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COHDS Film Festival 2017


Friday, December 1, 2017 - 17:30 to 21:30
COHDS-affiliated filmmakers

The COHDS Film Festival is proud to announce the official selection of its second edition. With five short films and one feature film, this one-night event brings together documentaries of all kinds. The films will be separated in two blocks, with a potluck during the intermission to celebrate the end of the semester. Both screenings will be followed by a Q&A with the filmmakers (all filmmakers will be in attendance except Jason Gondziola who lives in Edmonton). Don't hesitate to share the Facebook event. We hope to see many of you! More details on the films below.

PART I: 5:30PM to 7:00PM


Year: 2016

Duration: 7 minutes

Region: Alberta

Language: English

SYNOPSIS: Local photographer River shares her story, from growing up as a little boy in rural Saskatchewan to being outed as transgender in Edmonton and making a new life for herself.

DIRECTOR: Jason Gondziola is a filmmaker and youth media facilitator who has been working in digital cinema production and community media for over a decade. While living in Montreal, he spearheaded the Say it Loud, Say it Proud! oral history and storytelling project in partnership with COHDS, CUTV and the Black Community Resource Centre. He is currently living in Edmonton and working with inner-city Aboriginal communities and high-school students to facilitate digital storytelling and oral histories.


Year: 2015

Duration: 20 minutes

Region: Italy

Language: Italian with French subtitles

SYNOPSIS: A Romani woman named Ligia tells the story of her life. Living in a poor community in the suburbs of Bari in South Italy, she reads letters from her daughter in prison and shares her desire to finally own a home.

DIRECTOR: Giovanni Princigalli a obtenu une maîtrise en sciences politiques - option histoire sociale à l’Université de Bari et une maîtrise en études cinématographiques à l’Université de Montréal. Il a également étudié l’anthropologie visuelle à Paris. Il a écrit des articles pour les revues de sciences anthropologiques et sociales Lares et Rivista di Scienze Sociali, pour la revue d’histoire Nuova Resistenza Unita et au Québec pour la revue séquence cinéma. Il a enseigné le cinéma italien à McGill et le documentaire italien à l’UQAM.


Year: 2012-2015 (ongoing series)

Duration: 17 minutes

Medium: Animation

Region: Quebec

Language: English

SYNOPSIS: In The Saga of Murdo MacLeod, the first film in his animated series on Canadian history, from Mike Burns’ four published stories, The Water of Life (Chemin des Cantons, 2009), Montreal filmmaker G. Scott MacLeod fuses rich pencil animation with new digital media to provide a deeply moving depiction of an iconic early Canadian immigrant experience.

DIRECTOR: G Scott MacLeod is a multimedia artist in the truest sense of the term. A critically acclaimed painter and photographer whose work is in many permanent collections, including that of the National Gallery of Canada, he is also a performing songwriter and recording artist. Engaging his lifelong interest in history, with support from the National Film Board of Canada’s Filmmaker Assistance Program and a Main Film Grant, in 2009 MacLeod added filmmaker to his list of endeavors with the release of After the war with Hannelore- A Berliner War Child’s Testimony from 1945 to 1989.


Year: 2016

Duration: 18 minutes

Medium: Animation

Region: Quebec

Language: English with French subtitles

SYNOPSIS: A poetic reflection on the behaviour of dictators toward their nation upon being rejected. Inspired by Bluebeard and featuring the performance of a mother and child.

DIRECTOR: Khadija Baker is a Montreal-based, multi-disciplinary artist of Kurdish-Syrian descent. Her installations investigate social and political themes centered on the uncertainty of home as it relates to persecution, identity, displacement, and memory. As a witness to traumatic events, unsettled feelings of home are a part of her experience. Her multi-disciplinary installations (textile, sculpture, audio/video) involve participative storytelling and performance to create active spaces of empathy and greater understanding. Her most recent work explores the social aspects of violence in the Arab world and specifically how it affects women and children.

Followed by a Q&A with Giovanni Princigalli, Scott MacLeod, and Khadija Baker


PART II: 8:00PM to 9:30PM


Year: 2017

Duration: 15 minutes (excerpt of a feature film)

Regions: Quebec, Belarus, Iran, Tanzania

Language: English

SYNOPSIS: Memory is Our Homeland is a documentary film charting the lost story of Polish refugees in Africa from 1942 to 1952 - a journey that brought a group of children through Siberia, Iran, India, and East Africa, to new lives in Montreal, Sheffield, and across the global Polish diaspora.

It follows the story of Kazia Kolodziej (née Gerech), the filmmaker's grandmother, and other Polish refugees, as they meditate on the meaning of memory, identity, and homeland. Grappling with memories of a traumatic exile in the Soviet Union, followed by an adolescence full of discovery in a Polish refugee camp near the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro, we see how these women's lives have been shaped by early years fraught with insecurity and change.

DIRECTOR: Jonathan Durand is a filmmaker and photographer living in Montréal, Canada. He has travelled and worked in Europe, North and South America, Africa, and Asia.

COLLABORATOR: COHDS affiliate and PhD student Amanda Chalupa.

*Jonathan Durand and Amanda Chalupa will both be in attendance.


Year: 2015

Duration: 50 minutes

Region: Iran

Language: Kurdish and Farsi with English subtitles

SYNOPSIS: Dancing For Change is a story about secular and socialist women of the Islamic world, their ideals, activism, and visions for a better world. It focuses on six Kurdish Iranian women from three different generations. These women live with their male comrades in a mountain camp where they organize and have been fighting the Iranian fundamentalist Government since the past 35 years.

In a society where state and family violence against women is common, they are engaged in political and military training, writing, reading, broadcasting, dancing, and singing in order to make their voice heard against any kind of injustice. Most of these women have left their home and joined the Kurdish–Iranian underground organization, due to the extreme oppression they have been subjected to in the Islamic Republic of Iran.

DIRECTOR: Shahrzad Arshadi, a Montréal­ based multidisciplinary artist, feminist and human rights activist, came to Canada as a political refugee on December 24, 1983. In her artistic career Shahrzad has ventured into different fields of photography, documentary film, writing, sound creation and performance, enabling her to focus on issues of memory, culture and human rights. She is the winner of the 19th International Galawej Cultural Festival 2015 in Kurdistan for her documentary film “Dancing For Change.” She has also received “Women of Distinction 2017, the Inspiration Award” from the Women’s Y Foundation, in Montreal, Canada.

Followed by a Q&A with Jonathan Durand, Amanda Chalupa, and Shahrzad Arshadi

LB-1019, 1400 de Maisonneuve West, Montreal, QC

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