Garbage Dreams follows three teenage boys born into the trash trade and growing up in the world’s largest garbage village, on the outskirts of Cairo. It is the home to 60,000 Zaballeen, Arabic for “garbage people.” Far ahead of any modern “Green” initiatives, the Zaballeen survive by recycling 80 percent of the garbage they collect. When their community is suddenly faced with the globalization of its trade, each of the teenage boys is forced to make choices that will impact his future and the survival of his community.
AL GORE, Nobel Peace Prize winner, Academy Award winner and former Vice-President of the United States, says: “‘Garbage Dreams’ is a moving story of young men searching for a ways to eke out a living for their families and facing tough choices as they try to do the right thing for the planet. Mai Iskander, the director, guides us into a ‘garbage village,’ a place so different from our own, and yet the choices they face there are so hauntingly familiar. Ultimately, ‘Garbage Dreams’ makes a compelling case that modernization does not always equal progress.
Ten years in the making and culled from 5000 hours of footage, WE LIVE IN PUBLIC reveals the effect the web is having on our society, as seen through the eyes of “the greatest Internet pioneer you’ve never heard of”, artist, futurist and visionary Josh Harris. Award-winning director Ondi Timoner (DIG! — which also won the Sundance Grand Jury Prize in 2004 — making Timoner the only director to win that prestigious award twice) documented his tumultuous life for more than a decade to create a riveting, cautionary tale of what to expect as the virtual world inevitably takes control of our lives.
Harris, often called the “Warhol of the Web”, founded Pseudo.com, the first Internet television network during the infamous dot-com boom of the 1990s. He also curated and funded the ground breaking project “Quiet” in an underground bunker in NYC where over 100 people lived together on camera for 30 days at the turn of the millennium. With Quiet, Harris proved how we willingly trade our privacy for the connection and recognition we all deeply desire, but with every technological advancement such as MySpace, Facebook and Twitter, becomes more elusive. Through his experiments, including a six-month stint living with his girlfriend under 24-hour electronic surveillance which led to his mental collapse, Harris demonstrated the price we pay for living in public.
North Korea is one of the world’s most isolated nations. For almost 60 years, North Koreans have been governed by a totalitarian regime that controls almost all information entering and leaving the country. A cult of personality surrounds its two recent leaders: first, Kim Il Sung, and now his son, Kim Jong Il. For Kim Jong Il’s 46th birthday, a hybrid red begonia named kimjongilia was created, symbolizing wisdom, love, justice, and peace. This film draws its name from the rarefied flower and reveals the extraordinary stories told by survivors of North Korea’s vast and largely hidden prison camps. Interviewed in South Korea, where they now live, their experiences are interspersed with archival footage of North Korean propaganda films and original scenes that illuminate the contours of daily life for a people whose every action is monitored and whose every thought could bring official retribution. It’s a world where justice and peace are impossible.
First-time documentarian NC Heikin’s background as a dancer and performance artist has influenced her approach to this stylish and deeply moving rendition of modern-day torture and the search for recovery. Far from being a litany of travails or a simple indictment of a government’s actions, Kimjongilia is a totally original and ultimately inspiring consideration of the extremes human beings can suffer, and yet still hold out hope for a better future.
Beginning and ending with Halloween, this intimate documentary follows four generations of the Mosher family for a year as they attempt to break the cycles of hard luck and bad choices that afflict them. The pressing issues of one generation-an unplanned pregnancy, a custody battle, a bad relationship-stir up and reinforce long-ingrained patterns of the past. As they turn the camera on his family, Donal Mosher and his co-director Michael Palmieri place us in the middle of an unfolding drama that artfully manifests the complex ways families can sustain us even as they continue to inflict damage.
The Mosher’s small town in the Mohawk Valley in upstate New York is almost as much of a character as the family, adding rich texture to the film. You can almost smell the smoke lingering in cramped apartments and feel the blistering wind blowing dried leaves across the asphalt. Judicious use of home movies adds to the sense of the unfulfilled promise of a family living a life they don’t deserve even if they made it for themselves.
Author Colin Beavan, in research for his next book, began the No Impact Project in November 2006. A newly self-proclaimed environmentalist who could no long avoid pointing the finger at himself, Colin leaves behind his liberal complacency for a vow to make as little environmental impact as possible for one year. No more automated transportation, no more electricity, no more non-local food, no more material consumption…no problem. That is, until his espresso-guzzling, retail-worshipping wife Michelle and their two year-old daughter are dragged into the fray.
Laura Gabbert and Justin Schein’s film provides a front row seat into the familial strains and strengthened bonds that result from Colin’s and Michelle’s struggle with this radical lifestyle change.
New World Order is a behind the scenes look at the underground anti-globalist movement. This growing movement targets the annual Bilderberg conference, and the 9/11 attacks as focal points in the alleged global conspiracy.
Alex Jones, a celebrity radio host, and underground cult hero, is the main character of the film. The film chronicles Alex (of Waking Life and A Scanner Darkly), and four other conspiracy theorists, on their ceaseless quests to expose the ‘massive global conspiracy’ that they believe threatens the future of humanity.
The late civil rights attorney William Kunstler was one of the most famous and controversial lawyers of the 20th century. He represented civil rights and anti-war activists, as well as accused terrorists and murderers. In William Kunstler: Disturbing the Universe, filmmakers Emily Kunstler and Sarah Kunstler explore their father’s life, from middle-class family man, to movement lawyer, to the most hated lawyer in America.
This is the last film for the 2007-08 season – there will be no University encore screening for this film. Please stay tuned during the summer for the 2008-09 season schedule!
The Art Star and the Sudanese Twins explores an artist’s aspirations to adopt twins from a developing country. Filmmaker Pietra Brettkelly follows Vanessa Beecroft during a 16-month journey to Sudan. As the complexities of the international adoption become apparent, so do the risks to Beecroft’s marriage and her career.
WINNER, World Cinema Documentary Film Editing Award
– Sundance Film Festival 2008
NOMINEE, Grand Jury Prize, World Cinema Documentary
– Sundance Film Festival 2008
OFFICIAL SELECTION – Hot Docs Film Festival 2008 (more…)
Ticket prices: $15 Adult, $10 Students (Calgary Dollars accepted)
The Yes Men are globe-trotting theatre activists, famous for swapping Barbie/GI Joe voiceboxes and mocking the WTO on global television. On their first-ever visit to Calgary, The Yes Men will give a jaw-dropping two hour performance telling true stories that are stranger than fiction, and show hot-off-the-press video clips from their latest stunts. (more…)
DOUBLE SCREENING – Monday, June 12, 2006, 7:00 PM:
THE TWO CUBAS
English & Spanish with English subtitles
This contemporary documentary looks at the lives of two friends, both named Jose, as they deal with the ramifications of gay life in Cuba. Jose Louis works in the tourism industry and has aspirations of leaving his country for a more accepting nation, while his friend Jose Rodriguez, a professional dancer, has had many opportunities to leave Cuba but is determined to make a life for himself in his homeland.
Shot without permission from Cuban authorities, the film follows the two friends as they spend time partying and enjoying life in Havana’s gay scene, knowing that they may soon part ways. It is an exploration of life within a struggling minority, interwoven with the complexities of friendship and love.