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ReFrame Film Festival 2022: Creating connections with the community and the environment
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ReFrame Film Festival 2022: Creating connections with the community and the environment

Connecting with the environment and community at the 2022 ReFrame Film Festival
“Conserving Catchacoma” is a documentary by Mitch Bowmile, a Toronto-born documentary filmmaker. It will be one of 71 films that will be shown at the 2022 ReFrame Film Festival. The festival runs from January 27 through February 4. The film raises awareness about Canada’s oldest-surviving stand of old-growth eastern-hemlock, which is located in an area of the Kawarthas called the Catchacoma Forest. Pictured is Dr. Peter Quinby (chief scientist, Peterborough-based non profit Ancient Forest Exploration & Research). (Photo courtesy Mitch Bowmile

From January 27 through February 4, 2022 ReFrame Film Festival connects our communities when it is most needed.

Tickets and passes are available for purchase at, where you’ll also find information about the virtual festival format.

I had the pleasure of speaking with Amy Siegel, ReFrame’s creative director, about how this year’s festival covers environmental and social justice topics.

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“Every year for the past 18 years ReFrame has brightened up the depths of winter,” shares Siegel. “I’m proud to say that ReFrame 2022 is here to do that when we need it most. We are looking forward to the conversations and connections that come from watching these films together, even when we are apart.”

“We’re living in a deeply polarized world right now. There are many films this year about the struggle to have meaningful conversations across all boundaries. What does it mean for people to have different opinions? What is the role of art in politics? Many of the answers come from the value and generosity of having vulnerable conversations.”

ReFrame 2022’s environmental films are not only focused on the power and impact of conversation but also have two underlying themes: collective action and food justice.

VIDEO: “Food For The Rest of Us” trailer

As we deal with the ongoing climate crisis and the ongoing pandemic, food security, food sovereignty and sustainable food production are key concerns.

“Many of the films at ReFrame this year explore issues of food justice,” Siegel explains. “Films like Mnoomin, Gift of the Creator reflect on the cultural role of food and food sovereignty, while films like Food for the Rest of Us ask questions about our local relations to food.”

Mnoomin: Gift of the CreatorReFrame 2022 will feature a local film. Mnoomin is also part of the all-Canadian short film program called “The Earth Sustains Us.” This short film program is packed with premieres and powerful films — including several local films — that you’ll have a difficult time watching if you miss ReFrame 2022.

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The feature-length documentary Food for the Rest of UsSiegel shares.

“The film looks at four community food projects across North America, each in its own way exploring how we can develop more sustainable and equitable access to food,” Siegel says. “Director Caroline Cox will be speaking at ReFrame Festival this year. Cox is from the Northwest Territories. She went to school at Lindsay, Ontario. She is excited to be talking at ReFrame 2022 because she still has strong roots in this area.”

“Food for the Rest of Us is particularly interesting because one of the four profiles is a butcher who is trying to reconnect people to humane and local meat supply chains,” Siegel adds. “It is rare in an environmental film about farming practices to bring in sustainable meat eating. That’s an interesting choice.”

VIDEO: “Follow the Drinking Gourd” trailer

Follow the Drinking GourdAnother film on the topic is Food Justice.

“About the Black food justice movement, this film links the legacy of slavery in the United States to land loss and climate change,” Siegel says. “It manages to do that in 60 minutes while also being accessible and family friendly.”

The second underlying theme, collective actions, encompasses both activism as well as accountability in addressing climate emergencies.

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“We see this collective action taking many forms,” Siegel explains, including the local short Conserving Catchcoma, which is premiering at ReFrame 2022 as part of the local “Earth Sustains Us” short film program.

“Conserving Catchacoma reveals the need for collective action to preserve old growth trees here in our own community,” Siegel says. “Many people take the natural beauty of this region for granted.”

Mitch Bowmile directs the film about efforts to conserve Canada’s largest old-growth eastern-hemlock stand. This forest, located in Catchacoma just north of Peterborough is home to at most 10 species that are at risk.

VIDEO: “Arica” trailer

“There is also the collective action involved in the lawsuits holding governments and corporations accountable in films like Arica and Youth v Gov,” Siegel adds.

AricaLars Edman, a Chilean-Swedish filmmaker, was born in Chile. He grew up in Boliden, Sweden, where a Swedish mining company dumps toxic waste into a Chilean river. Here, collective action takes the form of the question, “How do we hold first-world nations and corporations responsible for toxic waste?”

Youth v Gov21 youth activists from the United States of America follow their case against the government. They argue that the government has violated their constitutional rights by creating the crisis caused by six decades of climate action. The film is more than a lawsuit.

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In the Canadian film Wochiigii Lo: End of PeaceSiegel states that collective action is seen in the form of alliances between nations.

This film follows Diane Abel (West Moberly First Nations) and Chief Roland Willson (Canada), who fight to preserve their treaty, and stop construction of a multibillion-dollar megadam along the Peace River in British Columbia. Heather Hatch, director of ReFrame 2022, will speak.

Toxic Neighbor is a short film about Eugene Bourgeois, who located his sheep farm next to the world’s largest nuclear facility, the Bruce Nuclear Station in Kincardine, Ontario. Eugene spent the rest of his adult life pushing for greater transparency and accountability from his nuclear neighbor, after his family and sheep were repeatedly exposed.

VIDEO: “Toxic Neighbour” trailer

Walking with plantsThis is a visual and musically stunning exploration on how Styawat (Lee Joseph), moves between academic and cultural worlds. Styawat grew-up in Squamish B.C. but gained a deeper understanding of herself as a Skwzw7mesh woman. She returned to her family home. She then contemplates the relationship she has with plants and their role as teachers.

GreenUP is excited to once again be a sponsor of the ReFrame Film festival. Visit your passes and tickets now and join us for the local and international conversations and actions that these incredible films inspire.

The online film guide contains information about all 71 films that will be screening at the 2022 ReFrame Film Festival.

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