Documentary Film Series

Twice monthly, on the 2nd and 3rd Saturday of the months, the Carnegie Auditorium is filled with eager viewers looking to catch the latest scintillating documentaries from some of the best filmmakers across the globe. The documentaries chosen by curator Terence Lui relate directly to the content of the Hum101/201 course outline. These films cover politics, nature, art, society, philosophy, science and more. Delicious cakes and beverages are served to help feed our appetites.

When: 2nd and 3rd Saturday of the month, starting at 6 p.m
Where: Carnegie Centre Auditorium (Main @ Hastings)
Curated by Terence Lui
Next Screening: August 12

Past Screenings:

Urban Planning and Social Justice

Geography, is a critical factor in the quality of our lives. Where we are located in Community Mapping – which is the study of the spatial relationship between demographically distinct groups, as well as the services and amenities that are pertinent to them in a given community – determines our access to sources that help
us develop “agency”. Which, as empowerment, will ultimately place us on the scale of the social hierarchy. In that sense, “community mapping” as a reference tool in urban planning, is a political act. One in which government uses urban planning and the built
environment to reinforce the kind of society they desire, and dictates how the scales of social justice will be balanced.
This week, In the face of gentrification of the downtown east-side, we take a look at films related to urban planning and social justice. In hopes of forging new perspectives and actions toward our city government’s “renewal” plans for this community we call
home. Join us. (T.L.)

What is cultural landscape? (animation 2016) -2m 50s

What Is urban planning? (animation 2015) -1m 40s

Gastown project : Wendy Pedersen (2012) -3min

Once upon a rooftop (2010) -30min

South African city futures :The urban planning of South Africa (2016) -1hr.


 January 14

The other side of the lens: Documenting the documentarians.

Nan Goldin “The Ballad of Sexual Dependency” (2014) -10min.
Nan Goldin is an American photographer who documents the lives of the often marginalized – although she will dispute that label, herself. Which makes turning the camera onto this controversial photographer even more interesting. Her subjects may be mostly women, the LGBT community, or addicts, or all at once. But her work “The Ballad of Sexual Dependency” is really about peoples relationship with “love”. That’s one of the reasons why the visceral power of her “gritty” photographs are universally
affecting. This short film illuminates the personal perspective, philosophy, and methodology behind this documentary artist’s work. (T.L.)
Bill Cunningham New York (2010) – 1 hr.24min.
“You see, if you don’t take money, they can’t tell you what to do, kid.” At 81, Bill Cunningham lives by his own rules. A joyously creative New York City street photographer who documents the way people dress for the New York Times fashion pages, no less! As a testament to his integrity, Bill is a figure revered by the snobby and often pretentious fashion “establishment”, while living a life of values set far apart from theirs. How does one create a unique, simple, yet fulfilling place for oneself in the
world, with little? This unlikely legend has done it. It matters little whether you have interest in high society, photography, or fashion. Bill Cunningham’s life is a simple one that anyone will do well to take inspiration from. (T.L.)

The Take, 2004 (1hr.27min). In suburban Argentina, a group of laid-off workers take matters into their own hands amidst their country’s economic collapse, and organizes themselves to take over their closed auto-factory to create their own work. How’s that for initiative? Canadian journalist/activist Avi Lewis (formerly of CityTV), and his wife, author Naomi Klein, documented this group of spirited workers’ progress in 2004. Find out whether the authorities were able to stop them; whether they held their democratic system together when things got tough; and more importantly, what social and economic significance, if any, might their manifesto: “Occupy. Resist. Produce.” have on our global workforce today? Open your hearts, and put on your thinking caps for The Take! (T.L.)

Mother Truckers, 2009 (8min30sec) A minority work force that is expanding in the 21st century: Women Truckers! Are you ready to meet these awesome, strong willed, mother truckin’, diesel riggin’, payload dumpin’ sistas – and see whether they’re able to deliver in a traditional man’s game, in the long haul? Well then, buckle up pilgrim! (Yes, pun always intended.) (T.L.)

November 15

Changing School Paradigms – Sir Ken Robinson (2011) -12min.
An except from one of (professor, international advisor on education) Sir Ken Robinson’s lectures on the current systemic dysfunctions of our North American education paradigm-brilliantly, and indelibly illustrated by RSAnimate’s signature animation format.

Through Our Eyes: Living with Asperger’s (2015) – 32min.
This affecting amateur documentary made by Alyssa Huber, a college student with Aspergers (a mild form of autism), serves as a testimony to the talent, intelligence, and social validity of these often misunderstood and undervalued people with this “learning disability”.

Interview With A Dyslexic (2012) -11min.
Ever feel your learning disability will forever exclude you from society’s A-list of successes? Stop following that “script”! In this surprise clip, a globally successful and widely respected person we know, shares his experience of unknowingly living with Dyslexia for nearly all his life. Find out who it is… I’ve already given you a clue in this “blurp” (yuk, yuk).
Headstrong Nation: Hidden World of Dyslexia & ADHD (2005) -27min.
This independent film empowers us with more than insight and information about something that we might all on some scale identify with, but by the reassuring rational courage with which these people deal with their circumstances.
Nepal’s Nightmare (2015) -26min
If you feel that government has failed us badly in the DTES, you might also take inspiration from the common people of a 2015 earthquake devastated Nepal. Where without much help from their neglectful government, citizens of Nepal with some kindly international assistance, learn how to survive independently in spite of the government in power. The photo journalists lands you right at ground zero! Devastating.

October 8

Marie’s Dictionary (10min)
Marie Wilcox, the last fluent speaker of Wukchumni, tasks herself with documenting her endangered language for future generations in creating a dictionary. Awesome!

Language Apprentice (6min)
We meet Arlene Blackdeer from the central great lakes, who is apprenticing in the Language Division of the Ho-Chunk Nation to revitalize their traditional language.

Language as Window to Human Nature (11min)
Why we culturally choose our particular ways to express what we really mean. This animated short film (literally), illustrates!

Why do Cats Meow? (4min)
Cats have more than one language? who knew? From the BBC’s Cats Uncovered.

The Science of “Forest Bathing” (20min)
Whether you do it literally or figuratively, “bathing” in the beauty of nature promotes physical and mental well-being. But what are the critical elements, or “language” of this practice that scientifically qualifies its benefits? Just ask the people who have invested
million$ in research and implementation of this ritual on a national scale – the Japanese.

What plants talk about (52min)
Plants have no brains, let alone a mouth to speak a language. Yet, they communicate their desires to other flora and fauna around them in order to survive and propagate. What then is the language they use to communicate? What constitutes a language?

September 17

The Brain -What is reality (2015) -50 min.
Writer and neuroscientist, David Eagleman at Stanford University’s dept. of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, explains how our brain actually forms our reality, and consequently the world we exist in. (T.L.)

Child Genius (2006) – 1hr. 15Min.
This documentary not only takes a fascinating look at the child prodigy in and of him/herself, but more importantly, the kind of environment it requires to nurture such children – in order to allow their talents to truly make a difference in their lives and ours. (T.L.)


Inside Google (2010) – 45min.

There have been few comprehensive documentary looks into digital giant, Google – especially in recent years (which in itself says a lot). This National Geographic documentary at the start of this decade, reminds us of Google’s ambitions and seemingly benevolent objectives, then. How has the process played out for Google, and for us in the intervening years? Has Google given us the agency to truly transform our lives for the better, or have we simply become human batteries to power an artificial intelligence who rule our very lives?   (T.L.)

Amazon’s Retail Revolution (2014) – 1hr.

This BBC documentary gives a great overview of this digital retail giant’s size, reach and scope. The film explores it’s business model, while exposing it’s often dubious if not dehumanizing management practices. Meet the founder and the leadership behind this global business ambition, and judge for yourselves the wisdom behind Amazon’s mentality, and to chart its future trajectory as it continues to affected the marketplace, and YOU !                 (T.L.)


America Before Columbus – 2010 (1hr. 40min) Christopher Columbus has been credited for discovering North America. But what was the land, the people, the flora and fauna like before his arrival and the subsequent European colonization of this land? What was life like for the early settlers themselves? This National Geographic produced feature length film broadly tells this story with the help of historians and dramatic visual reenactments on top of a sweeping score. (T.L.)

A Day In the Life of a Donald Trump Impersonator -2016 (5.5 min) Since American presidential hopeful Donald Trump has basically become a parody of himself these days, we’d thought to present this short documentary from Vice, so that you may know how to distinguish the real Donald from any imitators. That’s not assuming you actually care to know. But for the fun of it. Impromptu Donald Trump impressions from the audience is encouraged! (T.L.)


American Nomads (2011) 1Hr.28min
As the summer heat in Vancouver takes hold of our restless spirits and magnifies our yearning to live a life of freedom on the open highways, we present American Nomads -a film by British travel writer Richard Grant based on his book of the same title. This film takes us on a languid road trip through the US, and connects us with a hidden segment of it’s population who have chosen to live the meandering life of nomads. What makes these individuals tick? What drives them to reject the high social value that others place on permanence and stability as the cornerstone of our mainstream North American bourgeois culture? Where on the scale does your own story fit? Drop the CAA trip planner, and forget the destination. Get in the car and come with us on this wayward sojourn.

The Mobile Love Industry (2015) 30min
In this segment from the Vice series called Love Industries, we look at the ways in which mobile apps have become an essential part of our search for the next hook-up, true love, and everything in between.