By Rachel Woodward, October 25 2016 —
For the past 10 years, the Marda Loop Justice Film Festival has provided movie buffs from Calgary and beyond the
opportunity to explore and discuss international and local social justice issues.
The festival runs from Nov. 15–20 this year and will show 25 films, including both feature-length films and shorts. There is a focus on locally made films including the notable 9 Days — filmed in Calgary — which will feature in the “Refugee Stories” category. The festival will also screen films from around the world, including countries like South Africa, South Sudan and others.
Program Chair Caitlin Logan says the festival was born out of a desire to shine a light on important issues.
“[There are] a lot of locals who, to this day, still volunteer at the festival,” she says. “They decided that there was a gap in
what exists in film festivals, so they wanted to show the city what they are really passionate about, which is a lot of international issues and local issues related to human rights —environmental and social issues as well.”
After each screening, there will be audience discussion regarding the film’s topic with an expert in that field.
“What sets us apart from other festivals is the focus on justice issues. An important part is generating discussion. After each film we have an expert or someone who is involved with issues in the film,” Logan says. “Audience members can ask questions and discuss with the expert. People take away more from all these films on justice issues and they can bring it home and think about it themselves.”
The John Dutton Theatre, EMMEDIA gallery, River Park Church Auditorium and Globe Cinema will all host screenings this
year. With locations donating spaces as well as sponsors working to support the event, one of the most popular aspects of the festival is its free ticket charge. Festival organizers say free admission to a festival like this is important so anybody can come to discuss the films and explore the issues.
Films screened are typically unorthodox. Andreas Johnsen’s Bugs — making its Calgary premiere — will show audiences recent advancements in edible insects. Pankaj Johar’s Cecillia tells the story of a young housekeeper who was trafficked and found dead.
Logan says that Calgary audiences are eager to learn about social justice issues, which is why the festival has thrived in the city for the past 10 years.
“We did start because of local Calgarians, but I think it has been growing each year because Calgarians are very aware of
their environment — locally and globally,” she says. “They are very interested in being a part of making a change for positive growth. I think over the past 10 years, we’ve seen such a growth in the population as well, not just in numbers but in the demographic as well, we have people coming from everywhere in the world. People want to be able to understand and connect
with their neighbors.”
The festival will run from Nov. 15–20. Admission is free of charge.
For more information, visit justicefilmfestival.ca