Time Magazine's 2011 Person of the Year: Honoring the Protester
MONTREAL, Jan. 12, 2012 /CNW Telbec/ - This year, three Canadian
documentaries are among the 12 documentaries selected for the World
Cinema Documentary Competition at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival
(January 19 to 29, 2012). They are Yung Chang's China Heavyweight, James Swirsky and Lisanne Pajot's Indie Game: The Movie, and Jennifer Baichwal's Payback. In addition, Telefilm's Pitch This! winning documentary Leone Stars is among the 29 recipients of a Sundance Institute grant for
Canada is known worldwide as a pioneer and leader in the production of
documentaries having an impact on society. Debates over social and
political issues were front and centre throughout 2011, a phenomenon
that led Time Magazine to select the Protester as its 2011 Person of the Year.
Furthermore, a Canadian documentary is on the list for an Oscar
nomination consideration: Martyn Burke's Under Fire: Journalists in Combat.
"Given the strong competition, this is an outstanding year for
home-grown documentaries that provide a Canadian perspective on
international issues and trends," said Carolle Brabant, Telefilm Canada's Executive Director. "Well-known Canadian Jeff Skoll, who produced An Inconvenient Truth featuring Al Gore (Participant Productions), believes in a different
kind of philanthropy: documentaries. According to Skoll, it is
encouraging that the funding of Canadian documentaries can have as
positive a social impact as funding that goes directly to
The social impact of Canadian documentaries over the years
A few years ago, Peter Raymont's Shake Hands with the Devil: The Journey of Roméo Dallaire raised people's awareness of Lt.-General Roméo Dallaire's tireless
fight against genocide in Rwanda and cast a spotlight on post-traumatic
stress disorder, which afflicts many men and women serving in the armed
forces. As a documentary filmmaker, Raymont has been travelling the
world for more than 30 years to expose injustice and foster change.
Mark Achbar, Jennifer Abbott and Joel Bakan's The Corporation won the Audience Award at Sundance in 2004 and was released on
BitTorrent for anyone to download and watch for free. The filmmakers
also launched a Campaign for Corporate Harm Reduction (C4CHR) in
collaboration with Hellocoolworld.com. In the aim of sparking change in their audiences, the campaign
collects stories about the impact of the film, asking people to tell
the campaign what they've done and what they've heard about as a result
of the film.
The hard-hitting documentary L'Erreur boréale, by Richard Desjardins and Robert Monderie, raises the question of collective responsibility regarding the
destruction of Quebec's forest heritage. The boreal forest is thought
to be inexhaustible, but is it really in good hands? The documentary
has sparked a province-wide media debate that persists a decade after
Sturla Gunnarsson's Force of Nature: The David Suzuki Movie offers a probing analysis of the current relationship between man and
nature. In spite of his alarming findings, Suzuki proposes solutions
that focus on sustainability and survival and issues a call to action.
Educator guides provided by the National Film Board.
Following the release of Rob Stewart's documentary Sharkwater, four countries changed their policies regarding the protection of
sharks. In an effort to protect sharks, director Rob Stewart teams up
with renegade conservationist Paul Watson of the Sea Shepherd
Conservation Society. Watson works relentlessly to raise awareness and
educate people. His Website provides educational tools for teachers and
he organizes ongoing fundraising efforts to protect sharks.
For the Charleston, Missouri community, Paul Saltzman's Prom Night In Mississippi was a blessing as it started a conversation that had been put off far
too long: the film was credited with helping to initiate dialogue among
school officials about student race relations. The filmmakers worked
with HBO and the Montgomery, Alabama-based Southern Poverty Law Center
(SPLC) to develop a 42-page study guide, which both HBO and SPLC are
promoting on their respective Websites.
The following Canadian feature documentaries are screening at the 2012
Sundance Film Festival in the World Cinema Documentary Competition:
China Heavyweight (majority co-production with China)
Director: Yung Chang
Canadian distribution: Kinosmith and Eyesteelfilm Distribution
U.S. and Asian distribution: Eyesteelfilm
International distribution: Cat & Docs
Funded by Telefilm Canada
In central China, a coach recruits poor teenagers living in the
countryside and turns them into Western-style boxing champions. Through
hard work and an iron will, the girls and boys learn to become adults,
trained in the art of boxing and the game of life. They dream of
competing in the Olympics, hoping to become China's next amateur sports
heroes. But once their training is over, the most talented novice
boxers are faced with dramatic choices: do they fight for the
collective good as amateurs or for themselves and their own interests
in the world of professional boxing? This metaphor well illustrates the
choices facing all citizens living in the new China of today.
Indie Game: The Movie
Directors: James Swirsky and Lisanne Pajot
This feature-length documentary explores the world of video games and
their creators and goes behind the scenes of the video-game industry.
It follows the eventful paths taken by game designers, from the
creation of their games to the games' launches around the world.
Director: Jennifer Baichwal
Production: National Film Board of Canada
Canadian and international distribution: National Film Board of Canada
This feature documentary, based on Margaret Atwood's bestselling book Payback: Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth, offers a fascinating look at debt as a mental construct and traces how
it influences relationships, societies, governing structures and the
fate of the planet. From award-winning director Jennifer Baichwal (Manufactured Landscapes, Act of God) and producer Ravida Din of the National Film Board of Canada.
Featuring Louise Arbour, Karen Armstrong, Conrad Black, Raj Patel and
For more information on these documentaries and other Canadian films at
About Telefilm Canada
Telefilm Canada is a federal cultural agency dedicated to developing and
promoting the Canadian audiovisual industry. Telefilm provides
financial support to the private sector to create distinctively
Canadian productions that appeal to domestic and international
audiences. Telefilm also administers the Canada Media Fund's programs.
Q & A session with three Canadian documentary filmmakers at Sundance
WHEN: Monday, January 23, 2012,
11:30 - 12:30 a.m. Eastern Standard Time
9:30 - 10:30 a.m. Mountain Standard Time
WHERE: To participate in the conference call, please dial 866-226-1792. Give
the following password to the operator: Telefilm Canada.
This year, three Canadian documentaries are among the 12 documentaries
entered in the World Cinema Documentary Competition at Sundance
(January 19 to 29, 2012). They are Yung Chang's China Heavyweight, James Swirsky and Lisanne Pajot's Indie Game: The Movie, and Jennifer Baichwal's Payback.
The Q & A session will be held with:
Carolle Brabant, Executive Director of Telefilm Canada. Ms. Brabant will introduce the
Montreal-based Chinese-Canadian filmmaker Yung Chang (China Heavyweight) was nominated for an Emmy and won a Genie Award for his first feature
documentary, Up The Yangtze. The film won several international awards, including Best Documentary
at the 2009 Golden Horse Film Festival, and was one of the top-grossing
documentary box office releases in 2008.
Lisanne Pajot and James Swirsky produced, directed, edited and shot the feature documentary Indie Game: The Movie, which was funded, notably, through two Kickstarter campaigns. Prior to
the film, Lisanne produced award-winning lifestyle television shows for
the CBC. James has been making documentaries, commercials and
award-winning short films for the past 10 years.
RSVP by January 20, 2012: Andréane Leblanc, Telefilm Canada,
514-283-6363, ext. 2066 or email@example.com
SOURCE TELEFILM CANADA
For further information:
Douglas Chow, Manager, External Communications
1-800-567-0890 or 514-283-0838, ext. 2225
Laurent Boyé, Jazo P.R., media relations officer