Season Premier “The Yes Men Are Revolting” October 7, 2015

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For the last 20 years notorious activists The Yes Men have staged outrageous and hilarious hoaxes to draw international attention to corporate crimes against humanity and the environment.  Armed with nothing but thrift-store suits and a lack of shame these iconoclastic revolutionaries lie their way into business events and government functions to expose the dangers of letting greed run our world.  This is their third film (“The Yes Men” and “The Yes Men Fix the World” are both in the Awareness Film Night Library at A Sea of Bloom in Sooke).

“The Yes Men Are Revolting” was released to theatres this summer.  The Yes Men are both well into their 40’s and their mid-life crises and family responsibilities are threatening to drive them out of activism forever, even as they prepare to take on the biggest challenge yet:  climate change.  Included are a visit to the Canadian Tar Sands and their subsequent faux representation of an “Assistant Press Secretary” from the Canadian Office of the Minister of the Environment presenting a press release heralding “a new vision of international responsibility” by the Harper government.

More than the first two films “The Yes Men Are Revolting” reveals the real people behind the ruses.  Soul searching and weariness are explored, but at its heart lies a hopeful and inspirational message about fighting for change.

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Season Finale: “All the Time in the World” May 13, 2015

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A family of five (mom, dad, kids 10, 8 and 4) leave their comfortable life in Dawson City to spend 9 months in a small log cabin with no running water, electricity, road access, internet or even clocks and watches.

Filmmaker Suzanne Crocker (the mom), who switched careers from rural family physician to filmmaker explains:  “This is not a survival in the wilderness documentary nor is it a documentary about living off the grid.  All the Time in the World is about opening possibilities in the fabric of our lives.”

What many of us have suspected is true:  if we remove ourselves from the constraints of time and our gadgets we give space for life to unfold with its inherent creativity and sense of wonder.  This film is a glimpse of what is possible when we re-unite with nature and the flow of life around us.

Definitely an all-ages film.  Teens especially encouraged.  “All the Time in the World” just won the “Best Picture” as chosen by a youth jury ages 13-19 at the Reel 2 Real International Film Festival for Youth in Vancouver.

In fact, it has won “Audience Pick Best Documentary” awards in film festivals all over the world, including a recent one at an International Film Festival in Mexico.

This film will not be in the film library at A Sea of Bloom after the screening, since, being a first-run film, it must be returned to the filmmaker.

“All the Time in the World is near perfection.  The images cast a spell and so does the story.” – Ken Eisner, The Georgia Strait April 2015

“5/5 stars – timely and inspiring” – Michael Reid, Times Colonist

“May be my favourite out of literally hundreds of films across the years.” – Chuck Jaffe, The Union

“May be mine, too” – Jo Phillips, Awareness Film Night



In the last Awareness Film Night of the year, we watched a film by Suzanne Crocker, starring her very own family in an experimental unplugging-getaway from the Rat Race. The beautiful and touching film details the delights and slowness of something many of us who are removed from take for granted: living within the embrace of Nature. Their 9 month adventure and meditation on self-reliance and stillness, serves to calm the rapid fire information and technological blitzkrieg that faces all of us in the civilized world.

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Farm and Film Gala “Just Eat It: A Food Waste Story” April 8th

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Co-presented with Sooke Food CHI

In “Just Eat It:  A Food Waste Story” Vancouver Waste Whittlers Jen and Grant, whom we met in January’s screening of “The Clean Bin Project”, return with another no waste-producing/no money-spending vow:  to only consume food that is considered “waste” for 6 months.  Did you say “yuck”?  So did they when they first came up with the idea.  And, yes, they did do some dumpster-diving.  But you will be surprised at the caliber of food they lived on.  Their eye-opening and entertaining adventures are interspersed with enlightening information from experts on the topic of wasted food: dumped, saved, ridiculously defined, feared and re-used in creative ways.  This film brings together farmers, retailers, inspiring food waste-saving organizations and consumers to the table.  www.foodwastemovie.com

The evening will feature tables in the theatre foyer with local products, seeds and produce for sale as well as information on gardening, farming, managing food waste and food security initiatives in our region.  There will be tea and goodies made by the EMCS Culinary Arts class (by donation) and fabulous gift baskets filled with items from the vendors.

Post-screening speakers will speak briefly and then answer questions from the audience.  Frederique Philip, owner of Sooke Harbour House and Dave Patterson, produce manager at Western Foods will discuss how their respective businesses deal with food waste and Steve Unger, farmer and chairman of Zero Waste Sooke will talk about the economic and environmental impacts of waste leaving Sooke and the mandate of Zero Waste Sooke.

 

Doors open at 6:45; film is at 7:30; discussion until 9:30

Post-film discussion:

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The Price We Pay March 4, 2015

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Over one-half of the world’s stock of money is beyond reach of public treasuries, placing the tax burden on the middle class and the poor.  This smart, eye-opening, incendiary film by Canadian filmmaker Harold Crooks (“The Corporation”; “Surviving Progress”) examines the dark history and present-day reality of big business tax avoidance which has seen multinationals deprive governments of trillions of dollars of tax revenues by stashing their profits in offshore havens; money that could be well-spent on providing services for the citizens of the countries they operate in.  Featuring interviews with leading economists (including Thomas Piketty), tax justice campaigners and former finance and technology industry insiders juxtaposed with outrageous footage of CEOs trying to defend their big name corporations when under questioning for tax evasion by British parliamentarians.

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DamNation February 11, 2015

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Co-presented with Sierra Club of B.C.

This film is from the U.S. where there is a change in the national attitude towards the damming of rivers from pride in big dams as engineering wonders to the growing awareness that the future is bound to the life and health of rivers.  Dams are coming down in the U.S. and several dammed rivers and their ecosystems are being restored to their natural states.

Not so in B.C. where the provincial government has just approved creation of the Site C dam on the Peace River which will flood over 100 kilometers of prime farmland found on the river valley bottomland, sever the Yellowstone to Yukon wildlife corridor and flood First Nations heritage sites.

Post-screening discussion will be lead by Ana Simeon, Peace Valley campaigner from Sierra Club of B.C.

 

 

 

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The Clean Bin Project – January 14, 2015

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Co-sponsored with Transition Sooke.

Is it possible to live completely waste free for a year?  In this award-winning documentary, partners Jen and Grant go head to head in a light-hearted competition to see who can swear off consumerism and produce the least garbage.  Set in Vancouver, this film is a call to action that speaks to crowds of all ages.

Before the film in the theatre foyer there will be a chance to visit the Free Store Table (bring a functional item you no longer need….maybe a Christmas gift that didn’t quite resonate with you…….. and take away something that you do; see below for guidelines) and the Transition Sooke table where there will be a small display of items that can replace some of the plastic in our lives such as reusable produce bags, can and bowl toppers, and cleaning sponges.

Once in the theatre, the evening will start with a short video tour (done by Jen and Grant) of the Gibsons Recycling Depot and a talk by Buddy Boyd, from Zero Waste Canada and co-founder of the Gibsons depot.

After the screening of “The Clean Bin Project”, there will be a discussion led by Transition Sooke’s Tony St. Pierre focusing on ideas for reducing the garbage footprint in the Sooke and Juan de Fuca Districts attended by Sooke Mayor Maja Tait and several owners of local businesses who have taken steps to reduce their garbage footprint.  We will learn about Transition Sooke’s initiatives to reduce the use of plastic bags and will be launching a Zero Waste Committee to hopefully work with our elected and appointed officials on making our local garbage disposal areas less of a “dump” and more recycle and re-use friendly.

The evening is expected to go a little longer than usual, likely until 9:30

Here are some guidelines for the free store table:

1. Items should be cleaned prior.  2. Items should be useful/functional and/or art rather than knick knacks.  3. A max of 3 items for the table; unlimited takeaway.  4. No clothing unless it is a special item (handmade, vintage, brand new, etc.).  5.  If you have items too large to be carried away, bring a photo and/or description and contact info for the table.

 

 

 

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Twenty Years of Awareness Celebration – December 10, 2014

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Awareness Film Night will celebrate 20 years of presenting monthly documentaries on topics normally disregarded by the mainstream media with a re-screening of the first film we screened back in 1994: “Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media“.

Mark Achbar (“The Corporation”) and Peter Wintonick’s award-winning documentary presents Noam Chomsky, world-renowned linguist, intellectual and political activist and highlights his probing analysis of mass media and critique of the forces at work behind the daily news.  Including footage of Chomsky’s visit to Malaspina College in Nanaimo.  This film is almost 3 hours long, so we will only screen one part of it.

The rest of the evening will be devoted to cake, tea, the giveaway table (see below) and maybe some  reminiscing and reflection on how we might be more aware than we were in 1994.   Any other ideas for adding to the celebration are most welcome…..after all, Awareness Film Night is all of our baby.

There will be a no-shopping, recycle, re-purpose free store table at the film night for those wanting to reduce time spent in corporate stores during the holiday season.  

POSTSCRIPT:

Hello moviegoers…………

The 20th Birthday Party for Awareness Film Night brought back many memories for me, as I sorted through the list of screenings and some of the newspaper articles from over the past 20 years for a little “Memorabilia” table.  For the first few years there were only 3 or 4 or maybe a whopping 6 people attending many of the film nights. There was even one night, in March of 1997, when we screened a film called  “Genetic Time Bomb”,  about GMOs, where no one came at all except myself and Kathy, my stalwart Awareness Video Night cohort.  In all fairness, we screened the same film again the next March (1998) and 18 people came out (a big crowd in those days).  And by December 2012, when we screened ” Genetic Roulette”   there were 70 people who came to see the film and hear Dr. Thierry Vrain.

The film “Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media” is available at the AFN library and also on YouTube, as are many Chomsky talks.  Here is a link for a 55 minute interview of him by Chris Hedges from September, 2014: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kTDIpu5UjAw

 

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Stand – November 12, 2014

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This beautifully filmed documentary takes viewers on a journey through the untarnished scenery, pristine ecosystems and life rich in culture and history of the B.C. coastal areas that are under threat by the proposed Enbridge and Kinder Morgan pipelines and the tankers that will be servicing them.  The film features expedition stand up paddler Norm Hann, who will be attending the screening, iconic West Coast surfer Raph Bruhwiler and a first nations high school class building their own SUPs as they journey through the waters of B.C. showing the landscape and wildlife that would be affected by an oil spill.

Post screening discussion and comments will be led by Celine Trojand of the Dogwood Initiative with assist from those supporting the Sooke municipal election plebiscite on “no expanded tanker traffic in B.C. coastal waters”.  Celine Trojand grew up in northeastern B.C.  Her family made a living in agriculture and horticulture.  She has a degree in Anthropology and began working for the Dogwood in 2009. Celine is unfalteringly devoted to building power in communities across her home province and is best when she’s having exciting conversations and meeting new people.

Everyone, whatever your stand on oil pipelines and tankers, is invited to attend and voice your opinion.

The evening will also feature some fantastic water sports and recreation prizes to be given away: 

Two 3 hour kayak rentals from Ocean River Sports, value $100.

A package of surf and SUP supplies from the new Sooke branch of HtO.

And more……

 

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Defensora – October 8th, 2014

2014/2015 Season Premiere

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Co-presented with the Victoria Mining Justice Action Committee (MJAC).

If you want to register your mining company in a country that has the least amount of encouragement or regulations for acting responsibly and cooperatively towards the peoples and the ecology near your mine, pick Canada!

“Defensora” is a documentary about Mayan Q’eqchi resistance against mining in Guatemala.  Set along the shores of Lake Izabal, this is a timely film that provides candid insights into the brave struggles of the men and women in El Estor, Guatemala who, faced with the violence, intimidation, poor health and forced evictions that Canadian mining company Hudbay Minerals has brought about in their home and ancestral lands, have now brought their battle for justice to the Canadian courts.

After the film there will be an opportunity to have a discussion and ask questions hosted by 3 members of MJAC.  Kay Gimbel is on the executive of the B.C. Ferry and Marine Workers Union, representing about 500 ships officers across the province.  He travelled to Guatemala earlier this year with a mining justice delegation led by Rights Action.  Kay visited several mining sites including the mining impacted community of El Estor and met many of the people who are depicted in this film.  Janet Gray is an active member of MJAC and KAIROS.  She has organized film and discussion events and other social justice projects and she participated actively in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.  Janet has also visited Guatemala and will bring first hand experience to the current tensions involved with mining companies there.  Heather Tufts is a social justice activist, citizen journalist and independent researcher.  She is an active member of MJAC and has organized many events and programs.  As an educator Heather believes in the “learning and research for change” model and has engaged with grassroots movements and indigenous communities for many years.

Now that we in B.C. have had a glimpse of the irresponsibility of mining companies and the blind eyes of the government towards them with the Mt. Polley tailings pond spill, this precedent-setting court case is all the more relevant to us in Canada.  So far there have been no murders and rapes such as happened in El Estor, but the killing of an ecosystem is surely also a criminal act.

 

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A (VIDEO) EVENING WITH CHARLES EISENSTEIN May 14, 2014

2013/2014 Season Finale

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A (VIDEO) EVENING WITH CHARLES EISENSTEIN
Author of “Sacred Economics – Money, Gift and Society in the Age of Transition” and “The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know is Possible”.

Some quotes from Charles:

“We sense that ‘normal’ isn’t coming back, that we are being born in to a new normal: a new kind of society, a new relationship to the Earth, a new experience of being human.”

“Another way of being is possible and it is right in front of us, closer than close….yet it slips away so easily that we hardly believe it could be the foundation of life; so we relegate it to an afterlife and call it Heaven or we relegate it to the future and call it Utopia.  Either way we set it apart from this world and this life and thereby deny its practicality and its reality in the here-and-now.  Yet the knowledge that life is more than Just This cannot be suppressed.  Not forever.”

“What has rendered us helpless to resist the ugliness, pollution, injustice and downright horror that has risen to engulf the planet in the last few centuries?  What calamity has so resigned us to it that we call this the human condition?  Those moments of love, freedom, serenity, play – what power has made us believe these are but respites from real life? …….Underlying the vast swath of ruin our civilization has carved is not human nature, but the opposite: human nature denied.”

 No speakers this month…..just our usual discussion to follow.  A time to ponder and share our thoughts and feelings before we adjourn for the summer months.


Postscript:

Hello all………….Some thoughts on the topic of money and sacred economics from one of last night’s moviegoers:  we could increase “gift economy” in Sooke by increasing participation in www.streetbank.com.  Streetbank is a sharing and exchange program that connects people within 10km. of their home with their neighbors through an online network.  It is a way to share and exchange items, services and information (such as “bear alert”) as well as getting to know your neighbors. She noted: “It is a lovely marriage of using the internet to create community”.Also, Sooke’s Transition Town group is always working with creating a more sustainable and resilient community.  Ideas and new members are most welcome.  www.transitionsooke.org, 

To find the 22 minute talk by Charles that wouldn’t play last night, or if you missed the film night, here it is:

http://charleseisenstein.net/project/a-new-story-of-the-people-charles-eisenstein-at-tedxwhitechapel/

 

It is a lovely summary of what he is talking about and a lovely summary of what I was hoping to bring to the season finale…..a sense of finding our way in this often frustrating and chaotic transition time between the old paradigm that we have all been brought up in, one defined by competition, hierarchy, force and division and a new way of being on the planet, guided by our hearts rather than our brains, one which we cannot yet clearly see.

 

Heartfelt thanks to those who have helped out over the season:  Sarah Staskiel our fantastic tech who has been great to work with, Lyra Hindrichs who downloaded films for us and also was a sub for Sarah on the night when all the new theatre equipment was not getting along with each other, Stephen Hindrichs who has created the eye-catching posters every month, Mary Brooks at MapleLine Business Centre who printed them for only the charge of the ink, Jeff Bateman, our man on the AFN Facebook page, Bryan and Susie at Video To Go who mind the AFN library for no charge because they feel it is an important thing for the community, Deb Harper, creator of and helper for the website and Twitter account, George McFetridge AFN table and donation can manager, Reta Vasey at the EMCS Program office who has often gone above and beyond the call of duty to make sure the evening goes smoothly, the District of Sooke for their generous grant for a new projector and towards the new soundboard in the theatre and to all of you who have made this the best season yet.

 

If you find that you need an Awareness Film Night fix over the summer, remember that there is a whole slew of documentary films to rent for a mere $3 in the AFN library at Video To Go in Sooke.  A list of the films can be found at www.awarenessfilmnight.ca

Have a great summer.  Hopefully you will have many chances to get out into the beauty and serenity of the natural world we are so fortunate to have around us here on Vancouver Island. 

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