Commonality sought at 2012 DOXA Documentary Film Festival

Salaam Dunk. Photos courtesy of DOXA

Salaam Dunk. Photos courtesy of DOXA

You would have to have your head permanently dug into English Bay’s sand not to have noticed that the DOXA Documentary Film Festival is happening. All across town, on bus stops, in buses themselves, in newspapers and on television the festival is doing a promotional blitz never seen before.

From May 4 to 13, films from around the world will grace the screens of venues such as Vancity theatre, Pacific Cinémathèque, St. Andrew’s-Wesley United Church and even the cozy Subeez Café on Homer Street. The festival expects to have hundreds of moviegoers fill seats in the 10 day festival.

“There is power in numbers,” says DOXA programming director Dorothy Woodend, “and the only way to make genuine change is to do it together.” She says “that nothing big ever happens in isolation,” so it’s fitting that since the late 90s DOXA, via The Documentary Media Society, is dedicated to showcasing independent documentaries to Vancouverites.

“Anyone who has ever sat in a packed theatre knows exactly what it feels like to be a part of a huge human organism,” says Woodend. “DOXA is a festival for the people, not just in the films that we show, but the way that we choose to show them.”

Ai Weiwei. Photos courtesy of DOXA

Ai Weiwei. Photos courtesy of DOXA

Doxa is a Greek word meaning common belief or popular opinion. With 100 films featuring stories like that of a Chinese artist dissident in Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry, to an all-female Iraqi basketball team in Salaam Dunk, one thing’s for sure – those sitting next to each other will be sharing in the same experience, even if they don’t agree on the outcome. Making Waves a “Spotlight on Canadian Women in Documentary” is a full-day event with panels and will be capped off with a gala. Through panel discussions and screenings, such as Brishkay Ahmed’s new film Story of Burqa: Case of a Confused Afghan, the seminal work of Canadian women documentary filmmakers will be a prominent feature of this year’s festival.

Elyse Freeborn, women's studies student at Langara. Photo courtesy of Elyse Freeborn

Elyse Freeborn, women's studies student at Langara.

Elyse Freeborn, 25, is a women’s studies student at Langara. She says that women are not being given credit for their work, and that this is a good first step.

“Women are often underrepresented in film making,” says Freeborn, “so it’s refreshing to see a whole day dedicated to showing women in film.”

She says that it is important that life be viewed through the perspective of women. Otherwise an imbalance in perception occurs and a common or popular belief is one sided and unfair.

“As opposed to everything being told by ‘his’ story it’s being told by ‘her’ story,” says Freeborn.

“There are a lot of women in film, but they are not being given the opportunity to be proponents of their own films or express the view of others. Having never heard of DOXA before, this day certainly has me interested, and I’ll definitely be attending.”


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