• No categories

Local Films on Display at Second Annual Downtown DocFest

Expanded lineup features international greats alongside several Ontario films

Belleville, Ontario, Feb. xx, 2013 – Belleville Downtown DocFest’s International Documentary Film Festival is now expanded and is showing over 45 films over three days from March 1 – 3. The festival presents outstanding international, Canadian and local films that celebrate life and human dignity around the world and right here at home. Screenings will take place at The Empire Theatre, the CORE Centre and Belleville Public Library.


The Friday night Opening Gala, sponsored by Pretsell Cavanagh Davies Lawyers in Belleville, will feature the Academy Award-nominated documentary Searching for Sugar Man, directed by Malik Bendjelloul. The film is a portrait of elusive and forgotten Detroit musical pioneer Sixto Rodriguez whose protest music, unbeknownst to him, found cult status with the anti-apartheid movement in 1970s South Africa. Special guest, Toronto singer-songwriter Jason Collett will perform following the film, including music from his fifth solo album, Reckon.


Saturday will showcase several films with local ties. DocFest is proud to present the premiere of The Scene: An Exploration of Music in Toronto, by filmmaker Josh Jensen, who was raised in Belleville. The documentary chronicles the lives of independent musicians as they build their careers in the Canadian music industry. The film includes interviews with singer Bif Naked and musician Rik Emmett from Triumph. A Q&A session will follow the screening.


Norman Lofts’ One Calm Hour is the story of Canadian TV and film composer Nicholas Stirling who leads drumming workshops for schizophrenic patients at the Toronto Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. The clients are taken away from the burdens of their illness during the one hour workshops and it allows them to socialize and even have some fun.


Returning to DocFest is the Faces of Cancer series, from Belleville photojournalist Michael Brethour.  Faces of Cancer 2013 is the second of a ten part series telling the real life stories of 13 people in the Hastings and Prince Edward community who fought cancer. This film follows Faces of Cancer 2012 which was shown at last year’s festival.


Saturday evening features more local filmmakers, with the screening of four short documentaries: Speak to Me, by Joel George; Saving Mothers  and Damned Rascal, both by Doug Knutson; and  Mladic, Srebrenica and Justice, by Darko Zeljkovic. The evening will continue with a screening of Velcrow Ripper’s Occupy Love. The Genie Award-winning director is scheduled to be in attendance for a Q&A following the screening and will host a workshop on Sunday morning.


Sunday’s lineup includes Samsara, directed by Ron Fricke, which originally premiered at the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival. It is a cross between a documentary and a travelogue and was filmed over four years in 25 countries. Samsara seeks to explore our world, from the mundane to the miraculous and to take a unique look at the human experience.


Also on Sunday is the Harry Belafonte documentary, Susanne Rostock’s Sing Your Song. The film is a biopic that shows Belafonte’s life from childhood to becoming a great entertainer and an activist in the Civil Rights movement. Sing Your Song won the audience voted ‘Most Popular Nonfiction Film Award’ at the 2011 Vancouver International Film Festival.


Festival Passes for Belleville International Documentary Film Festival and tickets for Friday’s Opening Gala are available through The Empire Theatre box office, online at theempiretheatre.com or by phone at 613-969-0099. Visit www.downtowndocfest.ca for a list of the other outlets in and around the Quinte area that are selling tickets.


Funding for DocFest has been provided by the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario, Quinte Film Alternative and United Way of Quinte with sponsorship of the Opening Gala on Friday, March 1st from Pretsell Cavanagh Davies Lawyers.


Complete film selection and scheduling is posted at www.downtowndocfest.ca. Also, to keep up to date with all of the latest developments leading in to the festival, find DocFest on Facebook and follow on Twitter @DowntownDocFest. For further information, call Gary at 63-849-1976, or email info@downtowndocfest.ca.