Dates 6 - 15 May 2010 Venues Vogue Theatre, Vancity Theatre , Pacific Cinematheque , Rio Theatre & Park Theatre

Reviewer Ed Farolan

Nati Familia

82 mins., Sweden, 2010, dirs. Alberto Herskovits and Mikael Wiström

Date and Venue 10 May @ 1900h |Vancity

This is an exquisitely filmed documentary, and what impressed me the most was that the actors weren't acting. Yet it felt like a movie and not a documentary. A film like this would surely touch a lot of immigrants especially here in Canada. A lot of Latin Americans, especially from Bolivia and Peru, come here as domestic workers, and this film reflects the loneliness and hardships they go through. Many of them are like Nati, married with children, who reluctantly accepts work overseas, in Spain, as a hotel cleaning maid: to help her family in Peru make ends meet. This film won two awards last year for Best Documentary at the Karlovy Vary Film Festival and also the Dragon Award for Best Swedish Documentary.


INRI CristoI Am Jesus

75 mins., Italy, 2010, dirs. Heloisa Sartorato and Valerie Gudenus

Date and Venue 8 May @ 1400h Vancity

This documentary takes a look at three men claiming to be Jesus Christ: Inri Cristo from Brazil, Vissarion from Russia, and David Shayler from England. The directors don't make fun of these men. They take an objective look at who they are and why these men are convinced they are indeed the Messiah. They're even convinced that they're not the false prophets referred to in the bible right before the second coming of Christ, and claim they're not crazy.

It's hard not to be skeptical because false prophets come and go, and we've had destructive cults like the Manson family, the Japanese religious group founded by Shoko Asahara, Heaven's Gate, etc. These three aren't destructive at all, and in fact, like Jesus, propagate love and peace.

Sometimes one wonders whether these men just want to get media attention, especially INRI and Shayler. INRI is a media phenomenon in Brazil, and he has beautiful young women who serve him, while Shayler used to be a secret service agent in the UK who was fired and jailed. He dresses up like transvestite, smokes marijuana and has a half a dozen squatters in his sect. Vissarion is a recluse and doesn't speak much, but leads a huge organic farming community in Siberia.


Nova VenerableLouder Than a Bomb

99 mins., USA, 2010, dirs. Greg Jacobs and Jon Siskel

Date and Venue 6 May @ 1900h Vogue & 11 May @ 1300h Pacific Cinematheque

This award-winning documentary is the opening film of the Festival and it's about Chicago High School students, as they compete for the poetry slam competition, Louder Than a Bomb, an oral poetry festival. This festival which takes place around February or Marcheach year, has been in existence since 2003. Vancouver has something similar, the Hullabaloo, and the 2011 BC Secondary School Poetry Slam Champtionship takes place from April 20-28.  Check their website

I found this documentary quite inspiring, and I was impressed by the quality of poetry of these Chicago high school students, particularly Adam Gottlieb's recitation of what poetry is all about, and a subsequent reading on his Jewish roots in Chicago. I was also moved by Nova Venerable's recitation of how she cared for her alcoholic father when she was a child, and later on, her autistic brother.

This is a must-see documentary, superbly filmed and capturing the creativity and at the same time, the turbulent personal lives of these Chicago kids.


Ian WallaceLaughing Mountain
Picture Start

48 min. Canada, 2011 dir. Harry Killas

Date and Venue 13 May 2011 @ 1830h | Vancity

It's truly fitting to celebrate Vancouver's 125th anniversary this year by showing a film about three Vancouverite artists. Produced by Ric Beairsto, this film is about three artists and friends of the "Vancouver School" who are little known in Canada but are considered famed international artists.

The film depicts the exhibitions in Spain and France of conceptual artists Jeff Wall, Ian Wallace and Rodney Graham who began producing in the 1970s an art form known as photo-conceptualism, a novel approach to photography involving stripping down the photographic image to pure information, pure idea. It was Wallace who coined the term, “photoconceptualism,” photography that evolved from conceptual art..

This documentary addresses the lack of knowledge or appreciation of these Vancouverite artists, as their story is a mystery to many Canadians. The film also deals with how how these artists grew together as friends, formed a New Wave band (the UJ3RK5) with sci-fi writer William Gibson during the punk years of the 80s, and how they continued on to change the Vancouver art scene using as media photography and film.

© 2011 Ed Farolan