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Just Film Fest: the province’s largest social film festival

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One River, Many Relations trailer

B.C.’s largest social film festival is coming to Vancouver from March 20-22

Amnesty International, CoDevelopment Canada and Village Vancouver in partnership with Langara College Continuing Stud­ies as they present BC’s largest social justice film festival showcasing 35+ social justice and envi­ronmental documentaries that go to the heart of issues confronting communities here and around the globe, according to a Just Film media release.

The film festival kicks off Thursday March 19 at 7 p.m. with a special gala presentation of an important new documentary, One River, Many Re­lations which gives voice to the indigenous com­munities who live downstream from the Alberta oil sands. This Canadian premiere at East Vancouver’s Rio Theatre will have the filmmakers in attendance and a discussion afterward.

Produced in partnership with Mikisew Cree First Nation and Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation, One River, Many Relations explores the Athabasca tar sands from a marginalized and often silence perspective: communities that live downstream. Fort Chipewyan, Alberta, is well known as a community that is fighting against the pollution from resource extraction. Despite the many documentaries that have been produced about the tar sands, Fort Chip has been just a small voice amidst the cries of celebrities, scientists and politicians. This documentary is a collaborative, community effort of 33 interviews with local Cree, Dene and Metis members from Fort Chipewyan. It gets to the heart of their concerns for their families, traditional ways and territories as the tar sands encroach closer and closer.

On Friday March 20 at Langara College the festival hosts the Vancouver premiere of Resisten­cia: The Fight for the Aguan Valley tells the extraordinary story of how Honduran farming com­munities staged dramatic resistance to the 2009 military coup.

“Our festival uses activist documentary film to educate our audiences about pressing issues and our hope is to also inspire them to act for change,” said festival coordinator Erin Mullan. “This event is an opportunity to help break down the isolation that can come with our digital society. At the Just Film Fest people can come together to watch and discuss these powerful films, something that can help build a sense of community and possibility.”

The Saturday and Sunday daytime programs feature themes including environmental activism, Latin America and women’s stories with an­other five films seeing their first ever Vancouver screening. On March 20 Amnesty International is presenting four films under the theme of Global Justice and Village Vancouver presents the always-popular Food and Farming series over both days. The festival also hosts a Social Justice Bazaar with 20 community groups and activist organizations offering information and fairly traded goods. The festival keeps its ticket prices low, with discounts for students and low-income people, in order to make it affordable for everyone.

“This year’s festival features a number of very positive films where we see individuals and communities working together to achieve major personal and political victories,” says Mullan. “So much of what we see in the news is so dis­heartening – this is a chance to see the positive and the possible.”

Formerly known as the Vancouver World Community Film Festival, The Just Film Festival is part of the Travelling World Community Film Festival, which brings activist documentary to a dozen Canadian communities.

For the full festival schedule, film descriptions and ticket information click here.

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