Original title: Back Home
Directed by: Nisha Platzer
Produced by: Joella Cabalu (Back Home Productions, Canada)
Country of production: Canada, Cuba
Expected release: September, 2022
Production stage: Post Production
Budget: $249,347 (100% in place)
1st feature: Yes
Looking for: US and International distributors, sales agents, and film festivals with a track record of working with creative experimental documentaries.
Back Home follows a sister’s pursuit to get to know her older brother, 20 years after he took his own life. Through intimate recollections re-imagined on 16mm and Super8, and handmade visuals, she connects with the friends who knew him best – his chosen family. Floating between memory and present time, Back Home is a fragmented meditation on the transformative power of grieving in community.
Nisha Platzer is a queer artist and filmmaker from Vancouver. Her films meld sounds and imagery that you can dream and drown in. Her last short film, Vaivén (2020) won the best film award at aluCine Latin Film & Media Arts Festival and competed at festivals worldwide including Raindance, Festival Nouveau Cinema, FIDBA and Ji.hlava IDFF. Nisha studied at the Escuela Internacional de Cine y Televisión in Cuba. Her work has been supported by the Canada Council for the Arts, the BC Arts Council and the National Film Board of Canada. She teaches handmade film workshops and is a member of Iris Film Collective. An alumnus of IDFAcademy, the VIFF mentorship program, and the Hot Docs Doc Accelerator Lab, her work can be found in music videos, narrative and experimental films. Currently, she is in post production on her first feature documentary, Back Home, supported by Telefilm Talent to Watch.
Joella Cabalu is a Filipino Canadian documentary filmmaker based in Vancouver. Her films lay bare narratives about intimacies, identities, and relationships. Her first mid-length documentary, It Runs in the Family (2015) — a personal exploration of acceptance and what the modern queer family can be in the Filipino diaspora — won the Audience Choice Award at the Vancouver Queer Film Festival and a special jury mention at CAAMFest for the Loni Ding Award for Social Justice Documentary. Joella has worked as a producer alongside women directors to realize critically acclaimed short documentaries, including Born Identities (TIFF 2021), On Falling (Tribeca 2020), Biker Bob’s Posthumous Adventure (MDFF 2019), Do I Have Boobs Now? (Slamdance 2017), and FIXED! (DOXA 2017). She is producing her first feature documentary Back Home with support from the Telefilm Talent to Watch fund.
Original title: Caiti Blues
Directed by: Justine Harbonnier
Produced by: Nellie Carrier (Cinquième maison, Canada), Julie Paratian (Sister Productions, France)
Country of production: Canada, France
Expected release: November, 2022
Production stage: Post Production
Budget: $264 127 (63% in place)
1st feature: Yes
Looking for: Gap financing, festivals, sales agents
Caiti Blues portrays the daily life of a 30 year old singer, Caiti Lord, and the locals of Madrid, US, an ancien ghost town transformed in a landmark for hippies and marginal people. Through Caiti’s life and artistic practice, this film explores more universal struggles such as self-acceptance, the burden of social norms and the ideological challenges of her generation in the US current political landscape.
After getting a Master’s degree in comparative literature, Justine directed her first short film, Angèle. Distributed by Spira (Canada), the film had its world premiere at the MoMA in New York. All while directing experimentals projects – including the video poem Waste Land, which was distributed by La Maison de la poésie in Montreal – Justine participated in documentary development for production companies. Her second short film, Andrew Keegan is Moving was screened in various film festivals (FID Marseille, RIDM, DOXA). Justine is currently developing her first feature Caiti Blues, with Sister productions (France) and Cinquième Maison (Québec).
Nellie Carrier produced in 2016 her first feature, Sashinka by Kristina Wagenbauer, (FNC, Seattle int. film fest., Canadian Screen awards 2019). In 2017, She co-created Cinquième maison and produced the same year the short films Girlfriends (TIFF 2018) and Looking for strong woman (best director Rhode Island festival, best short film Berlin film fest. and Big water fest.). She co-produced in 2019 the short film As prings comes by Marie-Ève Juste (TIFF, FNC 2020) and Miryam Charles’ first feature This house as line producer (Berlinale – forum, Hot Docs 2022), both with Embuscade films. She is currently co-producing the documentary Caiti Blues (copro France-Canada), by Justine Harbonnier and the short films Ghislaine (Franie-Éléonore Bernier), and Nuit blonde (Gabrielle Demers). She is developing short and features, including fiction feature Querelle de Roberval by Gabrielle Demers.
Original title: میزان
Directed by: Shahab Mihandoust
Produced by: Shahab Mihandoust (Canada)
Country of production: Iran, Canada
Expected release: August, 2022
Production stage: Fine Cut
Budget: $98,000 CAD (100% in place)
1st feature: Yes
Looking for: Festivals, Sales agents and distributors
Beside its significance in the physical geography and its salience to the history, economy and politics of the The Middle East, waterways of Khuzestan in Iran remain to be a significant source of income for the communities who inhabit the region. Meezan (Scales) looks at the physical and emotional aspects of labor among these communities and reflect on the relation between bodies and scales.
Shahab Mihandoust is an Iranian-Canadian filmmaker. His practice stands at the intersection between cinema and anthropology. Inspired by ethnographic approaches to research and creation his work deals with issues of identity and labor in relation to natural and built environments to study how social, cultural and political processes affect people and places. His attention in his practice is to how everyday social and sensorial experiences are formed in response to current circumstances and transformations of our environments. Shahab’s first documentary, Zagros, which won the national award at RIDM 2018, follows the creation of carpets across the Western mountains of Iran to reflect on the ways labor and culture are interconnected. Zagros has been shown and awarded internationally in several documentary and ethnographic festivals.
Original title: Yintah
Directed by: Michael Toledano; Jennifer Wickam; Brenda Michell
Produced by: Jennifer Wickam; Brenda Michell; Michael Toledano; Franklin Lopez (Yintah Film Ltd., Canada)
Country of production: Canada
Runtime: 90'; 44' (CBC broadcast)
Expected release: January, 2023
Production stage: Rough cut edit
Budget: $1,252,000 CAD (100% in place)
1st feature: Yes
Looking for: International distributor; festivals
Yintah (the Wet’suwet’en word for land) follows Howilhkat Freda Huson and Sleydo’ Molly Wickham as they mobilize their nation in a decade-long battle against fossil fuel corporations, the Canadian government, and militarized police. Building homes and a healing centre on the route proposed for a series of gas and oil pipeline projects, Wet’suwet’en families assert their right to protect their land.
Michael Toledano is an award winning filmmaker and journalist based in British Columbia Canada, who has been documenting the historic, Indigenous-led resistance to fossil fuel pipelines on Wet’suwet’en territory since 2014. Michael has a strong background in photojournalism and documentary filmmaking. His work has been published by VICE, Al Jazeera America, Democracy Now!, CBC Fifth Estate, and shown across every major Canadian television news network. He is known for vibrant, ground-level documentation of social movements ranging from Black Lives Matter Toronto to No One is Illegal.
Jennifer Wickham is a member of Cas Yikh (Grizzly House) of the Gidimt’en (Bear/Wolf) Clan of the Wet’suwet’en people. She fell in love with Wedzin Kwa in 2012 and moved home to defend her against the multiple pipelines proposed through her traditional territories. (ctd. below)
Brenda Michell is Chief K-eltiy of the Unist’ot’en people of the Wet’suwet’en Nation. She has lived in the Wet’suwet’en communities of Witset and Burns Lake all her life, and was groomed to participate in Wet’suwet’en governance from a young age. Brenda is trained as a Wet’suwet’en language instructor and has worked as a post-secondary education coordinator for the Lake Babine Nation Band for decades. Brenda is a grandmother of ten and this fight is about protecting the Yintah for her grandchildren. She believes that this film is an important way to tell her people’s story and listen to the words of her Grandmother Knedebeas who always told her children, “Don’t let no white man take my yintah.”
Jennifer Wickham is the Media Coordinator for Gidimt’en Checkpoint, a published poet, and is committed to defending the land for future generations. Her professional career includes being a high school educator, youth advocate, and work in language and culture revitalization.
Born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, producer and editor Franklin López has been making political films for over 30 years, with a focus on social justice and environmental issues. He has published hundreds of films online since 1998 under the name subMedia, which have been watched by millions, broadcast on international TV networks and screened in alleyways and movie theaters all around the world. He has received accolades from the New York Times and Wired Magazine and had an entire chapter dedicated to this work in Breaking the Spell, a book about video activism.