fbpx

ReFrame 2024 FILM GUIDE

January 25 - 28

Plan Your In Person Festival

January 29 - February 4

EXPLORE ON DEMAND FILMS

Evening Features

These films highlight one or more core issues and ideas woven throughout the rest of the program.

A person stands at the center of a vast, cracked desert landscape under a bright sky with the sun directly behind, casting a long shadow forward. They wear a mid-length dress with a floral pattern and appear barefoot. The horizon is lined with mountains, and the lighting suggests either dawn or dusk due to the warm tones and long shadows. The ground is parched and textured, highlighting the dry environment.

In Boil Alert, an Indigenous woman goes on a journey through First Nations reservations to shine a light on the devastating struggle for clean water and discovers herself in the process. This poignant exploration illuminates the human dimension of the water crisis in Indigenous communities, as well as the impact it is having upon Native identity.

Guest in attendance, Q&A with Layla Staats and Joshua Neuman

This film is featured during Opening Night.
Please note: opening night tickets are sold separately, and are not included in the purchase of a Festival Pass.

Opening Night brought to you by

Based on the life and career of legendary Canadian children’s entertainer Ernie Coombs—or, as he is more commonly known by millions of fans, Mr. Dressup, this documentary celebrates the origins and history of one of Canada’s most beloved CBC children shows, which enriched the lives of five generations. This film celebrates the expansiveness of gender, and has special connections to the Nogojiwanong community.

Guest in attendance, Q&A with Greg Floyd.

Those in power write the history. Those who struggle write the songs. North Circular is a documentary musical that travels the length of Dublin’s North Circular Road, from the Phoenix Park to Dublin Port, exploring the history, music and streetscapes of a street that links some of the country’s most beloved and infamous places.

The Countdown to Armageddon has begun. As biblical prophecy fuels political power, American Evangelicals threaten U.S. democracy and push for the Apocalypse in the Middle East. With close-quarters journalism, this feature documentary takes a deep dive into power and policy, and investigates the dangerous consequences of a fusion between Evangelical Christianity and American politics.

Gena, a Queer artist from a small town in Russia, dresses in otherworldly costumes made from junk and tape, and protests the government on the streets of Moscow. She stages radical performances in public that become a new form of art and activism. The performances—often dark, strange, evocative, and Queer at their core — are a manifestation of Gena’s subconscious. But they come at a price.

The Engine Inside tells the stories of six everyday people from all over the globe who reveal the unique power of the bicycle to change lives and build a better world. Through their stories, the film uncovers the often-overlooked potential of this 200-year-old machine, exploring its impact on a wide range of global issues such as physical and mental health, socioeconomic inequality and climate change.

Community & Care

Taking action may be loud or quiet, large or small, but it is fiercest when it is in service of those we care for, or whose experiences we’ve shared.

This program is sponsored by

All across the globe, Chinatowns are under threat of disappearing – and along with them, the rich history of communities who fought from the margins for a place to belong. Big Fight in Little Chinatown documents the collective fight to save Chinatowns across North America.

Periodical tells the unexpected story of the human body by exploring the marvel and mystery of the menstrual cycle, from first period to last. Lina Lyte Plioplyte’s innovative documentary uncovers shocking truths, challenges taboos, and celebrates the end of centuries of societal stigma.

Related VIRTUAL WORKSHOP: Period Poverty & Advocacy | Tuesday, Jan 30 at 7:00PM EST - Pre-register now!

Montreal priest Father Claude Paradis believes that all lives are worthy of respect. So in 2014, he created an annual ceremony to celebrate the lives of the “unclaimed.” Thanks to Father Paradis’ compassionate gesture, these people are granted a final moment of dignity.

Guests in attendance, Q&A with Megan Durnford

Sculptor Dana King’s hands and activist Fredrika Newton’s memories come together to build a new monument—a bust of Black Panther Party leader Huey P. Newton for the Oakland community that he loved and shaped. As the sculpture takes form, more than just a face is revealed.

While navigating daily discrimination, a filmmaker who inhabits and loves her unusual body searches the world for another person like her, and explores what it takes to love oneself fiercely despite the pervasiveness of ableism.

Centred on Ontario’s short-lived, but transformational Basic Income Pilot, this documentary sparks curiosity, fosters understanding, and encourages open dialogue about the transformative potential of basic income by combining emotional narratives, real-life impact stories, expert insights and creative visuals.

Following the film, join us for Panel: Impact of Basic Income.

When we lose someone, the world ticks on just the same. But for those left behind everything is entirely changed. This is What the World Looks Like When You're Gone is a beautifully made, contemplative look at love, loss and family.

Guest in attendance, Q&A with Steen Star

Shorts: Community & Care

After noticing too many cases of sexual violence going unreported or unpunished within their own schools, 23 teen girls decided to take matters into their own hands to make meaningful changes to school board policy across Québec.

When the largest dam removal project in history begins, a group of Indigenous youth learn to whitewater kayak in hopes of becoming the first people to paddle the restored river from source to sea. The film gives viewers a bird’s eye view of an unforgettable group of youth training for the adventure of a lifetime.

After miscarrying her baby in prison due to shackling, Pamela Winn becomes an activist, leading thousands to support – and pass – the 2019 Georgia Dignity Act, which outlawed shackling of pregnant and postpartum inmates. Winn follows Pamela’s journey from prison to the halls of the state Capitol, from incarcerated person to outspoken law-changer, from powerless to empowered.

An organic farmer in Maine sets out to transform the prison food system. Filmed over the course of two years, Seeds of Change chronicles the intersecting stories of lifelong farmer Mark McBrine and several incarcerated men as they grow their own food from a five acre prison garden unlike any other.

Janelle Niles is a Black, Mi’kmaw, two-spirited woman from Sipekne’katik First Nation in Nova Scotia and a stand-up comedian. Despite a tumultuous upbringing, Janelle embraces her biracial experience and queer identity, using stand-up to usher in a new era of inclusive, Canadian comedy.

Fitting explores the relationship between the director, an amputee, and her prosthetist during the making of a prosthetic leg. It demystifies an unfamiliar space and asks what it means to create an extension to someone else’s body, questioning prejudice widely seen within our society's consideration of body image.

Creative & Critical

These films foreground the power of performance and craft as means of sharing who we are, navigating relationships and making change.

This program is sponsored by

Dive into the resonant universe of Montréal-based choreographer and philosopher Zab Maboungou, of Franco-Congolese origin. For over thirty years, she has galvanized the contemporary dance scene with her radically regrounded conception of time, the body, and the self. Her political history, artistry, and pioneering research have empowered other African artists around the world.

 Guests in attendance, Q&A with Philip Szporer and Marlene Miller

Join us for a workshop with the creators of this film.
Performing Arts Documentary with Mouvement Perpétuel

After festival rejections, a director revises his intensely personal short film about trauma, suicide, and the Holocaust. He transforms the film into a painful, blunt and funny dissection of itself, and of his own life. Ten years in the making.

Guests in attendance, Q&A with Sean Wainsteim

For twenty-five years Keith Wasserman has made and delivered elaborate art mail packages - all in the hopes of befriending his muse. Dear Ani explores what can happen when you present your truest self, and risk total failure. It is an intimate account of psychotic mania, personal mastery, and creative triumph.

Thalia is an artist, banner-maker, and one of the original marchers and founders of a women-only peace camp against nuclear weapons. In this film, Thalia shares the untold story of the longest feminist protest in British history, and reflects on how collective action changed the lives of the women of Greenham Common and inspired several generations.

In Orlando, My Political Biography theorist, critic, and curator Paul B. Preciado takes Virginia Woolf’s classic novel as a starting point for a bold, joyous reflection on the nature of contemporary trans life and a celebration of queerness.

Shorts: Creative & Critical

What does it mean to be Inuk? Historically depicted as welcoming and friendly people in remote snowy landscapes, in reality, Inuit live across the globe. Using antique wind-up bears, layered animation, and analogue techniques, McIntyre constructs an animated documentary in an exploration of identity and belonging by Inuit, both in and outside of community.

For 18-year-old Finnish–Kosovan Fatu, a simple visit to the grocery store feels as nerve-racking as a lunar expedition. For the first time in his life, he’s wearing makeup in public. Luckily his best friend Rai, a young woman on the spectrum of autism, is there to ferociously support him through the voyage.

Each week, two friends born 67 years apart share their life stories in the living room of a seniors' residence. When Raquel finds a way to bring Madeleine with her on a road trip to the sea, the result is a journey that plays with reality and fiction and brings a reflection on life, death and the certainty that there is always something to learn along the way.

This is a playful, poignant & very memorable live action animation, where humans take from forests whatever they desire - leaving nothing. Shitty Little is critical of a prevalent attitude in western culture that says there is no inherent value in nature, that it must be taken and shaped into a product for sale to have worth.

From the disappearing wildlife in his hometown of Owen Sound to the news stories about the melting of Greenland, psychotherapist Anderson Todd tells us how fragmenting ecosystems around the world have affected his psyche and his relationships. Do the realities of collapse necessarily spell paralyzing despair, or is there something positive we can take from this?

Guest in attendance, Q&A with Chen Sing Yap

Heart Like A Pow Wow explores the depths of grief from an Anishinaabe perspective of love and family. Viewers are called to witness Spirit as they shift to physical form while embodying the love that precedes grief and inevitably foreshadows it.

At Aunty Gladys’ funeral, Archer Pechawis heard a tap on the window -- it was a bear named Jesus. This film is an allegory for religious interference, with an aching yet humorous look at estrangement, and mourning for the loss of someone still living.

Local Connections

A celebration of films made by or starring local voices.

This program is sponsored by

For twenty years now, Kirby, who has an intellectual disability, has been living on his own and is thriving in his quaint little house on a colourful small-town street. He is surrounded by helpful neighbours and a unique support network that understands the power of community and belonging.

Guest in attendance, Q&A with Rob Viscardis

Featuring the profound stories of 8 Atlantic Canadians, and the work of musician Sarah McInnis, The Legacy Song Project: Atlantic Chapter explores death, dying, grief, loss, and love, through the transformational lenses of documentary film and songwriting.

A live performance with Sarah McInnis accompanies this screening.

Winding Our Way Home explores a journey of creating short films with women who live with Brain Injuries. It is about their experiences of living with invisible disabilities, their sense of belonging and identity.

Guests in attendance, Q&A with Melissa Addison-Webster

Smokii Sumac reflects on the wisdom and strength of bereaved mothers, as he is faced with the grief of waking up to a changed world–the day after Donald Trump was elected as President of the United States. There have been mornings worse than this one.

Down to Earth

Staying grounded in the face of the climate crisis.

This program is sponsored by

Our planet is permeated with plastic particles. This film follows several people who deal with the disposal of plastic, as well as its production. In the process, the system that causes the mountains of plastic to grow becomes apparent.

Register for the Virtual Q&A | Wednesday, Jan 31 at 10AM EST

Deep in the Mojave desert, an unconventional field biologist wages a high-tech war against ravens - laser cannons, drones, exploding turtle shells - in a last ditch effort to save the last few desert tortoises from extinction.

How to Power A City provides a front-row seat to communities battling fossil fuel dependence by bringing solar and wind projects to their hometowns. Filmed in six locations, the stories reveal how a diverse cast prevailed against myriad obstacles such as indifferent politicians, technical impasses, public ignorance, cost, and natural and manmade disasters. It is a solutions-focused climate story.

Guest in attendance, Q&A with Melanie La Rosa

This exquisite fly-on-the-wall environmental doc is a gripping and up-to-the-minute tale of geopolitical, scientific, and corporate intrigue. It exposes the destructive machinations of an organization empowered to extract massive amounts of metals from the deep seafloor.

What does it mean to lose a colour? Losing Blue is a cinematic poem about what it means to lose the otherworldly blues of ancient mountain lakes, now fading due to climate change. This short documentary gently asks what it might mean to forget that the ethereal blues of these lakes ever existed.

Songs of Earth is a majestic symphony for the big screen. The filmmaker’s father is our guide. Bringing us through Norway’s most scenic valley, he shows us where generations have been living alongside nature to in order to survive. The sounds of earth harmonize together to make music in this breathtaking journey.

Shorts: Wshkiigmong Dibaajmownan/ Curve Lake Storytelling

Six proud, diverse Curve Lake First Nation members share their Anishinaabe Knowledge to build relations and community both within Wshkiigmong/Curve Lake and between Wshkiigmong/Curve Lake and Nogojiwanong/Peterborough.

This program is sponsored by

“Never forget me, remember me, this is your home.”
"The Rez" is so much more than the pain inflicted by settler-colonialism. Lewis speaks to her greater community, her love for their strength, and the fight they give to keep the community whole. Identity and community are vital; Lewis embraces both without compromise.

PANEL: Wshkiigmong Dibaajmownan/Curve Lake Storytelling

“Using my hands are very important to me.”
Knott recounts her history, intertwined with her family and community through a motif of hands that work and create. Highlighting her mother’s highly skilled, detail-oriented, and artful moccasin-making, Knott continues that work of care. To love is to touch, forming a connection with the earth, and those you care for.

PANEL: Wshkiigmong Dibaajmownan/Curve Lake Storytelling

“You have the love and respect of your grandparents, and eventually that’s what you become.”
Knott explores her beginnings with family and love through their connection to one another, Land, water, plants, and animals. There is loss and reconnection, while also building courage “to take back my life.” The spiritual cycle continues.

PANEL: Wshkiigmong Dibaajmownan/Curve Lake Storytelling

“During my employment, I was able to learn my culture on a daily basis while coordinating programs with community workers and provincial agencies.”
Taylor offers a glimpse into her extensive work with the Anishinabek Nation (formerly Union of Ontario Indians) in implementing the Ontario Indigenous Healing and Wellness Strategy. During her involvement, Taylor witnessed the government’s acknowledgement of Traditional Healers and First Nations communities' reclaiming of their Anishinaabe Knowledge.

PANEL: Wshkiigmong Dibaajmownan/Curve Lake Storytelling

“Now when I close my eyes, I see endless possibilities.”
Taylor recounts his deep reconnection to his Grandma Bernice during a very challenging time in his life. Through his family, Taylor regains a sense of self and community. Taylor’s story demonstrates the importance of connection and ancestry.

PANEL: Wshkiigmong Dibaajmownan/Curve Lake Storytelling

“I will not abandon you, like the systems abandoned me.”
Knott’s powerful voice explores her relationship with her identity and culture as she blooms into who she is becoming. This film demonstrates the growing strength of Knott’s Anishnaabe identity.

PANEL: Wshkiigmong Dibaajmownan/Curve Lake Storytelling

Power & Resistance

Honoring those who stand in spite of the systems, structures and ideas designed to push them down.

This program is sponsored by

In the summer of 2020, Detroiters faced unprecedented police violence as they took to the streets to protest the killings of Black people across the country. Detroit Will Breathe provides an unprecedented look into the actions of the police and examines what it means to be part of an integrated movement fighting for Black lives.

The inspirational story of The Dalkurd Football Club, a scrappy group of Kurdish refugees in Sweden who defy all odds to climb the ranks of Sweden’s soccer leagues in hopes of becoming champions, and bringing glory and attention to the plight of their stateless people.

Register for the virtual Q&A | Wednesday, Jan 31 at 5:30PM EST

On October 12, 2022 a terrorist attack in Bratislava results in the death of innocent LGBTQ+ people. There is no political response. Through intimate interviews, Poisoned Well explores the emotional toll of fear and self-defense in the face of widespread homophobia.

Manufacturing the Threat is a thrilling and emotional film, which examines a deeply disturbing episode in Canadian history when an impoverished couple was coerced by undercover law enforcement agents into carrying out a terrorist bombing. Further, viewers learn that this case is far from unique in the context of Canadian intelligence.

Guests in attendance, Q&A with Amy Miller

Sara Mardini, once a competitive swimmer in Syria, became Europe’s most celebrated refugee after saving 18 people’s lives. After working as a rescue volunteer in the Mediterranean, she is accused of people smuggling and faces a 25-year prison sentence. We follow her fight for justice and journey of self-discovery against the backdrop of Europe’s refugee ‘crisis’.

At the gates of the Negev desert, a group of young Palestinians fight against the Israeli military occupation. The "Youth of Sumud” - youth of steadfast perseverance - try to return to their people the land that was taken from their families, restructuring the ancient cave village of Sarura. They face aggression with nonviolent action, defending themselves from rifles with their video cameras.

Guest in attendance, Q&A with Nicola Zambelli

Sharp Angles

These films spotlight the power of documentary craft to invite new perspectives on people, events and experiences. They offer insight and ask you to really look.

This program is sponsored by

As museums begin to deal with their colonial history, filmmaker Suvi West takes the audience behind the scenes of the museum world, revealing a visual, philosophical, and spiritual realm. She seeks a connection with ancestors through old museum objects, eventually arriving at the collective pain points of the Sámi people.

From director Phillipe Falardeau, one of Canada’s most successful and acclaimed contemporary filmmakers, Lac-Mégantic investigates one of the worst oil train tragedies in history, a foreseeable catastrophe ignited by corporate and political negligence. The next Lac-Mégantic is not a matter of if, but when.

In the darkness of smoke sauna, women share their innermost secrets and intimate experiences. Through a sense of communion, women wash off the shame trapped in their bodies and regain their strength.

On July 17, 2014, Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur was shot down by Russian forces over eastern Ukraine, killing all 298 people on board. The attack was immediately questioned and obscured by the Russian government and media. As evidence piled up, the reality only became more shocking and incredible.

Shorts: Sharp Angles

In this personal essay documentary, the director reflects on getting diagnosed with endometriosis through observing the invasive Japanese Knotweed. While the plant is treated with urgency, the disease is met with inaction, prompting us to question the very things we consider “natural” in the first place.

Newly settled in Belfast, a filmmaker tells his infant twins about his life journey. They see him leaving one violent place for another, longing for places that he will never see again, and hoping they will not carry his curse.

A lonely chair on an abandoned balcony, a photographer watching it days and nights, a strange thing happens that will change the life of the chair for ever.

Able to navigate by reading the Earth’s magnetic field, at home on land, air and water, geese straddle the territory between ancient instincts and the contemporary world. Combining beauty, humour and profound empathy, director Karsten Wall’s exquisitely observed film essay follows the daily life of these iconic animals to reveal a deeper message of continuity and connection.

Despite the close bond between Adam and her sibling Khadija, there is trauma unspoken between them. In this short documentary, the two hold a conversation where they attempt to find mutual understanding through the winding road of expressing emotions.

One woman’s love letter and final goodbye to heroin, as she attempts to come off the synthetic opiates that have kept her clean for the past six years. This short documentary attempts to reframe some of the stigmas of addiction, and poses the following question: what does it mean to be ‘clean’?

Panels, Performances & Workshops

(This is a separately ticketed event.) 
In addition to the screening of opening night film Boil Alert, this event will feature live performance and special guest speakers. This evening sets the tone and celebrates what’s to come. Don’t miss this inaugural gathering and jam packed event featuring an incredibly impactful film that examines water issues of vital importance to our community.

Following the screening of The Legacy Song Project: Atlantic Chapter, which captures stories about the universal experiences of loss and how songwriting can be used as a bridge to connect us with our loved ones, join us for a selection of songs performed live by film subject Sarah McInnis. 

Presented in collaboration with Public Energy Performing Arts, Filmmakers Philip Szporer and Marlene Millar, creators of Maboungou: Being in the World, host this workshop for anyone interested in the intricacies of the creative process. This full day workshop will Illustrate a variety of approaches, cover interview techniques and research strategies, and invite exploration into alternative ways of revealing documentary ideas. Don’t miss this chance to share your creativity. Bring your camera or your smartphone. Notebooks are always handy. Limited spaces available, no experience required.

As the benefits of a Guaranteed Basic Income are currently debated in the Senate, A Human Picture directors Simon Brothers and Luke Mistruzzi, Ontario’s basic income pilot participant and activist, Jessie Golem, and author and activist Jamie Swift, will join in a conversation about the connection between poverty, inadequate social safety nets, and a guaranteed livable income. Please join us as together we imagine a more secure and just future for us all. Co-presented and moderated by Basic Income Network Peterborough.