Movies inspiring local change

Film buffs can view a series of compelling documentaries this week examining hot topics in social and environmental issues.

The Projecting Change Film Festival runs from April 22 to 25 at the Fifth Avenue Cinemas in Vancouver. Guest speakers will host discussions with the audience after each screening.

Colette Gunson is the festival’s executive director. Prior to this she worked in public relations for film clients, most notably for locally-produced The Corporation in 2003.

“We bring films from all over the world and we bring in local speakers to talk about what they can do in their homes,” she said about about the reasons for having speakers and a discussion following each film showing.

“When the festival was founded, it wanted to engage the community around issues,” said Gunson. “[After] the audience’s attention is captivated…it’s shame to let all that energy go at the end. Part of creating community engagement is to get people talking about [the films].”

Gunson said, as a small film festival, they are very excited to be having the world premiere of the film of Water on the Table. She said the film looks at whether water is a commercial good like Coca-Cola or a human right like air. It explores Canada’s relationship to its freshwater by shadowing world-renowned Canadian advocate Maude Barlow on her 2008-2009 road trip for the United Nations. Director Liz Marshall from Toronto will be in attendance at the opening.

At the festival’s closing night gala, David Suzuki, Captain Paul Watson and director Ron Colby will speak following the showing of Pirate of the Sea. This film is an autobiographical look at Watson’s long and controversial career of marine conservation as well as his current campaigns with his Sea Shepard Conservation Society.

“I hope audiences come away slightly more inspired and feeling optimistic about…pressing social and environmental issues and have some ideas about positive change they can make,” Gunson said.

Other slated films include the Canadian premiere of Carbon Nation looking at solutions—what people are already doing to combat climate change, what nations could be doing and what the world needs to act on. Fresh offers a practical vision for the future of food by interviewing farmers, thinkers and business people across America who are re-inventing the food system. H2Oil examines the campaign to defend water in Alberta against tar sands expansion.

Last year’s festival sold out shows every night. Tickets are $12 for most films and are available online or at the cinema. For complete film information, see

About Kerry Hall

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