Debbie Baptiste and Jade Tootoosis at the United Nations in a scene from ‘nîpawistamâsowin: We Will Stand Up’. (Submitted)

UPDATE: Film festival cancelled this weekend at Providence Farm

The event was to be held Friday, March 13 to Sunday, March 15. Organizers are hoping to reschedule.

Update: this event has been cancelled due to COVID-19 concerns.

The National Film Board of Canada is bringing six productions to Duncan this weekend.

The films will be showcased as part of the Traveling World Community Film Festival and the event is being held in the chapel at Providence Farm from Friday, March 13 to Sunday, March 15.

The festival will be hosted by the Cowichan Valley Film Society, a group of six people with a passion for documentary films.

“We are a small group of dedicated volunteers who love documentaries and work hard to share these amazing stories with the community,” says Penny Lehan.

“The films are both informative and inspiring and the themes are generally social justice and environmental issues.”

The films being screened this weekend are:

The Whale And The Raven: an immersive, feature-length documentary about settler and Indigenous whale watchers in Northern B.C.

Assholes: A Theory: John Walker’s comedic film essay about the rise of rude behaviour online and in real life. Based on the bestselling book by Aaron James, the film features John Cleese as well as former RCMP officer Sherry Lee Benson-Podolchuk.

nîpawistamâsowin: We Will Stand Up: Dr. Tasha Hubbard’s multiple award-winning documentary about Colten Boushie’s family’s quest for justice in the legal system.

Beauty: The short documentary following five gender-creative youth will be followed by a panel discussion centred on LGBTQ+ issues in the Cowichan Valley.

Way Of The Hunter is a short documentary following former hunter Robert Moberg and eco-wilderness guide Mike Willie of the Musgamakw Dzawada’enuxw First Nation on a trek through the Great Bear Rainforest.

This is the seventh year for the Festival in Duncan which was held previously at VIU in the fall.

“We have made the festival free to those 18 and under and eventually we hope to make it free to all by perhaps applying for a grant in the future,” Lehan adds. “This has been a very grassroots endeavour so far.”

Topics include fair trade and the impact of food fads on farmers, the killing of Colten Boushie and First Nations discrimination in the court system, environmental consequences of fast fashion, the fight for wild salmon, a papal decree as the source of colonialism, Nanaimo’s community garden story, Mexican farmers protecting Monarch butterfly habitat, cultural education in Alert Bay Elementary School, the impact of the Kitimat LNG plant on whales, gender fluid kids, climate change solutions, and a lighthearted examination of why assholes succeed.

Two of the documentaries that have been challenging audiences and dealing with controversial issues are Beauty and nîpawistamâsowin: We Will Stand Up

In a world of fixed positions and prescribed roles, expanding the definition of gender requires the courage to dive deep into understanding and acceptance.

Christina Willings’ documentary, Beauty, explores the lives of five gender-creative kids, each uniquely engaged in shaping their ideas of what it means to be fully human. Claiming your own sense of gender when everything around you insists that you comply and conform can be challenging, and sometimes scary. But luckily, family and friends are there to help.

Free-flowing animated elements, ranging from images of octopuses to astronauts, draw together the kids’ shared experiences in beautifully rendered fantasias that celebrate the power of imagination and the flourishing force of self-determination. Playful, goofy, loving and brave — each of these remarkable kids has found their own way to break free and show the world what it really means to be your true self.

On Aug. 9, 2016, a young Cree man named Colten Boushie died from a gunshot to the back of his head after entering Gerald Stanley’s rural Saskatchewan property with his friends.

The jury’s subsequent acquittal of Stanley captured international attention, raising questions about racism embedded within Canada’s legal system and propelling Colten’s family to national and international stages in their pursuit of justice.

Sensitively directed by Tasha Hubbard, nîpawistamâsowin: We Will Stand Up weaves a profound narrative encompassing the filmmaker’s own adoption, the stark history of colonialism on the Prairies, and a vision of a future where Indigenous children can live safely on their homelands.

Screening times are Friday, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday, 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., with doors opening 20 minutes before the first screening each day.

Volunteers will operate a concession in the Providence dining room throughout the Festival, offering homemade soups, buns, dahl and rice, muffins, cookies and other treats, as well as coffee, tea and cold beverages — cash only. You are asked to bring your own beverage mug.

On Friday, admission is free to all. Two-day Saturday and Sunday Festival passes are $15, single day passes are $10. Tickets are available at the door throughout the Festival — cash only.

For the full schedule, film descriptions and trailers visit www.cowichanvalleyfilm.ca

Cowichan Valley Citizen

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