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Canadian docs at Thessaloniki Documentary Festival

The 10th Thessaloniki Documentary Festival – Images of the 21st Century celebrates its 10th anniversary and its strong, long-standing relationship with the Canadian documentary industry, which was instigated in 2000 at the 2nd TDF with the Canadian Focus section. This year, as every year since its inception, the TDF will showcase a significant number of new Canadian documentaries and a delegation of Canadian film directors, producers, distributors and journalists will attend the Festival.

To mark the occasion, the Museum of Photography will host the Rebuilding Afghanistan photography exhibition, organized under the auspices of the Canadian Embassy. The exhibition, comprised of 19 photos, offers a striking documentation of the reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan organized by the Canadian Government as part of a NATO-led, UN-sanctioned mission guided by the five-year Afghanistan Compact plan (more information on http://www.canada-afghanistan.gc.ca).

The seven Canadian documentaries in the 10th TDF include projects from several of the Festival’s program sections. The films are the following:

Mr. Big (2007, Human Rights – Social Issues) by Tiffany Burns is the director’s personal story concerning her brother’s murder conviction, as well as her search into the dubious political procedure referred to as “Mr. Big”, the Royal Canadian Mountain Police’s undercover technique during which the police pose as criminals in order to seek (or force) confessions for unsolved crimes.
Saving Luna (2007, Habitat) by Suzanne Chisholm and Michael Parfit (a husband-and-wife team with their own production company) is a film about a lone baby orca whale that has lost her family on the West Coast of Vancouver Island. The filmmakers shot footage for 3 years during which Luna, devoid of kin of her own species, achieved an astonishing degree of contact with the human inhabitants of the area.
She’s a Boy I Knew (2007, Portraits: Human Journeys) by Gwen Haworth is the chronicle of the director’s own transformation from a man to a woman and the impact of this change on her parents, wife, sister and friends (People’s Choice Award for Most Popular Canadian Film, Women in Film & Television Vancouver Artistic Merit Award).
Sous la Cagoule: Un Voyage au Bout de la Torture (Under the Hood: a Voyage Into the World of Torture, 2007, Human Rights – Social Issues) by Patricio Henriquez, a Chilean journalist who moved to Canada after Pinochet’s coup d’ etat, traces the lives of those who have been illegally tortured after the 11th of September events signalled the war against terrorism.
Territoires (Territories, 2007, Human Rights – Social Issues) by Mary Ellen Davis is a documentary about photographer Larry Towell. A poet, writer, musician, sound designer and video artist, Lowell is the sole Canadian member of the prestigious Magnum photo agency. He has travelled all over the planet, capturing the lives of the Hurricane Katrina victims, the Mexican Mennonites, the Palestinians; he has published several books and is the recipient of the Henri Cartier-Bresson Award (2003).
The Suicide Tourist (2007, Stories to Tell) by John Zaritsky. The director of The Suicide Tourist, who won an Oscar in 1982 for Just Another Missing Kid, tracks the progress of two couples as they seek the help of Dignitas, a Swiss organization providing assisted suicide (euthanasia is legal in Switzerland, but Dignitas is the only agency that extends the option to foreigners). The film has sparked much controversy, since one of the main characters, Craig Ewert, dies on camera with the help of a Dignitas aide.
Up the Yangtze (2007, Views of the World) by Yung Chang, a Chinese-Canadian filmmaker, studies the effects of the construction of the Three Gorges Dam on the Yangtze River in China. The dam is destined to become the largest hydroelectric power station in the world, requiring the displacement of millions of inhabitants in the process. Viewed through the story of two young residents of the Yangtze area, the building of the dam serves as a symbol of China’s economic miracle –and its consequences.



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