REELWORLD FILM FESTIVAL continuing to April 15.
SHOOTING FOR CHANGE (Lalita Krishna). 51 minutes. April 14, noon. Rating: NNN Rating: NNNNN
The power of art to effect social change is always a strong theme for a doc (see Born Into Brothels), and Shooting For Change is no exception. The Focus media arts program in Toronto's Regent Park gets at-risk kids to write and shoot videos to gain skills, tell their stories and build self-confidence. It's a noble and inspiring program, and its mentor, Adonis Huggins, comes across as a modest, calm hero and role model.
Director Lalita Krishna bookends the film with the launch of the fourth annual Regent Park Film Festival, and in between introduces us to some of the ethnically diverse budding filmmakers and the issues facing them. It's a tough call who's cuter, the handful of girls who make a doc about the hijab or the adorable kid who plays Bikeman, a superhero who dispenses cycling safety tips.
FINDING MY WAY (Charles Kassatly). 52 minutes. April 15, 1:30 pm. Rating: NN
Finding my way is both the name of this doc and the name of a work placement program run by the Anishnawbe Health Centre on Queen East. Charles Kassatly's film looks at the centre and its ongoing efforts to help the Aboriginal homeless population.
There's a lot of information here - about how and why people end up on the street and why some municipal initiatiatives have failed. (Those Anishnawbe vans used to dispense food and drinks to the homeless; now they encourage the homeless to go to shelters.)
Kassatly relies a bit too much on talking heads, and the doc feels unfocused and repetitive at times. It also tells too much when it could show. A shame, because this is an important issue that demands attention.