February 3-5, 2017
Barrie Uptown Theatre, 55 Dunlop Street West, Barrie
Discover extraordinary things about the world from this thought-provoking weekend of films which includes documentaries and dramas inspired by true events and real people. In its thirteenth year and partnering with the City of Barrie’s “Winterfest”, Reel Stories screens 7 films over three days at Uptown Theater during the first weekend of February.
Friday, February 3 – 4:00 pm
Sunday, February 5 – 3:00 pm
Directed by: Tiffany Hsiung
Documentary, 14A for mature content, 104 min. Languages: English and Korean, Chinese, Tagalog, Japanese with English subtitles (Canada)
The Apology follows the personal journeys of three former “comfort women” who were among the 200,000 girls and young women kidnapped and forced into military sexual slavery by the Imperial Japanese Army during World War II. Some 70 years after their imprisonment, the three “grandmothers” – Grandma Gil in South Korea, Grandma Cao in China, and Grandma Adela in the Philippines – face their twilight years in fading health. After decades of living in silence and shame about their past, they know that time is running out to give a first-hand account of the truth and ensure that this horrific chapter of history is not forgotten. Whether they are seeking a formal apology or summoning the courage to finally share their secret with loved ones, their resolve moves them forward as they seize this last chance to set future generations on a course for reconciliation, healing, and justice.
Awards: Won, 2nd Place, Audience Award, Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival, 2016
The Beatles: Eight Days A Week – The Touring Years
Saturday, February 4 – 7:00 pm
Directed by: Ron Howard
Documentary/Music, PG, 137 min. (UK/USA)
We all know the moment. February 9th, 1964 four young men from Liverpool step onto the Ed Sullivan stage, changing culture forever. Seventy-three million people watched The Beatles perform that night, the largest audience in television history. It was an event that united a nation and signaled the birth of youth culture, as we know it today. By the time the band quit touring in August of 1966, they had performed 166 concerts in 15 countries and 90 cities around the world. It will examine the impact of those years on each of The Beatles – the toll that touring took on their relationships and the effect it had on their musical evolution, as well as the colossal boost the tours gave to their lifestyle and fame. The film will also explore the incomparable electricity between performer and audience that turned the music into a movement – a common experience into something sublime.
Won, Best Music Documentary/Nominated Best Director (Ron Howard) Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards, 2016
Nominated, Best Motion Picture, Documentary, Satellite Awards, 2016
The Eagle Huntress
Friday, February 3 – 7:00 pm
Sunday, February 5 – 12:30 pm
Directed by: Otto Bell | Narrated by: Daisy Ridley
Documentary, G, 87 min. Language: Kazakh with English subtitles (UK/USA/Mongolia)
The Eagle Huntress follows Aisholpan, a 13-year-old girl, as she trains to become the first female in twelve generations of her Kazakh family to be an eagle hunter, and rises to the pinnacle of a tradition that has been handed down from father to son for centuries. Set against the breathtaking expanse of the Mongolian steppe, The Eagle Huntress features some of the most awe-inspiring cinematography ever captured in a documentary, giving this intimate tale of a young girl’s quest the dramatic force of an epic narrative film. While there are many old Kazakh eagle hunters who vehemently reject the idea of any female taking part in their ancient tradition, Aisholpan’s father Nurgaiv believes that a girl can do anything a boy can, as long as she’s determined.
Won, 3rd place, Audience Award, Amsterdam International Documentary Film Festival, 2016
Won, 2nd place, Audience Award, Aspen Filmfest, 2016
Nominated, Best First Documentary, Critics Choice Documentary Awards, 2016
Won, Audience Award, Hawaii International Film Festival, 2016
Fire At Sea (Fuocoammare)
Saturday, February 4 – 4:00 pm
Written and Directed by: Gianfranco Rosi
Documentary, PG for mature theme, 108 min. Language: Italian with English subtitles (Italy/France)
Winner of the Golden Bear for Best Film at the Berlin Film Festival 2016, Gianfranco Rosi’s incisive, poignant and deeply moving portrait of the Mediterranean island of Lampedusa – and the humanitarian crisis occurring in the seas around it – is both a masterly work of documentary filmmaking and a timely call for urgent action. Situated 150 miles south of Sicily, Lampedusa has hit headlines as the first port of call for hundreds of thousands of African and Middle Eastern refugees hoping to make a new life in Europe. Focusing on 12-year-old Samuele, as he explores the land and attempts to gain mastery of the sea, the film slowly builds a breathtakingly naturalistic portrait of the Lampedusan people and the events that surround them. The result is a lyrical, poetic and searingly powerful documentary that casts neither judgement nor aspersions, but simply shows the world to the viewer – to utterly devastating effect.
Won, Amnesty International Film Prize, Berlin International Film Festival, 2016
Won, Golden Berlin Bear, Berlin International Film Festival, 2016
Nominated, Best Documentary Critics Choice Documentary Awards, 2016
Won, Best European Documentary, European Film Awards, 2016
Won, Best Cinematography, International Documentary Association, 2016
Won, Best Editing, Golden Ciak Awards, 2016
Won, Special Silver Ribbon, Documentary, Italian National Syndicate of Film Journalists, 2016
Won, Cinema Eye Honors Award, Cinema Eye Honors Awards, US, 2017
How To Build A Time Machine
Sunday, February 5 – 6:00 pm
Written and Directed by: Jay Cheel
Documentary, G, 82 min. (Canada)
How to Build a Time Machine follows two men as they set out on a journey to build their own time machines. Rob Niosi is a stop motion animator who has spent the last 13 years obsessively constructing a full-scale replica of the time machine prop from the 1960 adaptation of H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine. It’s his attempt to recapture the memory of seeing the film in theatres with his father. Dr. Ron Mallett is a theoretical physicist whose story begins with a tragedy. He was only 10 years old when his father died suddenly of a heart attack. Distraught, he sought solace in science-fiction. After reading The Time Machine, Ron dedicated his life to studying physics. He has since become a professor at the University of Connecticut and is now working on building a real time machine in the hopes that he might go back in time to save his father’s life.
Through these stories, we will investigate our fascination with time travel and attempt to figure out what’s so appealing about reliving the past and foreseeing the future. We will also look at the power of cinema and the ways in which science fiction storytelling has inspired real life scientific breakthroughs.
My Scientology Movie
Sunday, February 5 – 8:00 pm
Co-written and Directed by: John Dower Documentary, 14A, 99 min. (UK/USA)
Not your typical exposé. BBC doc-maker and journalist Louis Theroux teams up with director John Dower and double Academy Award winning producer Simon Chinn (Searching for Sugar Man, Man On Wire) to explore the self-mythologizing Church of Scientology. Following a long fascination with the religion, the beguilingly unassuming Theroux won’t take no for an answer when his request to enter the Church’s headquarters is turned down. Inspired by the Church’s use of filming techniques, and aided by ex-members of the organization, Theroux uses actors to replay some incidents people claim they experienced as members in an attempt to better understand the way it operates. In a bizarre twist, it becomes clear that the Church is also making a film about Louis Theroux. Suffused with a good dose of humour and moments worthy of a Hollywood script, My Scientology Movie is as outlandish as it is revealing.
Saturday, February 4 – 1:30 pm
Directed by: Ken Maitland
Documentary, 14A for violence and disturbing content, 82 min. (USA)
August 1st 1966 was the day our innocence was shattered. A sniper rode the elevator to the top floor of the iconic University of Texas Tower and opened fire, holding the campus hostage for 96 minutes in what was a previously unimaginable event. Tower combines archival footage with rotoscopic animation of the dramatic day, based entirely on first person testimonies from witnesses, heroes and survivors, in a seamless and suspenseful retelling of the unfolding tragedy. The film highlights the fear, confusion, and visceral realities that changed the lives of those present, and the rest of us, forever – a day when the worst in one man brought out the best in so many others.
Won, Most Innovative Documentary, Critics Choice Documentary Awards, 2016
Won, Best Animated Film, Boston Society of Film Critics Awards, 2016
Won, Grand Jury Prize, Dallas International Film Festival, 2016
Won, Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association Awards, 2016
Won, Best Documentary, dead CENTER Film Festival, 2016
Won, Special Jury Prize: Documentary Feature, Montclair Film Festival (MFF), 2016
Won, Audience Choice Award, Best Documentary Feature, RiverRun International Film Festival, 2016
Won, Audience Award, Louis Black/Lone Star Award and SXSW Grand Jury Award, Documentary Feature, SXSW Film Festival, 2016