Film Club



2015 Film Descriptions  Traveling Film Fest

Above All Else: 95 min. — 2014   

Fiege Films — Director: John Fiege — Executive Producer: Daryl Hannah

Above All Else is an intimate portrait of a group of landowners and activists in East Texas who take peaceful direct action to stop construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, a multi-billion dollar project slated to carry tar sands oil from Canada to refineries in Texas. What begins as a stand against corporate bullying becomes a rallying cry for climate protesters nationwide. Risking financial ruin, their personal safety and the security of their families, these unforgettable people and their stories become an exploration of the human spirit and a window into how social change happens.  As Canadians begin to stand in the way of massive pipeline developments, this film is inspiring, dramatic, and very timely.   Best North American Documentary, Global Visions Film Festival; Special Jury Prize, Dallas International Film Festival

All the Time in the World: Disconnecting to Reconnect: 88 min. — 2014              

Director: Suzanne Crocker — Story Editor: Nettie Wild

In search of a new perspective, a family of five leaves the comforts of home to live in the remote Yukon wilderness during the long northern winter and amidst the considerable surprises that the rawness of nature provides. The parents leave their jobs and take their three children (ages 10, 8 and 4) to spend nine months living in a small cabin with no road access, electricity, running water, Internet, TV or phone. Clocks and watches are also conspicuous by their absence.

This family-friendly film explores the idea of disconnecting from our hectic, technology-laden lives in order to reconnect with each other and our natural environment. The film is noteworthy for offering the unique perspectives of the children as they connect with both their parents and nature. “Heartwarming and breathtaking” Most Popular Canadian Documentary, Vancouver Int’l Film Festival

Alive Inside: 78 min. — 2013   

www.filmsalescorp.com — Director Michael Rossato-Bennett

Alive Inside is a joyous cinematic exploration of music’s capacity to reawaken our souls and uncover the deepest parts of our humanity. Filmmaker Rossato-Bennett chronicles the astonishing experiences of individuals around the US who have been revitalized through the simple experience of listening to music. His camera reveals the uniquely human connection we find in music and how its healing power can triumph where prescription medication falls short.

Social worker Dan Cohen, founder of the nonprofit organization Music & Memory, fights against a broken healthcare system to demonstrate music’s ability to combat memory loss and restore a deep sense of self to those suffering from it. Rossato-Bennett visits family members who have witnessed the miraculous effects of personalized music on their loved ones, and offers illuminating interviews with experts, including renowned neurologist and best-selling author Oliver Sacks and musician Bobby McFerrin.  Audience Award, Sundance

American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs: 83 min. — 2013   

Good Docs — Director: Grace Lee

Grace Lee Boggs is a 99-year-old Chinese American writer, activist, and philosopher.  Rooted for more than 70 years in the African American movement, she has devoted her life to an evolving revolution that encompasses the contradictions of America’s past and its potentially radical future. Grace’s lifetime of vital thinking and action traverses major U.S. social movements of the last century; from labour to civil rights, to Black Power, feminism, the Asian American and environmental justice movements and beyond. Angela Davis, Bill Moyers, Danny Glover and others help shape this story. “Revolution”, Boggs says, “is about the ability to transform oneself to transform the world”. Best Feature, Toronto Asian Film Festival & Woodstock Festival; Audience Award,Wisconsin Film Festival

Becoming Bulletproof : 82 min. — 2014

superfilms.tv — Director: Michael Barnett

Joy and persistence triumph over adversity in this award-winning documentary about a diverse group of people from across North America who come together in a camp every year to make a movie. On this occasion, it will be a Western called Bulletproof and the entire point is that it should be fun regardless of the challenges each person faces.  Barnett’s documentary brings us face to face with our prejudices and misunderstandings.  This is not the story of someone else who may have a disability; it is our story of who we are or may become.  Becoming Bulletproof  is a film about striving to live fully through artistic endeavour and raises important questions about the exclusion and marginalization of people with different abilities. This life-affirming film has much to teach us about embracing the great diversity of humanity.  Best Documentary, Hollywood Film Festival ; Audience Choice Award, Heartland Film Festival

Bringing it Home: 53 min. — 2013   

McNabb/Connolly — Directors:  Linda Booker & Blaire Johnson

A father’s search to find the healthiest building materials leads him to the completion of the first hemp house in the US.  Hemp with lime, hempcrete, is a non-toxic, energy efficient, mildew, fire and pest resistant building material. Although it is grown in 31 countries, growing hemp remains off-limits to almost all U.S. farmers.   Industrial hemp is a non-psychoactive plant that provides the raw materials for thousands of sustainable products which can improve nutrition, stop deforestation and offer hope in a time of  global warming.   Bringing it Home tells the story of hemp, past, present and future, and a global industry that includes textiles, building materials, food products, bio-plastics, auto parts and more. Jury Award, Wild & Scenic Environmental Film Festival; Director’s’ Choice Award & Best Environmental Film, Sedona International Film Festival

Coastal Tarsands: Journey to Deleted Islands: 78 min. — 2014

Filmmaker: Richard Boyce

Join Richard Boyce on a cinematic kayak journey to BC’s north coast where the Enbridge Corporation is determined to bring Alberta tarsands bitumen by a pipeline 1,170 km long across the Rocky and Coast Mountain Ranges to Kitimat.  The filmmaker takes us to the maze of islands and narrow passages that were deleted in the $350 million Enbridge advertising campaign video.  This is precisely where hundreds of supertankers loaded with millions of barrels of diluted bitumen will have to navigate through treacherous waters to reach Asian markets if the project proceeds.  Coastal Tarsands takes a look at the coast, its natural features, weather, currents, wildlife and the people who live there.

Connected by Coffee: 70 min. — 2014   

Stone Hut Studios — Filmmakers: Aaron Dennis & Chelsea Bay Dennis

The film  follows two North American coffee roasters on a journey across Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador and Nicaragua to listen to the stories of the people who grow their coffee. On the way they meet with soldiers who have become growers, powerful women who are controlling their own destinies and many small-scale farmers joining together to form cooperatives. This film serves as a starting point to educate coffee drinkers about the basics of fair trade, cooperatives, social justice, shade grown, organic, the conflict in fair trade and the new challenges of dealing with coffee rust. In the context of historical injustices of global politics and international trade, the film asks some tough questions.

DamNation: 88 min — 2014

IndieCan — Directors: Travis Rummel &  Ben Knight

This powerful film odyssey across the US explores the sea change in attitude from pride in big dams as engineering wonders to the growing awareness that our own future is bound to the life and health of our rivers. Dam removal has gained acceptability.  Where obsolete dams come down, rivers bound back to life, giving salmon and other wild fish the right of return to primeval spawning grounds after decades without access. Diverse interests are coming together to find more cost-effective options to meet power, shipping, irrigation and other needs. Restoring rivers helps to preserve tribal customs, recover fish stocks, revitalize waterfronts, improve recreational opportunities and render watersheds more resilient to climate change.  DamNation’s majestic cinematography and unexpected discoveries move through rivers and landscapes altered by dams, but also through a metamorphosis in values, from conquest of the natural world to knowing ourselves as part of nature. Audience Choice, South by Southwest Festival; Audience Award, Mountain Films in Telluride

A Dangerous Game: 2014   

Director: Anthony Baxter

A Dangerous Game is the sequel to Baxter’s award-winning documentary You’ve Been Trumped!. It is  about the environmental, cultural, historical and human costs of golf, a game that has been hijacked by the rich and  powerful. Documenting the stories of people and communities in Scotland, Croatia and the US who are standing up against developer tycoons like Donald Trump, this film clearly shows how economics, politics, human rights, and the environment intersect. A Dangerous Game showcases hope, dignity, struggle and triumph as people and communities stand up to protect themselves, their communities and the environment.

Defensora: 40 min.  — 2013

Director: Rachel Schmidt

Defensora is a documentary about  Mayan Q’eqchi’ resistance against mining in Guatemala. The story is set along the shores of Lake Izabal in the community of El Estor where a nickel mining company has operated for over 50 years. Tensions run high against a backdrop of pro and anti-mining camps, violence and forced evictions. The film takes audiences into the lives of defenders in the resistance who struggle to reclaim their ancestral lands and seek justice in Canadian courts for alleged human rights violations. “Defensora is a deeply moving testimony to incredible courage in the face of wanton brutality and a shining tribute to the human search for justice.” Maude Barlow 

Silver Screen Award, Nevada Film Festival

Food Stamped: 62 min. — 2011

Summit Pictures — Shira and Yoav Potash

Food Stamped is an informative and humourous documentary film following a couple as they attempt to eat a healthy, well-balanced diet on a food stamp budget. Shira teaches healthy cooking classes to elementary school students in low income neighbourhoods, most of whom are eligible for food stamps. In an attempt to walk a mile in their shoes, Shira and Yoav embark upon a challenge to eat on roughly one dollar per meal for a week.  Through their adventures they consult with members of U.S. Congress, food justice organizations, nutrition experts, and people living on food stamps to take a deep look at America’s broken food system. Jury Feature Prize, San Francisco Independent Film Festival; Best Documentary, Lighthouse International Film Festival

How a People Live: 2013   

Moving Images Distribution  — Director: Lisa Jackson

The Gwa’sala and the ‘Nakwaxda’xw First Nations people lived as two distinct groups along BC’s northwest coast. In 1964, for ease of administration, the Canadian Government forcibly relocated them from their traditional territories along Queen Charlotte Strait–Smith Inlet, Seymour Inlet and Blunden Harbour–to the Tsulquate reserve near Port Hardy on Vancouver Island. Crowded into only a few houses with no potable water, they couldn’t even retrieve their possessions. When they returned to their villages to do so, they found their homes had been burned to the ground.  Candid and moving interviews, striking archival footage–including their early contact with Franz Boas and Edward Curtis–and a visit to their stunning homelands portray a journey of healing.  How A People Live  brings to life the story of a people known for their theatrical dances, strong connection to the land, and the strength that enabled them to overcome incredible hardships–disease, Indian Residential schools and the destruction of their villages. This is a powerful story about a people’s reconnection with their land and culture and a journey of healing and rejuvenation of their community.

Just Eat It: A Food Waste Story: 74 min. — 2014   

Peg Leg Films — Filmmakers: Grant Baldwin and Jenny Rustmeyer

We all love food, so how could we possibly be throwing away nearly half of it? Filmmakers Jen and Grant dive into the issue of waste from farm and retail, all the way to the back of their own fridge. After catching a glimpse of the billions of dollars of good food that is tossed each year in North America, they pledge to quit grocery shopping cold turkey and survive only on foods that would otherwise be thrown away. In a nation where one in 10 people is food insecure, the images they capture of squandered groceries are both shocking and strangely compelling. As Grant’s addictive personality turns full tilt towards food rescue, the ‘thrill of the find’ has unexpected consequences. Just Eat It looks at our obsession with “best before” dates, perfect produce and portion sizes, and reveals the core of this  issue that is having devastating consequences around the globe. Just Eat It is equal parts education and delicious entertainment. Impact Award,Vancouver Int’l Film Festival; Emerging Director Award, Hot Docs; People’s Choice, Calgary Int’l Film Festival

Koch Brothers Exposed: 60 min.  — 2014

Brave New Films — Director: Robert Greenwald

The film tells stories about the political machinations of billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch who have spent hundreds of millions of dollars to influence US politicians to pass laws in line with their extreme Libertarian ideology, often with heartbreaking consequences for others.  Koch-founded groups masquerading as grassroots organizations (“astroturf groups”) have poured millions of dollars into campaigns targeting the Environmental Protection Agency. They have financial  interests in the tar sands and generously fund right wing think tanks such as the Fraser Institute and climate change deniers. Tactics include voter suppression. In spite of this, some people have fought back and defeated candidates funded by this diabolical duo.

The Malagasy Way: 84 min. — 2014   

Director: Lova Nantenaina

“The Chinese make everything and the Malagasy fix everything.” The people of Madagascar pride themselves on producing things out of nothing; tires transformed into shoes, oil lamps made out of light bulbs, wheelbarrows fashioned from scrap metal. You see ingenuity, not underdevelopment, in their practices. A return to a conservationist lifestyle that encourages recycling, fraternity and self-reliance makes perfect sense. Will the world pay attention? Filmmaker Nantenaina Lova venerates the family business, the clever artisan, the resourceful craftspeople and those who possess the ability to create using everyday objects. The Malagasy Way is a poetic, music-filled and proverb-packed lesson in creativity and resistance.

The Man Who Stopped the Desert: 64 min.  — 2010  

Director: Mark Dodd

As early as the 1970s, desertification began to creep southwards in the land between the Sahara Desert and the forests of tropical Africa. By the 1980s the region suffered from regular droughts and starvation. People fled to the cities and many villages became deserted. Yacouba Sawadogo, a farmer living in northern Burkina Faso, decided he would remain steadfast against the desert. By reviving and adapting an ancient farming technique known as Zai, Yacouba began to grow crops successfully on previously abandoned land. Yacouba’s hardest battle was not with the elements, but with the people around him. On every side he faced opposition to his techniques. Many thought his ideas were crazy. Over time, his successes became legendary

Marmato: 88 min. — 2014  

Calle Films — Director: Mark Gieco

If Colombia is the focal point of the new global gold rush, then Marmato, a mining town with over 500 years of mining history, is the new frontier. Gold, estimated to be worth 20 billion dollars, is being mined in traditional ways by the locals who risk their lives daily in return for modest salaries from local businessmen.  When the Colombian government opens the mining industry to foreign investment in 2006, hopes are high for more lucrative employment. It doesn’t take long for disillusionment to set in as a Canadian company, Medoro, promptly buys up 88% of the mines in the area and initiates an allegedly “eco-friendly” open-pit mining scheme that entails mass relocation of homes and, eventually, extensive layoffs.  Filmed over six years, Marmato is a beautifully shot portrait of the lives of some of the miners who confront and defy Medoro.

On the Side of the Road: 85 min. — 2014   

Naretiv Productions — Filmmaker: Lia Tarachansky

Tarachansky grew up in Israel’s largest settlement, Ariel. When the second Intifadah broke out in 2000 her family moved to Canada where, for the first time, she met Palestinians and heard their stories. In this film, Tarachansky looks at Israelis’ collective amnesia of the fateful events of 1948 when the state of Israel was born and hundreds of thousands of  Palestinians became refugees.  She follows the transformation of Israeli veterans as they uncover repressed memories of the war that changed the region forever. Tarachansky then turns the camera on herself and travels back to her settlement where that historical erasure gave birth to a new generation, blind and isolated from its surroundings. In 2009 the Israeli government proposed a law that forbade mourning this history. Attempting to shed a light on the country’s biggest taboo, she is met with outrage and violence.  Indie Fest Film Award; International Independent Film Award

Open Sesame: The Story of Seeds: 88 min. — 2014   

Director: M Sean Kaminsky

One of the world’s most precious resources is at risk. Seeds are essential to life, providing the basis for everything from fabric to food to fuels. Approximately 90 percent of the fruit and vegetable varieties that existed 100 years ago no longer exist today. Corporations are co-opting seed genetics using patent laws. Today, corporate-owned seed accounts for 82% of the world-wide market.  Many heritage grains are near extinction. Seeds that were lovingly nurtured over hundreds of years have been lost forever. Maintaining seed biodiversity allows us to breed new varieties that are resistant to pests and thrive in temperature extremes in a changing climate. Open Sesame follows the challenges and triumphs of seed activists as they work to save this precious resource.

Reaching Blue: Finding Hope Beneath the Surface: 22 min. — 2014

Global Reef Films — Filmmakers: Ian Hinkle and Andy Robertson

An oyster farmer, a writer and an ocean scientist share their thoughts about a coastal way of life under threat, where stories from our past give the inspiration to face the challenges of the future. Twenty-two cinematographers contribute beautiful imagery from deep-sea submarines, advanced ocean research vessels and drone cameras, to expose the changes our coastal waters face. Do we have the wisdom and resilience required to understand ocean change before time runs out?

The Revolutionary Optimists: 54 or  83 min.  — 2013   

Collective Eye Films — Director: Nicole Newnham & Maren Grainger-Monsen

The Revoluntionary Optimists draws us into the world of two 11-year olds with no access to clean drinking water, a girl forced to labour in a brick-making operation, and a teenage dancer on the precipice of accepting early marriage to escape from her abusive family.  Lawyer turned change-agent, Amlan Ganguly, does more than simply rescue children living in Calcutta’s slums. He empowers them to transform their own neighbourhoods and lives as they organize to get clean water, go to school, reduce malaria infections and learn to dance.

The Secret Trial 5:  84 min. — 2014  

Blue Ice Docs — Director: Amar Wala

Imagine spending years in prison without being charged with a crime or knowing exactly what you’re accused of.  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, this timely film raises poignant questions about the impact of the “War on Terror” and the balance between security and liberty.  Best Documentary, Mosaic International South Asian Film Festival ; Top 10 Audience Award, Hot Docs

Shameless Propaganda: 72 min. — 2014   

NFB  Director: Robert Lower

This feature film examines its own genre, the documentary, which has often been called Canada’s national art form. Released in the year of the NFB’s 75th birthday, Shameless Propaganda is filmmaker Robert Lower’s take on the boldest and most compelling propaganda effort in our history (1939-1945) in which founding NFB Commissioner John Grierson saw the documentary as a “hammer to shape society”.  The films produced until 1945 by the NFB are distilled here for the essence of their message to Canadians. Using only these films and still photos from that era, Lower recreates the picture of Canada they gave us and looks for the Canada we know today. What he finds is by turns enlightening, entertaining and unexpectedly disturbing.

Soft Vengeance: Albie Sachs and the New South Africa: 84 min. — 2013   

Director: Abby Ginzberg

Soft Vengeance is an inspiring film about Albie Sachs, a lawyer, writer, art lover and freedom fighter. For his actions as a lawyer defending anti-apartheid activists in South Africa, he was imprisoned in solitary confinement, tortured and forced into exile. In 1988 he was blown up by a car bomb set by the South African security forces in Mozambique, which cost him his right arm and the sight of one eye.  As he was recovering, he received a note reading “Don’t worry, comrade Albie, we will avenge you.”  He wondered what kind of country it would be if it were filled with people who were blind and without arms. “If we achieve democracy, freedom and the rule of law, that will be my soft vengeance” he mused.  Following the release of Nelson Mandela, Albie helped write the new constitution and was then appointed as one of the first 11 judges to the new Constitutional Court set up to guarantee the implementation of the fundamental rights for which they had been fighting.

Tribal Canoe Journey: 5 min.  — 2015   

Carswell Productions                                      Filmmaker: Ed Carswell

This film captures a rare event that happened in 2014 on a warm July evening in the K’omoks Estuary, BC.  As part of the annual Tribal Canoe Journey, massive dug-out canoes arrived in the estuary and were invited ashore by Chief Rob Everson and the K’omoks First Nation.  Over the last 150 years, First Nation societies suffered many hardships and some of their traditions were outlawed. The canoe journey tradition was revived in 1986 and now sends a strong message to preserve culture, language, and our coastal waters.

The Voice of the Seeds: 31 min. — 2011

Director: Rodrigo Otero Heraud

Andean farmers eloquently express their feelings towards their seeds which they have been nurturing for several thousand years. They also share what they think of GMOs.  As one campesina says, “Seeds have perennial, eternal life, we sow them for food year after year but we retain some to keep life going on endlessly. GMOs seem to me like genocide…”



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