Waterlife (2009) is an NFB documentary examining the Great Lakes – an incredibly beautiful ecosystem that is facing complex challenges.

Campbell River Library showing NFB documentaries until end of June

Thought-provoking films meant to encourage conversation on social issues

They’re films that are meant to provoke thought and discussion.

They range in subject matter from GMOs and the Great Lakes to art, the effects of the Three Gorges Dam in China and young Quebecers harvesting fruit in the Okanagan.

And they’re all going to be shown at the Campbell River Library this spring.

This week, the Campbell River Library kicked off a spring documentary film series, which will see six National Film Board of Canada (NFB) documentaries screened for free at the library.

“I started doing it about a year ago but just kind of quietly and it really grew out of a relationship with the National Film Board of Canada,” said Patrick Siebold, the library’s adult services customer service librarian.

The NFB works with public libraries and offers a pre-packaged seasonal series, such as a winter film club, explained Siebold. Although this series isn’t one of those pre-packaged series, Siebold has been working closely with Marianne Di Domenico, the NFB’s public libraries programming officer.

He says she’s been lovely to work with and she sent him some suggestions for the spring series.

The documentaries will be screened April 25, May 9, May 30, June 13 and June 27 at 6 p.m. Admission is free and no registration is required.

“It’s part of the mandate of public libraries to enrich the communities we serve and that doesn’t have to be just about books,” said Siebold.

“It’s not just showing the film; I’ll introduce them and talk with people after.”

Siebold says he is trying to complement the Campbell River Festival of Films at the Tidemark Theatre.

“I’m really trying to ride the coattails of the film festival series at the Tidemark; it’s one of the success stories of Campbell River,” said Siebold. “They get great turnouts.”

The spring documentary series began this week with the screening of Finding Farley this past Monday night.

Siebold says the first film, in which Karsten Heuer and Leanne Allison, their two-year-old son and their dog, retrace the literary footsteps of Canadian writer Farley Mowat, was very well received.

The next film is The World According to Monsanto on April 25.

“I think it’s pretty relevant these days,” said Siebold. “It can be a pretty divisive subject, really. I want to create a conversation.”

This series will continue until the end of June. There will be no films during the summer, and then Siebold plans to start screening films once again in September.

For more information about the documentary film series, phone 250-287-3655 or email psiebold@virl.bc.ca.

You can view trailers for each documentary on the library’s website.


The upcoming films in the series are:


> April 25: The World According to Monsanto (2008, 109 minutes)

With operations in 46 countries, Monsanto has become the world leader in genetically modified organisms (GMOs), as well as one of the most controversial corporations in industrial history.

Since its founding in 1901, the U.S. multinational has faced trial after trial due to the toxicity of its products. Today, it has reinvented itself as a “life sciences” company converted to the virtues of sustainable development.


> May 9: Waterlife (2009, 109 minutes)

Waterlife is a documentary film about the Great Lakes that follows the flow of the lakes’ water from the Nipigon River to the Atlantic Ocean.

The film’s goal is to take viewers on a tour of an incredibly beautiful ecosystem that is facing complex challenges.


> May 30: Up the Yangtze (2007, 93 minutes)

This award-winning documentary follows the Shiu family as their home is destroyed by the rising waters of China’s Yangtze River, a consequence of the Three Gorges Project, the largest hydroelectric dam in history.


> June 13: Manufactured Landscapes (2006, 86 minutes)

This feature-length documentary focuses on internationally-renowned Canadian artist Edward Burtynsky, who has spent the last three decades creating large-scale photographs of landscapes transformed by industry.

In this film, we follow him to China as he travels the country capturing the evidence and effects of the country’s massive industrial revolution.


> June 27: Okanagan Dreams (2001, 46 minutes)

This documentary follows the migration of thousands of young Quebecers as they travel to British Columbia to harvest fruit in the lush Okanagan Valley. The camera follows several spirited youth into the orchards for seven weeks.

Although their work is integral to the local economy, the youth find that the experience is not just about making money.

It’s about awareness, self-discovery and exploring the world.


The Campbell River Library is also hosting a special Earth Day NFB documentary screening Friday, April 22.

At 2 p.m., the library will screen Hadwin’s Judgment. Written and directed by Sasha Snow, the 91-minute 2015 film is inspired by John Vaillant’s award-winning book The Golden Spruce.

Described as “a compelling hybrid of drama and documentary,” the film covers the events that led up to the infamous destruction of a 300-year-old tree held sacred by the indigenous Haida nation of Haida Gwaii.

Hadwin’s Judgement is a spellbinding and visually stunning account of environmentalism, obsession, and myth set in the Pacific Northwest,” according to the NFB. “It chronicles one man’s resolute struggle to reconcile what he regarded as an intolerable and conspiratorial affront — not just to the land, but to humanity as well.”

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