Saturday, April 29, 2017

Two movies

I have seen two movies at Hot Docs thus far.

The Workers Cup (which, I know, should have an apostrophe and it drives me bonkers that it doesn't, but I'm trying to relax a bit about that) was my opening night movie.

Qatar is hosting the 2022 World Cup, and companies are competing to build the stadiums and hotels and infrastructure that will be needed. Workers (all men) are recruited from Ghana, Nepal, Bangladesh, Kenya... wherever there are people who will do almost anything for some money! When they get to Qatar, they find they cannot leave the work camps, they can't leave the country, they can't even get into town to meet anyone, without the permission of the company.

In an attempt to build loyalty among their workers and to show the world what great employers they are, these construction companies arrange a football tournament. The film follows one team, talking to the men about their homes, their hopes and their dreams as they compete. The sport is fun, but ultimately it is all a lie.

A bit of an emotional roller-coaster and an eye-opening conversation starter. Highly recommended!

Friday morning I was volunteering at the Docs for Schools program, where we bring in classes to see a festival movie. This is a great program and I wish my daughter's school would take more advantage of it!

The movie was Bee Nation, a story about the first First Nations Provincial Spelling Bee in Saskatchewan.

It's a charming and heartwarming story of a group of children on reserves in Saskatchewan who compete in a spelling bee. The winners in the three age groups get to go to Toronto to compete in the national Spelling Bee of Canada. It's a movie about children spelling and striving, and not about the state of the First Nations in Canada, but there are enough bits to show that the filmmakers could have made a diatribe about lack of education funding, lack of opportunity and lack of respect.

My dark picture of William and the director at the theatre

The best part was little William Kaysaywaysemat III and his family who attended for a Q&A. Very self-assured, very calm and dignified, that kid should go far.

Today, something probably a bit crazy -- I'll let you know!

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