Wakefield Doc Fest celebrates 10th anniversary with a month of film from around the world

A scene from the film A Delicate Balance which will be screened at the Wakefield Doc Fest.

There must be something in the water in Wakefield. The community nestled on the banks of the Gatineau River has a great writers festival, a strong commitment to community theatre, many resident artists and, of course, the venerable and venerated Black Sheep Inn.

And for the past decade, it has been home to the Wakefield Doc Fest which is celebrating 10 years of presenting a wide and growing range of documentary films from Canada and around world this year.

The first festival started upstairs at the Molos Café in a room that could hold 40. The 10th festival will feature five debut features by five different directors. There will be two Canadian premieres and films from as far away as New Zealand and Lithuania. This will all start on Feb. 2 and run every weekend though the month. Screenings will be at the Centre Wakefield La Pêche. Tickets: wakefielddocfest.ca and at the door.

Here is this year’s line-up

Metamorphosis. Photo: Jean-Paul Bourdier

Metamorphosis is directed by Velcrow Ripper and Nova Ami (Canada). It was released in 2018 and is 85 minutes long. It’s in English. Feb. 2 at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 3 at 1 p.m.

The film records the loss of one world and the birth of another. This hopeful film shows how a new sustainable world is emerging with  architects who design vertical forests in cities. Swimming pools become gardens. Solar panels are placed in poor neighbourhoods giving families cleaner energy.

The Ancient Woods is directed by Mindaugas Survila  (Lithuania/Estonia/Germany. It was released in 2018 and is 87 minutes long. Feb. 2 at 4 p.m. and Feb. 3 at 4 p.m.

The Ancient Woods was filmed in one of the last bits of old growth forest in Lithuania. The camera travels from forest thickets to wolf dens and a stork’s nest. There is no narration or music just the sounds of the forest. If a tree falls in this documentary, you would hear it. The film premiered at IDFA and has won awards for sound and cinematography, as well as best documentary.

Among Wolves is directed by Shawn Convey  (US/Germany/Bosnia-Herzegovina). It was released in 2017 and is  94 minutes long. (In Croatian with English subtitles). Feb. 9 at 7:30 p.m. and Feb. 10 at 1 p.m. This award winning film features a motorcycle club in Bosnia-Herzegovina made up of veterans of the civil war who have come together to heal themselves and their community.

A scene from Among Wolves.

Island of the Hungry Ghosts is directed by Gabrielle Brady  (Australia/Germany/UK). The 2018 film is  94 minutes long in English, Farsi, French, Mandarin, Hokkien, Cantonese with English subtitles. Feb. 9 at 4 p.m. Feb. 10 at 4 p.m. The award winning Island of the Hungry Ghosts takes the viewer to the Australian territory of Christmas Island. You see the migration of millions of crabs, meet a trauma therapist serving inmates at a prison camp on the island housing asylum seekers sent there by the Australian government and local islanders carry out their ‘hungry ghost’ rituals for people who have died on the island without a burial.

Yellow Is Forbidden is directed by Pietra Brettkelly  (New Zealand) The film was released in 2018. It’s 97 minutes long in   English, French and Mandarin with English subtitles. Feb. 16 at 7:30 p.m. and Feb. 17 at 1 p.m. New Zealand’s entry in this year’s Oscars follows the Chinese fashion designer Guo Pei, who is trying to become a member of the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture. And it all starts with a yellow dress.

Becoming Who I Was is directed by Moon Chang-Yong and Jin Jeon (South Korea). The film was released in 2018 and is 94 minutes long. In Ladhaki, Tibetan and Hindi with English subtitles. Feb. 16 at 4 p.m and Feb. 17 at 4 p.m. The film follows a young boy who is believed to be the reincarnation of a Tibetan monk as he tries to return to his monastery.

Sea of Life is directed by Julia Barnes  (Canada). The film was released in 2018 and is 88 minutes long. It is in English. Feb.  23 at 7:30 p.m. and Feb. 24 at 1 p.m. Filmed over three years in seven countries, Sea of Life features the destruction of ocean ecosystems along with the efforts to stop that devastation.

From the film Becoming Who I Was.

A Delicate Balance is directed by Christine Chevarie-Lessard  (Québec). The film was released in 2018. It’s 76 minutes in   French with English subtitles. Feb. 23 at 4 p.m. and Feb. 24 at 4 p.m. The film follows a group of young people trying to be the best at ballet.

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Peter Robb began his connection with the arts community in Ottawa in the mid-1980s when he was the administrator and public relations director of the Great Canadian Theatre Company. After a long career in journalism with the Ottawa Citizen where he served in a number of different posts he returned to the arts when he became the Citizen's arts editor.