After Images from DOXA

For the fourth year, I volunteered at DOXA: Documentary Film Festival. Contributing 24 hours of volunteer time, one gets a pass to see as many screenings as you can possibly fit in.  In my case, that was 20. More if you count the “shorts” as separate films. I’m sure the film makers would want them counted separately, so make that 30.

On Sunday, the final day, I went home after my volunteer shift. I’d planned to stay for Manifesto, but felt “psychic overload” and possibly a cold coming on as well, because of a 12-hour film viewing/volunteering day on Saturday. Last night I slept 12 hours (off and on) from 6 to 6.

And now I’m trying to process aftershocks or after images. I’ve always been an active dreamer – and as a child couldn’t separate my dream life from waking life. I regularly visited my Auntie Elsie in Denmark and to my sisters’ embarrassment would give people an update on playing jelly bean games and eating orange sandwiches if asked how was I?

So perhaps I overdid it. I’m experiencing post-documentary stress syndrome. Some specific “stills” keep flashing on my interior screen.

The yellow markings on the asphalt from “For My Mother.”

Rita stuffing chocolate into her apron from “The Grown-ups”.

The man who’d previously yelled, “Nein! nein! nein!” to the woman trying to learn to use her computer, then weeping with frustration when he couldn’t make his own work (“Digital Immigrants”)

The young man who wore a suit to school and inspired by Regis switched from white shirt to red from “Swagger” dancing down the street and considering being a drug lookout.

So many more.

Enhanced by hearing filmmakers and panels talk about the issues and the people and the footage left for, for example, “Mermaids 2” or sequels. The audience members often had ideas for follow-up films. We wanted to know: what happens next? We wanted to know more about individuals we were fascinated by. The little girl who voices her fear of Mickey Mouse and Barbie. Sabrina who unsuccessfully ran for office in West Virginia.

We can follow up on some – The students who successfully get past the rigorous admission requirement of La Femis – in Claire Simon’s Le Concours – will undoubtedly produce films that might arrive at DOXA in future years.

On the sidelines of the films themselves, I met some interesting global citizens. Young people in Vancouver for limited times find DOXA a possibility for a volunteer experience, since many other organizations require a four-month commitment. Several fellow volunteers I met could easily have a documentary made of their experience and the context of their being in Vancouver.

Has anyone done a documentary about DOXA volunteers? Perhaps volunteers from years past have gone on to be more involved in documentary film making.

Is anyone filming for a documentary on what the Green Party holding the balance of power in the upcoming (probable) minority government may mean for democracy in BC?

What now? I’ll go to the volunteer party next Sunday. I’ll volunteer again next year. I’ll share my enthusiasm for the impact of documentary films with friends. In Le Concours one of the applicants said they’d considered politics or was it law, and decided that film making could change the world.

I’d love to hear comments or corrections …  Did you do DOXA this year? What was your experience?





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