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Attention film lovers: Best of Hot Docs kicks off tonight

'Migrant Dreams' looks at the lives of temporary foreign workers
The Best of Hot Docs Sudbury kicks off tonight. Supplied image.

Looking for something to do this week? Look no further — the Best of Hot Docs Sudbury kicks off tonight and runs until Nov. 13.

“This is a very friendly, accessible film festival,” said Beth Mairs, managing director of Sudbury Indie Cinema Co-op, which is presenting the film festival.

“It's all walkable downtown. We're showing 20 films over five different venues that are all within a five-minute walk of each other.”

The Best of Hot Docs Sudbury has been running yearly since 2013, and is a satellite event of Hot Docs Canadian International Film Festival in Toronto.

“What's so interesting is the timing in terms of the fact that this documentary film festival will be focusing on a lot of social justice issues,” Mairs said.

“People who are social justice loving are all feeling a little devastated based on the U.S. election results. This is an antidote to that.”

The festival kicks off at Sudbury Secondary School tonight at 7 p.m. with the screening of “Migrant Dreams,” director Min Sook Lee's look at the temporary foreign workers who do farm labour in Ontario.

Evelyn Encalada, who appears in the film and is an advocate for temporary foreign workers, will be speaking at the film screening this evening.

The York University labour studies adjunct professor, who volunteers with the organization Justice for Migrant Workers, said when people purchase “local” Ontario produce, it's usually thanks to temporary foreign workers.

“It's supposed to be local, but it's produced by global workers that have to leave their families, can't bring their families here, and that work in really horrible conditions,” she said.

Encalada said these workers are often ignored by the rest of the community, who will even avoid shopping on the day they get paid or cross to the other side of the street if they see them.

All-access festival passes cost $70. You can also purchase a five-pack of tickets for $40 or $10 for single tickets. Some screenings are free, however.

Visit Sudbury Indie Cinema's website for a full schedule, more information on the films and to purchase tickets.

Here's some of what's playing:

Nov. 10 

Migrant Dreams, 7 p.m., Sudbury Secondary School
When Umi and Dwipa left Indonesia to work in an Ontario greenhouse as part of Canada's Temporary Foreign Worker Program, they hoped the jobs would provide the opportunity and income for a better life. They didn't expect that fixers and false promises would lead to deception and exploitation.

Nov. 11

Koneline: Our Land Beautiful, 7 p.m., Sudbury Secondary School
A sensual, cinematic celebration of northwestern British Columbia, and all the dreamers who move across it. Some hunt on the land. Some mine it. They all love it.

Nov. 12 

When Two Worlds Collide, 2:10 p.m., Open Studio, and 2:15 p.m., Downtown Movie Lounge
The conflict between Peruvian leaders who will stop at nothing to extract natural resources from the Amazon and the Indigenous people who live there.

Tickled, 7:30 p.m., School of Architecture
Watching Tickled is best when no one tells you what's going to happen, or what it's about, other than this: journalist David Farrier happens to find a strange video online for a sport called "competitive endurance tickling." 

Nov. 13

2 Soft Things, 2 Hard Things, 2:15 p.m., Downtown Movie Lounge
As a small group in Nunavut, Canada prepare for a seminal LGBTQ Pride celebration in the Arctic, the film explores how colonization and religion have shamed and erased traditional Inuit beliefs about sexuality and family structure and how, 60 years later, a new generation of Inuit are actively “unshaming” their past. 

Mattress Men, 4 p.m., Downtown Movie Lounge
In an attempt to save his struggling mattress business, sixty-something Michael Flynn reinvents himself as the eccentric online personality “Mattress Mick.”


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Heidi Ulrichsen

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