Intense weekend ahead for Penticton documentary fans

Mandy Leith shows off her 1991 Volkswagen Westfalia van, the Doc Bus, which she used to visit documentary filmmakers across the country this summer. - Submitted
Mandy Leith shows off her 1991 Volkswagen Westfalia van, the Doc Bus, which she used to visit documentary filmmakers across the country this summer.
— image credit: Submitted

This promises to be an intense weekend for fans of documentaries at the We Love Documentary film festival, with three days of award-winning films and in-depth discussions.

This is the second annual We Love Documentary presented by the Okanagan School of the Arts at the Shatford Centre from Oct. 11 to 13, featuring internationally known filmmaker Pepita Ferrari, national chair of the Documentary Organization of Canada, along with other special guests.

“This is a wonderful festival celebrating an art form that not only entertains and inspires but also informs the audience,” said Jane Shaak, executive director of the OSA and Shatford Centre. “We are proud to host this event at the Shatford Centre, where we can watch some excellent films and hear from leading figures in the field of documentary.”

Mandy Leith, founder of MediaRising.tv and OpenCinema, is also joining the festival and giving an opening address on Friday night regarding her recently completed Get on the Doc Bus tour of Canada.

“I really wanted to find out who is doing similar things across Canada and see if the idea of what I am developing, loosely calling it a cross-Canada cinema network, would be of value to other presentation and exhibition initiatives across the country,” said Leith, explaining that documentary filmmaking in Canada is facing a crisis as funding and distribution models have changed. “This is one initiative to try and develop new strategies and models and ideas for documentary.

The Doc Bus itself won’t be coming with Mandy; it’s being driven back from St. John’s, Nfld.

“I got all the way to Mile Zero, St. Johns Newfoundland, from Mile Zero, Victoria B.C.,” said Leith. Visiting the Shatford this weekend, though, completes the circle in a couple of ways for Leith. Not only did she help inspire the festival along with Ferrari, but Penticton was the first stop on the Doc Bus tour.

“The whole concept of We Love Documentary was initiated by Pepita Ferrari and myself through the Documentary Organization. We did a campaign to develop audience awareness about documentaries,” said Leith.

“It’s sort of beautiful to end up there this fall to take it forward, because the Shatford Centre has just run with the idea and turned it into this festival, which is a great partnership on all sides.”

Ferrari is joining Leith on Sunday for a special discussion, The State of Documentary, on Oct. 13 at 1 p.m.

The opening film of the Festival, Muscle Shoals, will be shown tonight at 7:15 p.m. Directed by Greg Camalier, the film recounts the story of the FAME music studio in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. Overcoming poverty and racial hostility, its founder, Rick Hall, created a music studio which was the birthplace of the most iconic and resonant songs of all time. Featuring contributions from Mick Jagger, Aretha Franklin, Alicia Keys, and Bono the film tells the stories behind the success of some of music’s greatest artists.

Fresh off her third year of putting together the highly praised program of the Eastern Townships Film Festival in Quebec, Ferrari has curated a selection that will appeal to different interest groups in the area. Other films shown in the festival include Aging and Laughter, Rivers and Tides, Marina Abramovic: The Artist is Present, and Living Downstream. Tickets for the festival are $10 per film or $35 for the weekend and can be purchased at the Shatford Centre.


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