Muslim women are disconcerting, intriguing, polarizing—and straitjacketed by conflations of ideas in front-page stories. While the media tend to portray them as submissive and silenced, filmmaker Saïda Ouchaou-Ozarowski has chosen to distance herself from that caricature, with which she does not identify. She sat down with six Muslim Canadian women eager to talk about what shapes their identities. The resulting documentary, In Full Voice, offers an intimate perspective on the journey of these women, who have a common desire to share their visions of Islam.
Raised in a refugee camp in the West Bank while her mother was in prison, Walaa dreams of becoming a policewoman in the Palestinian Security Forces (PSF). Despite discouragement from her family, even her beloved brother Mohammed, Walaa applies and gets in. But her own rebellious behaviour and complicated relationship with her mother are challenging, as are the circumstances under which she lives.
Following Walaa from 15-21, with an intimate POV, What Walaa Wants is the compelling story of a defiant young girl navigating formidable obstacles, learning which rules to break and follow, and disproving the negative predictions from her surroundings and the world at large.
At her family’s cabin on Wakaw Lake, Saskatchewan, renowned Fransaskois singer-songwriter Alexis Normand invites audiences into a series of candid exchanges about belonging and bilingualism on the Prairies. Weaving together old home movies with current conversations, French Enough illuminates the struggle and triumph of reclaiming francophone Canadian identity. As parents, children and grandchildren sing, play and celebrate, in both French and English, the act of carrying a language forward finally becomes a thing of freedom and joy.
Filmmaker Paul Émile d'Entremont's documentary presents Reema, a lively and sensitive young girl confronted with difficult questions about her identity. After spending the first 16 years of her life with her Canadian mother, Reema re-connects with her Iraqi father by spending 2 months with him in Jordan. On returning home to Nova Scotia, she realizes she will always have a double identity, and that it is both a burden and a treasure.
Against the backdrop of the camera’s meditative wandering through the places that created Quebec, Where the Land Ends explores and questions the historical narrative, as a group of young people who were not old enough to vote in the 1995 referendum express their views. They seem to have decided, on their own, to create a new “Terre des Hommes” (Man and His World).
Some dreamers have the power to inspire us, bring us together, and help us reconnect with our humanity. Alain Philoctète, a Haitian artist and activist who settled in Quebec, returns to the country of his birth to develop a permaculture project with local farmers. There, he has an emotional reunion with family members and his former comrades in arms, whose ideals remain unshaken despite the lingering aftermath of the 2010 earthquake and political instability. However, Alain, who is suffering from cancer, has to undergo treatment in Montreal, where his loved ones provide the same degree of affection and solidarity as he receives in Haiti. Director Will Prosper films this inspiring dreamer on his hopeful quest, chronicling the challenges of exile and illness with the personal, knowing touch of a longtime friend. With a rich score composed by Jenny Salgado, Kenbe la, Until We Win offers a cinematic journey that will move viewers to ponder the importance of embracing ideals and passing them on.
Julia Kwan’s feature-length documentary Everything Will Be captures a significant moment of time in Vancouver’s Chinatown, with the influx of condos and new, non-Chinese businesses. The film follows a year in the life of several Chinatown denizens, including a 90-year-old Chinese newspaper street vendor and a second-generation tea shop owner, as they navigate this community in flux.
How can refugee children integrate into Quebec’s school system, given the unspeakable violence they’ve experienced? Following a psychologist specializing in conflict-related trauma, Unspoken Tears pays tribute to the admirable resilience and survival strategies of these “small adults,” whose spirit the bombs and camps have not completely crushed, at a time when it is vital to raise awareness in Western societies of migration-related issues and children’s rights.
At a critical moment in the history of the written word, as humanity’s archives migrate to the cloud, one filmmaker goes on a journey around the globe to better understand how she can preserve her own Romanian and Armenian heritage, as well as our collective memory. Blending the intellectual with the poetic, she embarks on a personal quest with universal resonance, navigating the continuum between paper and digital—and reminding us that human knowledge is above all an affair of the soul and the spirit.
A short documentary essay on solitude, filmed in Spanish and narrated by filmmaker Rosana Matecki, Saturday Night offers a poetic and bittersweet snapshot of aging in an urban setting, viewed through the lens of dance. An immersive soundscape and a delicate tempo set the mood for this intimate exploration of resilience and nostalgia.
TRIGGER WARNING: This film contains scenes depicting homophobia and violence, which may be disturbing to some viewers.
Someone Like Me follows the parallel journeys of Drake, a gay asylum seeker from Uganda, and a group of strangers from Vancouver’s queer community who are tasked with supporting his resettlement in Canada. Together, they embark on a year-long quest for personal freedom, revealing how in a world where one must constantly fight for the right to exist, survival itself becomes a victory.