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New film fest tackles social justic

Social film fest aims to be annual event

By: Scott Hayes

  |  Posted: Wednesday, Mar 05, 2014 06:00 am

More Images - Click to Enlarge
  • HERE FOR GOOD – Plastic Paradise, a film at the Justice Film Festival, shows that life may change, but plastic surely doesn't.
    HERE FOR GOOD – Plastic Paradise, a film at the Justice Film Festival, shows that life may change, but plastic surely doesn't.
    Supplied photo
    CHILD SOLDIER – "War Child" is one of the films planned for the Justice Film Festival in St. Albert. It's estimated hundreds of thousands of children fight in war.

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Friday, March 7
MLA Stephen Khan will open the festival

City councillors Tim Osborne and Gilles Prefontaine will act as emcees

7 p.m.
Plastic Paradise: The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, with special guests
Fin Free and city councillor Cathy Heron

9 p.m.
The Avenue, with special guest Rebecca Lippiatt, a single mother who lives with her two children in the Alberta Avenue area

Saturday, March 8
MP Brent Rathgeber will open the screenings

1 p.m.
Gently Whispering the Circle Back, with special guest Beth Wishart MacKenzie, the producer/director of the film

3 p.m.
Hidden Pictures, with special guest Krista Osborne, a local therapist, and Doreen Slessor, the executive director of St. Albert Stop Abuse in Families (SAIF)

7 p.m.
Fresh, with special guest Susan Roberts of Growing Food Security ( and Kyle Iseke from Darcy’s Meats

9 p.m. - War Child, with special guest Yvonne Chiu of Multicultural Health Brokers

All films screen at Next Christian Community Church, 490, 140 St. Albert Trail (Village Landing). Access is in the back of the mall, facing the St. Albert Transit depot.

Attendance is free as per the social justice theme, but people could become Friends of the Festival for any monetary donation.
The St. Albert Food Bank will also have a collection box for donations on site as well.

For more information on the films, visit

There will be lots to think about, discuss and maybe even take action about this weekend. The St. Albert Justice Film Festival marks its debut appearance with a slate of six documentaries that span the gamut of environmentalism, political activism, sustainable agriculture and more.

“We’re trying to raise awareness,” explained chair Don Knutson.

“There’s any number of issues out there that fall into the realm of social justice and not everybody is going to get motivated by the same thing. Part of the reason [we’re bringing in] the festival is to present as broad a scope of material as we can.”

He added that it gives not-for-profit agencies a venue to reach larger audiences for important social issues.

The festival started in a neighbourhood of Calgary and it has been touring around through other cities including Bow Valley, Dawson Creek, Fort Macleod, Red Deer and Sarnia. The vision of the original Marda Loop Justice Film Festival is “the emergence of a sustainable world of communities at peace, living in just relationship one with another,” according to its website at

The films are set to be screened Friday and Saturday at the Next Christian Community Church in the back of Village Landing mall. Co-organizer Charlene Zoltenko emphasized that this is not because the festival has any religious affiliation. The site used to be a multiplex theatre up until several years ago.

“So far it’s being really well received,” she said.

It is hoped that the festival will become an annual fixture for the city. Screenings this year will include such films as Fresh, Gently Whispering the Circle Back, Hidden Pictures, Plastic Paradise: The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, The Avenue and War Child. Each film will also feature a presenter who will speak about the subject matter of that particular screening. The list of presenters includes some of the filmmakers themselves.

She added that there is something for people of all interests.

“I think it’s an all-around good event.”

Knutson agreed but elaborated that the films are important too.

“It’s a brand new venture for us but we’re really excited about it,” he said. “They’re all really good films and they all offer perspectives that you don’t always see through normal news sources. These stories are a lot more personal.”


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