Another sold-out house at Wakefield-La Pêche Community Centre was treated to the final and probably the most powerful film of WIFF 2012. The audience was transfixed by Jennifer Baichwal's riveting 2011 documentary Payback and also clearly enjoyed Algonquin Short Sax Appeal by Wasim Baobaid.
Baichwal's documentary based on Margaret Atwood’s bestselling book Payback: Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth, offers a fascinating look at debt as a mental construct and traces how it influences relationships, societies, governing structures and the fate of the planet. Baichwal: "The first thing I learned, which was a great relief, is that the book wasn’t about money… What it was about was the idea of debt – a fantastic, complex riff on all the ways we are governed by owing and being owed in human society and beyond. ‘I owe you one.’ ‘You owe me one.’ And so on."
Wasim Baobaid and Jarrod Goldsmith
Also on hand was Jarrod Goldsmith of Ottawa-based saxophone quartet Sax Appeal, the subject of Algonquin doc student Wasim Baobaid's short subject documentary that opened for Payback.
And so ends another season of compelling documentaries at WIFF. Thank you to creative directors Robert and Brenda Rooney for bringing this fabulous boutique film festival to the community And congratulations to documentary production students whose Algonquin Shorts were selected by WIFF programmers to open for a strong line-up of international docs. A heartfelt thank you to the Rooneys for offering Algonquin's emerging documentary makers this career-launching opportunity to showcase their work. Un grand merci.
For the past three years, the Wakefield International Film Festival has screened a selection of great documentaries from Canada and beyond. In 2010, they launched a program to showcase locally produced short documentaries from Algonquin College’s Documentary Production Program. Among those for this year’s shortlist is Swan Song, a documentary about Ottawa’s Royal Swan program.
An Australian Black swan ready to be shipped out.
Synopsis: The Royal Swans have made their home on the Rideau River for the last 44 years. Given as a gift from the Queen during Canada’s Centennial, these majestic birds have become a symbol of the area and one of the many highlights of the city of Ottawa. In recent years, the Royal Swan program has seen much adversity as the program threatens to close if a new winter facility to house the birds can’t be found. Being seen as unnecessary expenditure, the city has struggled to find an alternative solution and time to do so is running out. In her final year as program coordinator, Christine Hartig looks back at her 25 years of experience with the swans.
A collection of field notes, interviews, and reviews from Algonquin's Documentary Production Class of 2012