26. September 2017 · Comments Off on Five Questions With Pascal Gélinas, Director of “A Bridge Between Two Worlds” · Categories: Canadian Filmmakers, Documentaries, Five Questions with..., Uncategorised · Tags: , , , , , ,

Pascal Gélinas. Photo by Nicole Giguère

“In our media-charged environment, catastrophe is an everyday occurrence in the visuals that we see of the world. Through my two films, I wanted to show the other side of the world, where miracles become daily events. I wanted everyone to recall that a vast majority of humans are fundamentally good, capable of solidarity, ” director Pascal Gélinas tells Five Questions With during my conversation with him about A Bridge Between Two Worlds his multiple award-winning documentary film about Gilles Raymond and the people of the Islands of Flores, Indonesia and his previous film The Water Bearer which he made ten years earlier on the same subject matter.

A Bridge Between Two Worlds tells the story how Muslim and Catholic farmers, on the Island of Flores, Indonesia, wage a battle to defeat their poverty and to enhance their environment with the support of “honour loans” from North American and European families. This remarkable solution to break the cycle of poverty was initiated by Gilles Raymond, a Canadian volunteer from Québec, who has forged deep bonds in Flores over the last 15 years. Directed by Pascal Gélinas the film, which has its Ottawa premiere at the One World Film Festival on September 30, 2017, captures the power of solidarity across borders and shows how much more is possible when people are provided with opportunities to succeed.

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23. September 2017 · Comments Off on Five Questions With Kasha Sequoia Slavner, Director of “The Sunrise Storyteller” · Categories: Canadian Filmmakers, Documentaries, Five Questions with..., Uncategorised · Tags: , , , ,

As a concerned high school student, Kasha Sequoia Slavner was disillusioned and outraged by the negativity and powerlessness she felt as a consumer of mainstream media. She was compelled to find an alternative narrative.

PhotoEd Platform Pecha Kucha event Gladstone hotel

Kasha Sequoia Slavner

So on her 16th birthday, she embarked on an ambitious mission to travel the world for six months with her mom, camera in hand and no clear road-map, in search of what it means to be a global citizen. During her travels she encountered a variety of individuals from trailblazers finding sustainable solutions to major world issues, to those who have overcome major adversity with tremendous resilience.

Two years later at the age of 18, Kasha premiered her feature documentary film The Sunrise Storyteller at the United Nations’ Commission on the Status of Women in New York to a standing ovation. Following New York, the film has gone on to win four awards and screen at a number of film festivals in the US and Canada. Wanting to learn more about the film, Five Questions With spoke to Kasha before the film screens at the One World Film Festival on Sunday October 1, 2017 at Saint Paul University.

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The Confucius Institute (CI) initiative is a multi-billion dollar Chinese language program found in over 1,500 universities and schools across the world. As new Institutes open at a rate of one every week or two, a global controversy grows at academic institutions around the world as scholars, parents and others question the program’s political influence and purpose.

When Canada’s largest school board is slated to open the world’s largest Confucius Institute, the school trustees find themselves embroiled in this controversy. Joined by a former instructor, hundreds of disgruntled parents launch a campaign to have the institute closed and are confronted by supporters.

Doris Liu

Doris Liu

Into this controversy steps filmmaker Doris Liu and the result is her award winning documentary In the Name of Confucius

Five Questions With spoke with Liu about the challenges she faced in making the film which has its Ottawa premiere at the One World Film Festival on Saturday September 30, 2017.

How did you get in involved in making this film?

As a Chinese-Canadian journalist, I’ve spent years covering news stories related to China and the Chinese diaspora in the Greater Toronto area. In early 2013, I read a Globe and Mail article about McMaster University closing down its Confucius Institute because of the discriminatory hiring policies against which a former instructor, Sonia Zhao, had filed a complaint. The story caught my eye right away as it related to the topics I was interested in: Chinese-Canadians, Canada-China relations, and education – I myself was a university teacher back in China and I also studied education after my immigration.

At first, I didn’t know much about the Confucius Institute (CI) although I heard of it long ago and knew it teaches Chinese language. I did a quick Google search and found lots of concerns and criticisms about the institutes, not only in Canada.

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30. May 2017 · Comments Off on Five Questions with Lasha Mowchun, Director of “Hue Quilted Windowpane” · Categories: Canadian Filmmakers, Five Questions with..., Short Films · Tags: , , , , , , ,

In the short film Hue Quilted Windowpane imaginary love is better than real loneliness as Edi, a lonely woman finally finds love when Elvis Presley charms her through the television.

As a host of the Shopping Channel, Elvis can communicate with Edi privately as she watches the screen. He even dazzles her with a real cubic zirconia ring! But when he promised to come by to deliver the pantyhose she ordered from the telly, Edi must wait to see if the man of her dreams will appear in reality.

HueQuiltedWindowpane_DIR_Mowchun

Lasha Mowchun

Fascinated by this pop art gem, Ottawa Indie Fest had a chance to speak to Lasha Mowchun, director of Hue Quilted Windowpane about the inspiration for and making of her film which has its Ottawa premiere at Ottawa Indie Fest on Saturday June 3, 2017, 11:00am.

Where did you get the idea for your film?
I grew up as the daughter of a psychiatrist worried that, like many of my family members, I would one day become schizophrenic. My dad would often tell me frightening stories about people suffering. This scared me because of my family I am predisposed to schizophrenia. Luckily I never became sick with schizophrenia, but the threat loomed for much of my teenage and early adult life because this is the typical onset period.

One story my dad told me stuck out in my mind because unlike the others it wasn’t really negative. It was actually kind of fun. One of his patients was a very sweet older woman who had suffered with schizophrenia her whole life but managed to retain her gentle demeanour. Some of her delusions seemed kind of pleasant. The little birds outside her window would talk to her. This film is based off of a particularly dazzling auditory hallucination she had. She was a big Elvis fan and when she put on her pantyhose she said she could hear Elvis singing in her legs. Imagine being able to hear music through your legs! This idea made the illness seem less damaging. In this film, I explore the potentials of altered perception to teach us new things about the body and love.

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