5th Annual Women in Film & Television

Date and Venue 18 April 2010 | Vancity Cinema, Vancouver

Reviewer Susan Peake

The last offering at the 2010 WIF Fest held on the weekend was certainly not the least .  For those of you who appreciate short documentaries, this year’s seven diverse submissions were fascinating.  Controversial subjects from the Downtown East Side, to fish farming, to the bizarre world of Lolita girls were explored and the audience was riveted.

The first on the schedule, When I Grow Up, directed by Toshimi Ono, is a thought-provoking piece that exemplifies the value of honouring our own cultural backgrounds as well as others’.  The short that followed was a compelling piece that provides the audience with a look inside the lives of several Canadian Paralympics athletes.  This opportunity to glimpse into the challenges that face these competitors is truly inspirational as well as educational.

Pigeon Park Savings, directed by Laurie Kindiak, provides the audience with an unexpected ‘feel good’ story about the otherwise ‘horrific’ downtown east side.  The message strives to show that, aside from the obvious addictions and mental health issues of that area, there is a strong sense of community living behind the scenes.  These community members are, for the most part, very pleased to be given access to basic financial services, something the rest of us take for granted. 

By far the most intense contribution  was A Harlem Mother, the story of a woman who lost her son to gun violence. Directed by Ivana Todorovic, we are taken through the pain and heartbreak that so many parents living in Harlem have endured and continue to endure today.  When the documentary ended and the credits rolled, the theatre was silent – as we struggled with the emotional journey we had just taken.

The woman’s perspective was felt in all of these short documentaries, and the quality of the submissions is encouraging.  Although I was unable to attend the Saturday and Sunday morning portions of the festival, I look forward to the opportunity to catch the full spectrum of next year’s event.

© 2010 Susan Peake