Films to look out for this year at DOXA

From music to Murakami, this film festival will have something for you

Image courtesy of DOXA

By: Natasha Tar

Maybe you’re too broke or busy to travel. Thankfully, DOXA is here again to show you the globe.

     DOXA, Vancouver’s documentary film festival, returns this year with unexpected and incredible films from across the world. The festival is turning 17 years old, and will run films from May 3 to May 13 in venues across Vancouver. Good news for students: you get a $2 discount off of any regular ticket. Bad news: you don’t know what to go see! Below are previews of some of the festival’s highlights.

Ethiopiques: Revolt of the Soul

Where? SFU Goldcorp Centre for the Arts

When? May 13, 4:15 p.m.

Did you know that up until the 1960s, there was no Ethiopian music being sold or produced in . . . Ethiopia? Filmmaker Maciej Bochniak compiles interviews with the players involved in first recording Ethiopian music, and outlines the trials they faced to get their then-illegal music to the rest of the world. It’s a film for anyone interested in an absorbing musical backstory.

Dreaming Murakami

Image courtesy of DOXA

Where? The Cinematheque

When? May 13, 6:15 p.m.

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, Kafka on the Shore, and 1Q84 are just a few of writer Haruki Murakami’s world-famous works. This film explores the work and habits of Mette Holm, who translates his work in Denmark, and the lengths she goes to in order to capture the essence of Murakami’s books. DOXA’s website calls it an “essential viewing for fans of the novelist and a captivating portrait for anyone who believes in the necessity of art.”

Mr. Gay Syria

Where? SFU Goldcorp Centre for the Arts (May 7) and Vancity Theatre (May 10)

When? May 7, 8:15 p.m. and May 10, 12 p.m.

Director Ayse Toprak follows the story of Husein, a gay refugee who struggles to come out to his family, wife, and child. While he waits for passage from Istanbul to Europe, Husein meets other LGBTQ+ refugees and together they decide to enter the Gay World competition. This film will remind you that even in times of strife, love is an essential part of who we are.


Image courtesy of DOXA

Where? SFU Goldcorp Centre for the Arts (May 10) and Vancity Theatre (May 11)

When? May 10, 6 p.m. and May 11, 12 p.m.

A slightly more optimistic look at climate change than other movies, Metamorphosis focuses on human effort to curb climate disasters rather than just the disasters themselves. Filmmakers Velcrow Ripper and Nova Ami portray climate change not only as dire but as a chance for humans to recreate themselves as more self-sufficient beings.

Roller Dreams

Where? Vancity Theatre

When? May 10, 6:15 p.m. and May 13, 7:15 p.m.

If you thought roller skating was only for cut-throat derbies and awkward first dates, guess again. At Venice Beach in the late 1970s, people of colour strapped on roller skates and danced to disco, each with their own flair and style. Roller Dreams follows the stories of dancers then and now, and how their skating utopia eventually crumbled.

The Cleaners

Image courtesy of DOXA

Where? SFU Goldcorp Centre for the Arts (May 9) and Vancity Theatre (May 11)

When? May 9, 6 p.m. and May 11, 9:15 p.m.

We know the Internet is a scary place, but we would never expect to find graphic images of violence, nudity, and gore on our Facebook feeds. Who makes sure that our feeds remain sterile? The answer is examined in The Cleaners, a film that explores the lives and consequences of content moderators, and the haunting implications of their work.

Kusama – Infinity

Where? SFU Goldcorp Centre for the Arts (May 12, first show) and Vancity Theatre (May 12, second show)

When? May 12, 7 p.m. and 9 p.m.

According to DOXA’s website, “Yayoi Kusama is one of the world’s most successful living artists and one of the top-selling female artists in history.” This is an impressive feat, but as Heather Lenz’s film Kusama – Infinity shows us, it wasn’t an easy one. Struggling with racism, poverty, and her own mental health, Kusama created art throughout her life that was often scowled at, but now celebrated.

A Six Dollar Cup of Coffee

Image courtesy of DOXA

Where? SFU Goldcorp Centre for the Arts

When? May 13, 2 p.m.

How well do you know your favourite caffeinated beverage? A Six Dollar Cup of Coffee shows us the processes and emotional costs that come with producing coffee. The film does not intend to tell consumers how to solve the problem, but rather how they can be more aware of the story behind their cup of joe (and why you shouldn’t be surprised to pay a large amount for it!)