Nova Scotia Community·FILM FEST

Lunenburg Doc Fest goes on-site and online from Sept. 22-28

The ninth annual Lunenburg Doc Fest  presents a hybrid festival experience from Sept. 22 to 28.

From Docs on the Dock to the Dock Market, film buffs get together over the seven-day fest

The ninth annual Lunenburg Doc Fest  presents a hybrid festival experience from Sept. 22 to 28.

A stylized bird made of spliced film - white on red background - Lunenburg Doc Fest logo
"The festival's first hybrid film program gives our audience the choice to watch on-site or online, or both. Also new this year, Lunenburg Doc Fest waded into our ninth edition with a pre-festival 'Docs on the Dock' series — open-air screenings on our town's beautiful harbourfront," says executive director Pamela Segger.

"The Dock Market industry symposium for filmmakers and other industry professionals is also on offer in a new hybrid format (Sept 22-26). Otherwise, we're delighted that in person Filmmaker Q&As are back, and that the festival is leading two new initiatives for underrepresented media artists in Atlantic Canada, including The Launch, a $20,000 live pitch contest."​

We asked Segger to weigh in on a few other festival topics:

Indigenous woman with wide smile, black shirt and jacket with long feather earrings and necklace
Buffy Sainte-Marie: Carry It On — a retrospective on Buffy's impactful career and extraordinary life, opens the Lunenburg Doc Fest, 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 22 at the Lunenburg Opera House. (Courtesy Lunenburg Doc Fest)

Is there one film that has that WOW factor or creating a buzz already, even before the festival opens?

"Without a doubt, the buzz has grown for our September 22nd opener Buffy Sainte-Marie: Carry It On — a retrospective on Buffy's impactful career and extraordinary life, the film examines what it is like to be out of step and ahead of time. 

"Canada's contender for the Academy Award's "Best International Feature Film", Eternal Spring, and multi-award winner, Fire Of Love are also hot docs to watch."

Series of three film posters for the Lunenburg Doc Festival
(Courtesy Lunenburg Doc Fest)
What films are going to stick with audiences long after the festival is over? That one film people we think about for a long time.

"Among the many films that won't soon, if ever, be forgotten: 

"Somewhat like a film within a film by two first-time documentarians, The Exiles captures veteran filmmaker Christine Choy, a riveting character on camera as well as behind the camera, as she revisits her abandoned film work with Tiananmen Square survivors and exiled leaders of the 1989 protests."

"Roots of Fire features five award-winning musicians pushing against stereotypes of the American South to move the Cajun music of their ancestors forward — one of the musicians in the documentary will join us from Louisiana to perform after the screening."

"Scrap is a cinematic discovery of the vast and strangely beautiful places where things go to die, and the people who collect, restore, and recycle the world's scrap."

"Shouting Down Midnight recounts how the Wendy Davis filibuster of 2013 galvanized a new generation of activists and reveals what is at stake for us all in the struggle for reproductive freedom — timely given the overturn of Roe vs. Wade."

"Unloved: Huronia's Forgotten Children is part detective story, part social history, as the filmmaker's quest to discover the fate of her disabled brothers uncovers an institution's shocking history of neglect and abuse."

And what is the ONE stand-out thing (could be event, panel, gala, filmmaker)  about this year's festival?

"Aside from a return to the big screen and on-site Filmmaker Q&As, a stand out is a tie between the opening night Black & White Gala celebration inside and under that starry sky and our in person industry events at The Dock Market, such as the "Art of Co-Production" panel with Canadian documentary icons Ina Fichman (President, Intuitive Pictures) and Peter Raymont (President, White Pine Pictures), a session on 'Fair Use', and a workshop on "Crafting a Sizzle Reel" to unlock financing for a filmmaker's next documentary. Lunenburg Doc Fest will also present 12 free community events during the festival, including all shorts programs, a music performance, and more."

Earlier this year, the 2022 Doc Atlantic Breakthrough Program for BIPOC creators was announced. Can you tell us a bit about that program and how it is involved in the Lunenburg Doc Fest?

"In affiliation with the DOC Atlantic chapter of the Documentary Organization of Canada (DOC), Telefilm Canada, and Canada Media Fund, Lunenburg Doc Fest is proud to lead the inaugural DOC Atlantic Breakthrough Program for emerging talent from the Black, Indigenous and People of Colour (BIPOC) communities. The Program offers valuable support that helps each artist to develop and pitch their documentary project through mentorship, training, and introductions to key decision makers in the film industry."

"A second initiative, The Launch live pitch contest, is funded through Nova Scotia's Creative Industries Fund and co-presented by Bell Fund and RBC. The Launch features five emerging Nova Scotian media artists from underrepresented communities competing for the $20,000 prize package. Each filmmaker has five minutes to pitch a jury of industry professionals, and the audience — the audience can win a prize too.  We invite everyone to join this free-admission and exciting event, choose their favourite pitch, and have a chance to win local goodies plus a Film Pass to Doc Fest 2023, our 10th edition."

(Courtesy Lunenburg Doc Fest)
CBC SHORTS: What's In A Name 

The power of names and language unify this selection of shorts that explore changing identities and the intrinsic qualities and impact of words. These shorts will screen at Central United Church, 283 Lincoln St., Lunenburg, Friday, Sept. 23 at 6 p.m.

The docs include: Words Matter, My Name is 張麟發 Tommy Lan Phat Truong, Fatima in Kabul and Patty vs. Patty.