Four films to watch at this year’s DOXA Documentary Film Festival

These documentaries bring protagonists’ real-life struggles and victories to the big screen

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Grey banner with red circle in the middle holds the protagonists of these films
Add these independent documentaries onto your summer watch list. Image courtesy of DOXA documentary film festival.

By: Isabella Urbani, Staff Writer

It’s that time of the year again school is out for summer and the DOXA film festival is back! DOXA is a “Vancouver based non-profit charitable society” which prides itself on showcasing independent films. Many of the films center around resilience and overcoming personal obstacles in politically challenging environments.   

After two years of online-only programming, films are being screened through a hybrid model for this year’s 21st annual DOXA festival from May 5–15. In-person films are available at the following locations: The Vancouver Playhouse, The Cinematheque, the Vancouver International Film Festival Centre, and SFU’s Goldcorp Centre for the Arts. 

Seniors, low income individuals, and students that present ID receive a $2 discount on tickets for in-person and online showings. Masks are mandatory and available at the in-person screenings. Online viewers are geo-blocked to Canada and have access to watch their selected film once within 48 hours of pressing play.

Here’s our must-watch documentaries from this year’s festival. 

Beyond Extinction: Sinixt Resurgence (2022) 

Elderly Indigenous Matriach of Sinixt Nation pictured amidst the shaded forest on a sunny day
Sinixt Nation Matriarch Marilyn James / Photo Credit: Louis Bockner

Length: 98 minutes 

Watch the world-premiere of a documentary that took 27 years to make.The documentary centers the Sinixt Nation from the Arrow Lakes region, referred colonially as British Columbia. Filmmaker Ali Kazimi has been invited and immersed in the autonomous Sinixt Nation’s community building practices and their fight to gain recognition from the Canadian government since 1995. The documentary reveals that the Canadian government continues to declare them as extinct. Known for presenting “work that deals with race, social justice, history and memory,” Kazimi’s new release is guaranteed to hold power.

Metok (2021)

face and shoulders of a woman with a shaved head
Metok / Photo Credit: Titolo

Length: 66 minutes 

Unpack the journey of a Tibetan Buddhist nun living in India who has to return home to help assist her mother with a local birth. Metok embarks “through an achingly beautiful landscape,” but tense geopolitical environment to reunite with her family and grapple with the emotions that follow. 

You can watch the trailer for this piece here

We Don’t Dance for Nothing (2022) 

Two Asian women dancing on the beach together in summer clothing
Still from “We Don’t Dance for Nothing” / Photo Courtesy of DOXA

Length: 86 minutes 

Follow one domestic worker’s yearning to strive for “independence, love, and motherhood” during the 2019 Hong Kong Protests. Described as a “photo-montage love letter to Fillipina domestic workers of Hong Kong,” We Don’t Dance for Nothing touches on the struggle of workers’ rights, a “changing political landscape,” and the joy that dance can bring even in turbulent times.

You can watch the trailer for this piece here

Sirens (2022)

Two women dressed in all-black play electric guitars in the midst of tall grass
Still from “Sirens” / Photo Credit: Rita Baghdadi

Length: 78 minutes 

Witness the journey of an outspoken, queer, women Lebanese death-metal band. Their two members, Lilas and Shery, deal with “mounting personal tension” while their band is on the “verge of success.” Sirens follows the duo’s “ups and downs, both personal and musical,” with a front row seat to the inner workings of their lives and relationship. 

You can watch the trailer for this piece here

For more information on DOXA 2022 programming and to purchase tickets for both in-person and online screenings, check out their website.