Four films to see at the DOXA Documentary Film Festival this year

Add these independent documentaries to your summer watch list. Image courtesy of DOXA Documentary Film Festival.

By: Isabella Urbani, editor

It’s that time of year when school is out for the summer again and the DOXA Film Festival is back! DOXA is a “Vancouver-based not-for-profit charity” that prides itself on showcasing independent films. Many films focus on resilience and overcoming personal obstacles in politically difficult environments.

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

Seniors, low-income people, and students who show ID receive a delivery on tickets for in-person and online screenings. Masks are mandatory and available during in-person screenings. Online viewers are geo-blocked to Canada and have access to watch their selected movie once in 48 hours to press play.

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

Beyond Extinction: The Resurgence of Sinixt (2022)

Elderly Native Matriach of the Sinixt Nation photographed in the middle of the shady forest on a sunny day
Marilyn James, Matriarch of the Sinixt Nation / Photo credit: Louis Bockner

Duration: 98 minutes

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

Metok (2021)

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

Duration: 66 minutes

Unpack the journey of a Tibetan Buddhist nun living in India who must return home to help her mother give birth locally. Metok embarks “through a landscape of painful beauty” but a tense geopolitical environment to reunite with his family and deal with the emotions that ensue.

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 clothes
Image from “We Don’t Dance for Nothing” / Photo courtesy of DOXA

Duration: 86 minutes

Follow a domestic worker’s desire to strive for “independence, love and motherhood” during the 2019 protests in Hong Kong. Described as a “photo-montaged love letter to Filipino domestic workers in Hong Kong”, We don’t dance for nothing discusses the struggle for workers’ rights, a “changing political landscape” and the joy that dancing can bring even in turbulent times.

You can watch the trailer for this piece here.

Sirens (2022)

Two women dressed in black play the electric guitar in the middle of tall grass
Image taken from “Sirens” / Photo credit: Rita Baghdadi

Duration: 78 minutes

Witness the journey of a Lebanese death-metal band to queer outspokenness. Their two members, Lilas and Shery, are dealing with “increasing personal tension” as their group is “on the brink of success”. Sirens follows the “highs and lows, both personal and musical” of the duo, with a front row seat to the inner workings of their life and relationship.

You can watch the trailer for this piece here.

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