This year, Belleville Downtown DocFest will be hosting a full three days of exciting films and events.
We are looking forward to our opening and closing gala evenings and will let you in on more details as we confirm them. Take a look at the summary of last year’s events to get an idea of what to expect:
Featuring Music From the Big House followed by a live performance by Canadian blues legend, Rita Chiarelli
Watch the video – Rita Chiarelli performs ‘These Four Walls’ – a song she wrote for the film which is on the soundtrack, performed in January at the Maple Blues Awards.
Watch the video – Rita Chiarelli performs “Rest My Bones’ -which is featured in the film where she teaches the inmates the tune in the prison yard.
Belleville’s first International Documentary Film Festival, Downtown DocFest, celebrated the two-day festival with an Opening Gala at The Empire Theatre on March 2, 2012 at 7 pm. featuring the award-winning film, Music from the Big House. The screening was followed by a live performance by three-time Maple Blues Awards nominee, Rita Chiarelli. The gala evening was presented by Belleville based law firm, Pretsell Cavanaugh Davies.
Music from the Big House has been called a rare and exclusive musical journey. A little bit more than a decade ago, Chiarelli, armed with a six-string and a bluesy, window-rattling voice, set out on a pilgrimage to visit the birthplace of the blues. It brought her to the Louisiana State Maximum Security Penitentiary, a.k.a. Angola Prison, where she made a discovery, “There’s incredible music coming out of this place.”
She never imagined that her love of the blues would lead her to an historic jail house performance alongside inmates serving life sentences for murder, rape, and armed robbery.
Canadian director Bruce McDonald chronicles her attempts to arrange a prison concert with this array of men with beautiful voices and ugly pasts. Music from the Big House ends up being a wonderful testament of the power of music, but more than that, it’s a moving and unforgettable exploration of forgiveness and humanity.
Downtown DocFest Gala was sponsored by
Two days of outstanding films that celebrate life and human dignity around the world and right here at home
Saturday, March 3 @ 7:30 pm
The CORE Centre
Followed by a Q & A with filmmakers Paul Culliton and Brendon Culliton.
He was 22 years-old, young and full of life, a son, a brother, a boyfriend. Trooper Marc Diab was the ‘everyman’ Canadian Soldier doing his duty in Afghanistan, excited to serve there with his comrades in arms. Trooper Diab was a new generation of soldier, carrying his video camera with him always, showing his friends and family what he was experiencing first hand. Not a journalist presenting the war through an objective lens, but a soldier, telling the story as he saw it, through the lens of a young man who was coming of age in the social media generation.
In March of 2009, Trooper Diab of the Royal Canadian Dragoons was killed, just three weeks before he was to return home, when his vehicle struck an improvised explosive device. If I Should Fall: A True Story of the Afghan War Experience, tells Marc Diab’s story.
Producer Paul Culliton and director Brendon Culliton were at the screening. Special guests Chief of the Defence Staff General Walter Natynczyk, Mrs Natynczyk and members of the Diab family also attended.
If I Should Fall is a not-for-profit project with all proceeds from the DVD sales going to the Military Family Fund and the Marc Diab Children’s Fund. For more information visit www.ifishouldfall.com.
Downtown DocFest is co-sponsored by the World Community Development Education Society
Below the Line at the CORE
Artists Below the Line, a newly formed group of artists whose mission is to provide financial and other support to fellow artists of limited means, displayed their work in the art gallery at the CORE Centre during Downtown DocFest. The show opened on February 29 and ran for two weeks.
Photojournalism Exhibit at the Library
One Day on Earth – 11.11.11
On November 11, 2011, Loyalist College students joined photographers and documentary filmmakers across the globe to record stories in their communities. These photographs were on display during Downtown DocFest in the John M. Parrott Art Gallery at the Belleville Public Library, and contributed to the second annual One Day on Earth.
Founded in 2008, One Day on Earth’s first event occurred on 10.10.10.