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Justice4Reel

The Justice4Reel Film Festival, where powerful stories converge to ignite conversations, inspire change, and foster a collective commitment to justice and equality. This unique festival showcases a curated selection of films that delve into pressing social issues, challenge perspectives, and amplify the voices of underprivileged communities.

 

Our festival invites you to explore the complexities of the human experience. From documentaries that expose systemic inequalities to gripping dramas that portray personal struggles for justice, each film serves as a catalyst for reflection and dialogue.

Join us on a cinematic journey that transcends borders, ideologies, and backgrounds. As we celebrate the art of storytelling, we recognize its potential to drive social change. Our festival is more than a series of screenings; it is a platform for empathy, understanding, and advocacy.

 

Through post-screening discussions, Q&A sessions, and engaging panels, we will provide an inclusive space for dialogue. Attendees are encouraged to share their thoughts, ask questions, and connect with like-minded individuals passionate about creating a more just and equitable world.

 

At the Justice4Reel Film Festival, we believe in the transformative power of cinema to spark awareness and action. Come be a part of this immersive experience, where cinema becomes a force for social progress, inspiring us all to contribute to a world that values security, freedom, justice and dignity for every voice.

NOTE: Unless otherwise specified, all films are screened online.

DAY 1: INDIGENOUS

Wochiigii Io: End of the Peace

Heather Hatch/Reel Girls Media

Dec 1, 2023

11:00 am - 12:30 pm

 

Wochiigii lo: End of the Peace follows the struggles of Diane Abel and Chief Roland Willson of West Moberly First Nations as they battle the BC government against the construction of a multi-billion-dollar mega-dam along the Peace River (commonly known as Site C Dam). If constructed, it will give way to the extinction of their people’s culture by destroying the land and water they have occupied for over 13,000 years. While crown corporations and political parties collude against their traditional way of life, the desire to fight for their nation is embedded in these two resilient individuals.

Lana Gets Her Talk

Wishmac Productions

Dec 1, 2023

2:00 pm - 3:30 pm

 

An observation of Cree artist Lana Whiskeyjack as she works to complete a mixed-media sculpture of a tortured face, the face of her uncle. Lana calls the piece “Lost My Talk”. This brief study of an artist and her work helps us come to some understanding of the trauma experienced by Canada’s Indigenous people in the Indian Residential School system, of its enduring effects on the children of survivors of the IRS, and of one woman’s journey to recover what was lost: dignity, identity, and voice. A story of resilience, Lana’s journey speaks of the power of Indigenous “ways of being” in our time.

We Were Taken: Healing Journeys of 60s Scoop Survivors

Sixties Scoop Indigenous Association of Alberta

InDigital Media

Dec 1, 2023

5:00 pm - 6:30 pm

 

We Were Taken invites the audience into the lives of Indigenous individuals removed from their families at a young age and placed within adoptive homes. This film turns a tender eye to the processes of understanding and grieving, and gives voice to those in the process of healing and re-understanding themselves and their places within multiple cultures.

Re-Ken-Si-Le-A-Shen

Jamie Bourque

Dec 1, 2023

7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Two-spirit Métis filmmaker Jamie Bourque-Blyan connects with other survivors of international conquest and colonization to explore how other countries have engaged in the process of reconciliation, and how these approaches to healing might be applies in so-called Canada.

DAY 2: ANTI-RACISM

Al-Rashid: The Story of Canada's First Mosque

Reel Girls Media

Dec 2, 2023

10:30 am - 12:00 pm

 

Al Rashid: The Story of Canada's First Mosque tells the relatively unknown story of Alberta's early Muslim pioneers and how their historical contribution - the Al Rashid Mosque - has touched and influenced the lives of three generations of Muslims living in Edmonton.

Black Lives In Alberta: Over a Century of Racial Injustice Continues

Shiloh Centre for Multicultural Roots

Dec 2, 2023

In-person film screening

 

Black Lives in Alberta: Over a Century of Racial Injustice Continues tells the story of five generations of Black Albertans and their experiences of discrimination living on the Canadian Prairies. Descendants of a large wave of African American immigrants who moved to Alberta and Saskatchewan in the early 20th Century to escape racism and persecution in the United States candidly share their family histories and discuss how their racial identities have shaped their experiences of living in Alberta.

The Final Exam

Wishmac Productions

Screening and Discussion hosted by the Intercultural Dialogue Institute

Dec 2, 2023

2:00 pm - 3:30 pm

 

Set in 1998 Turkey, The Final Exam is a classroom drama based on actual events. Upholding new academic policy, a university professor tells a devout young Muslim woman to remove her headscarf in order to write a final exam.  Seeing her distress, the young man beside her finds a “strategic” way to guard her privacy. (2020/11:23/Turkish with English Subtitles)

DIRECTORS’ STATEMENT: The Final Exam is a creative response to the passing of Bill 21 in the province of Québec in Canada, legislation that prohibits public servants in positions of authority from wearing religious symbols while on duty. This short classroom drama speaks powerfully to systemic injustice and the undermining of religious rights, personal rights, and women’s rights around the world.

Alberta: Growing Up Black

In person event 

Shiloh Centre for Multicultural Roots

Dec 2, 2023

2:00 pm to 3:30 pm

 

The mini documentary Alberta: Growing up Black was produced out of the need to create relevant educational material that includes the historical presence of the black community in the development of Alberta since its beginnings in 1905 and stimulate dialogue addressing the roots and present-day existence of anti-black racism here in Alberta. The subject matter was presented through the lens of 21st century descendants of African American Western Canadians whose families immigrated several years ago from the post slavery United States.

DAY 3: MIGRANT WORKERS

Precarity

1844 Studios

With Guest Dr. Aaraón Díaz Mendiburo

December 03, 2023

10:30 am - 12:00 pm

 

Precarity is a short documentary exploring the experience of Temporary Foreign Workers in Alberta, Canada, produced by 1844 Studios. Based on the research conducted by Dr. Bukola Salami (Faculty of Nursing, University of Alberta).

The Interceptors

Story Money Impact

December 03, 2023

12:30 pm - 1:30 pm

 

The Interceptors follows the story of a new community driven, technology enabled network with the goal of reducing food waste and nourishing the Vancouver community. The film follows first generation Filipino-Canadian Chef TJ Conwi as he turns a mountain of food waste collected by Vancouver Food Runners into delicious meals which are distributed to the food insecure.

Long Road to Peace

RaricaNow!

December 03, 2023

2:00 pm - 3:30 pm

 

In 2017, a compelling documentary called A Long Road To Peace was produced, showcasing the stories and experiences of six 2SLGBTIQ+ refugees and newcomers. Directed and produced by local filmmaker Katie Cutting, it chronicles the stories of refugees who have made their home in Alberta's capital.Through their narratives, the aim was to inspire and promote knowledge-sharing within the community while addressing the existing gaps in the system especially for 2SLGBTIQ+ refugees. Through the efforts and collaboration of Lazy Kitten Production and Adebayo Katiiti, this extraordinary and transforrmative documentary shines light on the reality that many are faced with when coming to Canada and has the potential to change lives.

DAY 5: 2STQLGBIA+

Finding Bobbi

Reel GIrls Media

December 04, 2023

2:00 pm - 3:30 pm

Finding Bobbi is a feature-length documentary about Canadian actor Bobbi Charlton’s long, courageous journey through gender dysphoria. After half a life in the wrong body, Bobbi (formerly known as Robert) transitioned from male to female at the age of 53 in 2010. This transgender woman’s incredible story is funny, heartbreaking and ultimately life-affirming. It chronicles her experiences as a child, adolescent and adult struggling to understand and express who she really was at a time when there was no real acceptance of transgender people in mainstream culture. The film follows her return to the stage after a 23 year absence, playing Aunt Eller in a gender-bending production of the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic Oklahoma! at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.

DAY 6: GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE

The Secret Society: Criminalization of Assisted Reproduction

Story Money Impact

December 6, 2023

10:30 pm - 12:00 pm

The Secret Society shines light on the complex and criminalized world of assisted reproduction in Canada: the couples desperately searching for human eggs to fertilize with sperm, the women willing to donate their eggs, and professionals who support both. Complicating the already  stressful and stigmatized world of infertility,  Canadian law criminalizes payment for donated eggs. These laws perpetuate the secrecy surrounding egg donation and create a bizarrely complex world of assisted reproduction.

Break the Hate

1844 Studios

December 6, 2023

2:00 pm - 2:30 pm

Break the Hate is a 22-minute documentary film which follows a youth-led initiative in Edmonton called “Don’t Click”, aimed at understanding where youth encounter hate speech online. In the documentary they take measures into their own hands to combat online hate speech. These young leaders are inspirational in their bravery and determination. The extent of the problem of hate speech online is astonishing and the film plays a part in shedding some light on this issue and making youth feel like they are not so alone in their challenge with it.

DAY 7: INCARCERATION

Love In the Time of Fentanyl

Story Money Impact

December 7, 2023

7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

A middle-aged man overdoses on a sidewalk in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside neighbourhood, just steps from the front door of the Overdose Prevention Society where OPS staff respond with naloxone and oxygen to save his life. As illicit fentanyl began showing up in the drug supply in 2013, deaths began to skyrocket. By April of 2016, the provincial health officer declared a state of emergency. This was felt most widely in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, where injection drug use is most concentrated and where community efforts are most mobilized, innovative, and adaptive. Love in the Time of Fentanyl is an intimate portrait of a community fighting to save each other’s lives in the midst of a public health crisis. OPS founder Sarah Blyth says she does this work because “no one could justify having a person overdose in front of them and do nothing about it.” Could you?

DAY 8: POVERTY

Food Dignity and Disability

Self Advocacy Federation/Keri McEachern

December 8, 2023

12:30 pm - 1:30 pm

This documentary illustrates the injustice people living on AISH and income supports face regarding food dignity.

Justice4Reel Panel: Shaping the World Through Cinema

John Humphrey Centre for Peace and Human Rights 

December 8, 2023

2:00 pm - 3:30 pm

In a world connected by visual storytelling, film has become a powerful tool for raising awareness, sparking dialogue, and igniting action. This discussion panel of industry experts, award-winning filmmakers, and passionate advocates will share their experiences and insights into how they have harnessed the art of film making to address vital social issues, challenge the status quo, and drive positive transformation at a local level. Whether you create films, fight for change, study, or just love movies, this panel is a place for meaningful insights and vibrant conversations. Attend, let's discover how cinema can drive social change.

Moderator: Nexi Alarcon

Panelists:

  • Heather Hatch

  • Nauzanin Knight

  • Scot Morison

  • Anthony Truong Swan

Nékem: To Change Something

John Humphrey Centre for Peace and Human Rights 

December 9, 2023

7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

To Change Something tells the story of the emergence of a grassroots outreach group led by the late Vee Duncan. The film explores impacts of intergenerational trauma and reflects on Indigenous led approaches to addressing homelessness and poverty. 

Join the Nékem team to reflect on the film, the work of the organization, and pathways forward in building a future where all are included and live in dignity.

DAY 9: ANTI-CORRUPTION

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We thank the Edmonton Arts Council for their support of Justice4Reel.

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