2018 DOXA Documentary Film Festival



The Creator of Universes

78 mins., Uruguay, 2017, dir. Mercedes Dominioni

Date and Venue 13 May @ 4:15 Cinematheque

Asperge disease has its upside. Just like Dustin Hoffman in The Rainman who was a genius in Math, so also is 16-year old Juan who is a genius as a filmmaker. Full review



The Rankin File: Legacy of a Radical

90 mins., Canada, 2018, dir. Teresa Alfeld

Dates and Venue 6 May 2018, 7.00pm @ Vancouver Playhouse & 8 May 2018, 6.00pm @ SFU-GCA , 149 W Hastings St.

In the past few decades, Vancouver has had its fair share of colourful and controversial mayors. Alas, local filmmaker Teresa Alfeld’s subject is not one of them. Speculatively, Harry Rankin may have been the best mayor Vancouver never had. Full review


Roller Dreams

80 mins., Australia/US, 2017, dir. Kate Hickey

Date and Venue May 10, 2018, 6:15pm & May 13, 2018, 7:15pm @ Vancity Theatre

Stroll along the sidewalk adjacent to the recently gentrified Venice beach any weekend and you will see jugglers, musicians, and roller skaters entertaining passers-by. Australian filmmaker Kate Hickey has created an engaging and ultimately poignant documentary about young people using Venice beach in the eighties. Full review


Éthiopiques: Revolt of the Soul

70 mins., Poland/Germany, 2017, dir. Maciek Bochniak

Date and Venue May 10, 2018, 6:15pm & May 13, 2018, 7:15pm @ Vancity Theatre

In English with English subtitles, song lyrics in Amharic

Éthiopiques is a series of music recordings featuring Ethiopian singers and musicians, released in the seventies and remastered. Maciek Bochniak’s film is more than a documentary. It’s the story of three men: Amha Eshete, record store owner who became a music producer, Girma Beyene, singer, pianist and arranger who embarked on a musical comeback after thirty years and Francis Falceto, a French musicologist who rediscovered Ethiopian popular music. Full review


Golden Dawn Girls

94 mins., Norway, 2017, dir. Håvard Bustnes

Date and Venue 8 May 2018, 6.45pm @ Vancity Theatre

In English & Greek with English subtitles

Who or what is Golden Dawn?
Filmmaker Håvard Bustnes’ documentary goes some way to inform that Golden Dawn is in fact, despite its bucolic name, is an ultranationalist (let’s say even fascist) political party in Greece’s national government. Full review


No Man’s Land

80 mins., US, 2017, dir. David Byers

Date and Venue 5 May 2018, 4.30pm @ Vancity

No Man’s Land is David Byers’ on-the-ground, and largely unbiased, account of what happened in the middle of winter at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, east Oregon, a couple of years ago. The incident is all but forgotten by most people living outside the Pacific North-West.... Full review

Our New President

78 mins., US/Russia, 2018, dir. Maxim Pozdorovkin

Dates and Venue 5 May 2018, 6.45pm @ Cinematheque & 9 May 2018, 8.30pm @ SFU-GCA, 149 W Hastings

In English & Russian with English subtitles

In Donald Trump’s inaugural speech, he was heard to say “People of the world, thank you.” Over in Moscow Vladimir Putin, watching the event on local television was known to respond with “You’re welcome.” This anecdote is from the host of a news program on one of Russia’s State-owned TV channels seen half way through Maxim Pozdorovkin's documentary Our New President. Full review



85 mins., Canada, 2017, dirs. Nova Ami and Velcrow Ripper

Dates and Venues 10 May 2018, 6pm @ SFU-GCA, 149 W Hastings and 11 May 2018, 12pm @ Vancity

This is an excellent documentary about the much discussed topic of climate change. It does address the issue in a unique manner using the metamorphosos of the Monarch butterfly from caterpillar to coccoon and then, to its final butterfly stage. Full review




Letter from Masanjia

77 mins., Canada, 2018, dir. Leon Lee

Date and Venue 5 May 2018, 2pm @ Vancity

As I was watching this documentary, I couldn´t help but compare the persecuted members of the Falun Gong to the early Christians during the Roman times who were tortured and fed to the lions. This documentary is about one such martyr who stuck to his beliefs and paid dearly for it.Full review




Ice Blue

Canada 2017. Dir: Sandi Somers. 104 mins. Opens May 11, 2018 in Vancouver (Landmark Cinemas, New Westminster)

Reviewer Ed Farolan

I have mixed feelings about this debut feature by this Calgary filmmaker. The film starts off simple, but then gets confusing as it continues on. It starts mixing the supernatural with the psychological, and this gets the viewer confused. Full review








The Death of Stalin

UK 2017. Dir: Armando Iannucci. 106 mins. VENUE: International Village Cineplex in May

Reviewer Ed Farolan

You´d think this film was a tragedy, from the title and the first few scenes. Then you realize it´s a dark comedy from writer/director Armando Iannucci who´s known, as in the the HBO comedy “Veep,” to depict politicians as not only vapid but also crass. Full review









The Miracle Season

USA 2018. Dir: Sean McNamara. 99 mins. VENUE: Various cinemas. Opens April 6, 2018

Reviewer Ed Farolan

If you like to have a good cry, go watch this film. The screenplay is by David Aaron Cohen and Elissa Matsueda and it´s based on a true story about the tragic death of star volleyball player Caroline "Line" Found (Danika Yarosh), and how the dispirited team of girls from an Iowa high school used her as their inspiration in hopes of winning the state championship. Full review



Lean on Pete

USA 2017. Dir: Andrew Haigh. 121 mins. VENUE: Various cinemas. Opens April 13, 2018

Reviewer Ed Farolan

For those who love horses, this is a heart-warming story. Based on the 2017 British drama film based on the novel of the same title by Willy Vlautin, it was screened in the main competition section of the 74th Venice International Film Festival, where it won the Marcello Mastroianni Award for Best Young Actor or Actress for Charlie Plummer. Full review





USA 2017. Dir: Wim Wenders. 112 mins. VENUE: Various cinemas. Opens April 20, 2018

Reviewer Ed Farolan

Despite the fact that you have two big stars in this film (Alicia Vikander and James McAvoy), this film which premiered at the Toronto Film Festival last year got mixed reviews. From my vantage point, I think that if medium is the "massage" in Marshall McLuhan´s iconic phrase, then Wenders´ film is an A. But contentwise, based on J.M. Ledgard´s novel, I would tend to have doubts. Full review