Doc Days Ahead

Cinema Politica Returns to Concordia

  • Cinema Politica’s The End of Immigration? by Marie Boti and Malcolm Guy

British climate change activists, Syrian refugees, temporary immigrant workers in Canada and student strikers in Croatia. The people getting their stories told during this semester’s Cinema Politica are a truly diverse group.

Since its founding in 2003 by Svetla Turnin and Ezra Winton, Cinema Politica has been dedicated to bringing a plethora of documentaries to Concordia. This semester, the docs being screened will explore the themes of memory, movement and mobilization.

The aim of the doc network is to educate and raise awareness about issues as diverse as environment, social justice and economic issues. But it is also to touch upon topics that are sometimes purposely ignored by the mainstream media, explains Turnin.

“The films that we screen are definitely marginalized. They often don’t get commercial release and are hard to access anywhere else,” said Turnin. “We like to call ourselves an alternative exhibition venue for political documentary film.”

Screenings are followed by discussions and debates. The group regularly organizes small doc festivals to provoke discussion on specific issues.

“Part of our mandate is to connect the worlds of documentary films, audiences and activism,” said Turnin.

Cinema Politica’s fall semester screenings kicked off Oct. 1, and will continue Monday nights throughout the school year. Currently, the lineup is set to include docs on everything from feminist art collectives to Croatian student activism, tyranny and censorship to the recycling of electronics.

The End of Immigration?
by Marie Boti and Malcolm Guy

Is Canada still the great land of refuge?

That is the question that the directors Marie Boti and Malcolm Guy investigate in The End of Immigration?

Boti and Guy, themselves children of immigrant workers, were drawn into the project when they started hearing stories about Costa Rican workers employed by transit services during the Vancouver Olympic Games.

“They were being paid half what the other workers were receiving,” said Guy. “They were living in substandard housing. Actually, they had started work earning only $3.50 an hour.

“Then other stories started to come up. Thai workers in a fish factory in Ontario were being charged up to ten thousand dollars to work. Not only that but they were facing sexual harassment, racial discrimination and exploitation.”

This new category of temporary foreign workers is a result of new immigration rules implemented in 2003. In 2009, there were more of these temporary foreign workers coming into Canada than regular immigrants.

This shift in immigration policies has devastating effects for those workers but also for the society that becomes divided.

“There are people living here with rights, and those other people working here with none. It creates this two-tier society that was not the case when my parents immigrated here.”
Immigration not that long ago was also about integration into the Canadian society, becoming a citizen, raising a family. Circumstances now are totally different, with immigrant workers that are often separated from their families for a long time.

“Workers are no longer able to establish themselves in Canada. There is an elitist immigration policy that only allows people with money or a certain level of education to get in.

“It looks like immigration as we know it in Canada is coming to an end. Now, we use workers to release them when they’re used and done. And is it really the kind of country we want to have?”

The End of Immigration? / Oct. 15 / Hall Building (1455 de Maisonneuve Blvd. W., H-110) / 7:00 p.m.

The Carbon Rush
by Amy Miller

The Carbon Rush explores the dark side of carbon credits.

Carbon-credits are tradable units that represent a certain amount of carbon dioxide that can be released in the atmosphere. This legislation created carbon markets in industries that exceeded their gas emissions quotas—companies began buying and selling credits and investing in “carbon projects.”

But this seemingly ideal solution to regulate gas emissions is a fallacy for director Amy Miller, who argues that these are only false solutions to the problem.

“What we actually see is that it doesn’t reduce gas emissions, and actually has a really harmful impact for people who are living along with those projects,” said Miller. “Their land
is being stolen, men are being killed and their way of life is being destroyed.

“The problem cannot be the solution. If the problem is industrial capitalism, then we can’t use a capitalist model to solve the crisis.”

While the movie shows the failures and abuses of the carbon projects, it also seeks to change people’s attitude toward environmental issues. If there is misinformation around this issue, there’s also a great deal of hypocrisy in our society.

“My goal after all is to make critically engaging documentaries, and trying to create educational tools that will make people able to connect the dots between them and what is happening in the world.”

“I want to help people come to terms with the kind of ‘see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil’ that we are stuck with in our society.”

The Carbon Rush / Nov. 6 / Hall Building (1455 de Maisonneuve Blvd. W., H-110) / 6:45 p.m.

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