Water Docs Festival 2014

WaterDocs 2013

The 2013 festival was a great success!

We hope to see you next March at the AGO in Toronto.

RBC Blue Water Project logo

A documentary film festival about all things water, Water Docs presents features and shorts, discussions with special guests and filmmakers, and opportunities to take action to protect water. The festival informs, educates and activates our audiences about water and water issues. The likelihood of having enough clean, fresh water is diminishing everywhere. Ontarians can no longer afford to be complacent about water. Attitudes and practices must change – now, not ten years from now. So, for the love of water, come join us!
Here’s what happened this year. Click the schedule to see detailed information about each film.Buy Tickets

OPENING NIGHT − Oh! Canada … March 21 @ 7 pm Buy Tickets

Co-presenters: Walter and Duncan Gordon Foundation and Lake Ontario Waterkeeper EmceeRick Miller, DORA and Gemini award-winning writer, performer and educator who Entertainment Today calls “one of the 100 most creative people alive today.”

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World premiere of Cold Amazon: The Mackenzie River Basin (2014)

Producer: Walter & Duncan Gordon Foundation
Filmmakers: Pablo Saravanja & Jay Bulckaert of aRTLeSS Collective, and journalist Tim Querengesser.

Narrated by celebrated northern journalist Paul Andrew, Cold Amazon brings the massive Mackenzie River Basin closer to home for the many Canadians who may be unaware of its importance, or even its existence. At 1.8 million sq. km, covering three provinces and all three territories, the Mackenzie plays a significant environmental, economic and spiritual role that stretches far beyond its borders. This short documentary highlights the importance and vulnerability of the mighty watershed through the impassioned voices of those who rely on its health and work for its protection.

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Tar (2014, short)

Filmmakers: Kristy Neville & Greg Francis

Using sleek animation and interviews with professionals on the subject, this short documentary weighs the benefits against the potential long-term environmental and economic costs of the Northern Gateway Project; a pipeline proposal which plans to transport 525 000 barrels of Alberta oil sands crude oil per day to Asian markets via the coastal community of Kitimat, British Columbia.

Featuring breathtaking imagery of Western Canada in the heart of winter and music from 2013 Polaris Prize winners, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Tar offers a firsthand look at the pristine ecology put at risk by the Northern Gateway Project, a highly controversial project to transport oil sands crude oil to Asian markets.

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How Wolves Change Rivers (2014, short)

Wolf in snow near a river

Filmmaker: George Monbiot
“When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.” – John Muir
When wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park in the United States after being gone for nearly 70 years, researchers discovered the most remarkable impact on everything from wildlife populations to vegetation and river behaviours. How exactly do wolves change rivers? George Monbiot explains in this movie remix.

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Bob Sandford, speaker

Guest speaker: Bob Sandford, EPCOR Chair of the Canadian Partnership Initiative in support of the United Nations International Decade for Action, “Water for Life”, and is featured in the film.

Launch of the Campaign for Action, “Water YOU Doing?” with Lake Ontario Waterkeeper

Reception and kickoff party for the Campaign for Action: Join us at the Bau-Xi Photography Gallery, 324 Dundas Street West, across from the AGO.

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CELEBRATING WORLD WATER DAY, March 22

Water Journey @ 12 – 3 pm at the AGO Buy Tickets

The Water Journey is an inspiring, experiential and participatory half-day event where people can reconnect with their personal passions for the vital dimensions water plays in our lives.

The forum invites us to recall and share the water places and events in our personal history that have had an impact on our lives. The power of these stories reminds us of the importance of this life-giving substance, and can reconnect us with a passion for ensuring its continued safety and availability for all.

Building on these reminders, we then consider ways in which each of us can become active in the campaign to ensure the health and preservation of water everywhere.

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Water Docs World Water Day Celebration in Mississauga @ 2:30 pm,  freeBuy Tickets

Co-presenters: Community Environmental Alliance (CEA) and Fo Guang Shan Temple of Toronto.
Location: Fo Guang Shan Temple, 6525 Millcreek Drive Mississauga, ON L5N 7K6

ELEMENTAL: Three Stories, Three Continents, One Commitment to Change (2013)

Filmmaker: Gayatri Roshan and Emmanuel Vaughan-Lee

Elemental tells the story of three individuals united by their deep connection with nature and driven to confront some of the most pressing ecological challenges of our time. The film follows Rajendra Singh, a disillusioned Indian government official, on a 40-day pilgrimage down India’s iconic Ganges River, now polluted and dying. Facing community opposition and personal doubts, Singh works to shut down factories, halt construction of dams, and rouse the Indian public to treat their sacred “Mother Ganga” with respect. Across the globe in northern Canada, Eriel Deranger mounts her own “David and  Goliath” struggle against the world’s largest industrial development, the Oil Sands, an oil deposit larger than the state of Florida. A young mother and native Denè, Deranger struggles with family challenges while campaigning tirelessly against the Oil Sands that threaten the health and integrity of Native communities. And in Australia, inventor and  entrepreneur Jay Harman searches for investors willing to risk millions on his conviction that the architecture of nature’s own systems hold the key to our world’s ecological problems.

Separated by continents yet sharing an unwavering commitment to protecting nature, the characters in this story are complex, flawed, postmodern heroes for whom stemming the tide of environmental destruction fades in and out of view – part mirage, part miracle.

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Matinée for the Asian Carp in the Great Lakes @ 3 pm Buy Tickets

Carpe Diem: A Fishy Tale (2013)

Producer: Charlotte Engel, in association with the CBC Director: Scott Dobson
Narrator: David Suzuki

North America is under attack by a relentless aquatic invader. Accidentally released into the Mississippi River 30 years ago, the Asian carp have been heading north ever since, spreading all over the United States.

Armed with genetic super powers, they wipe out native species, alter the food web, and keep humans on the shoreline. Asian carp are now only 60 miles south of Lake Michigan and the race is on to prevent them from taking over the Great Lakes. Can they be stopped? Carpe Diem: A Fishy Tale looks at the threat of this fish, and the scientific and unorthodox methods being in utilized in this war against the Asian carp. Water guns, electric barriers and super sexy foods are all options being looked at to combat the spread of these crafty fish. But when all fails, why not shoot them or eat them? Decide for yourself what the best option is in solving this fishy problem!

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Carpageddon (2012)

Filmmakers: Alex & Tyler Mifflin (the Water Brothers)

Asian carp have invaded the Mississippi River, and destroyed its lucrative fishing industry. Today, only an electric fence is keeping them from entering the Great Lakes, and a few have already been spotted. If any more cross that barrier, prepare for Carpageddon. The Water Brothers find out what an Asian carp invasion could do to the Great Lakes’ 4.5 billion dollar fishing economy and examine how other invasive species like zebra mussels have changed the Great Lakes ecosystem.

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The Art of Water − March 22 @ 7 pm Buy Tickets

Watermark (2013)

Filmmakers: Jennifer Baichwal and Edward Burtynsky

Without water we are nothing, the traveller thought. Even an emperor, denied water, would swiftly turn to dust. Water is the real monarch, and we are all its slaves. – Salman Rushdie

Every living thing requires water. We humans interact with it in a myriad of ways, numerous times a day. But how often do we consider the complexity of that interaction? And, unless confronted by scarcity, when do we meditate on its ubiquity in creating, sustaining and enriching life? Watermark is a feature documentary film that brings together diverse stories from around the globe about our relationship with water: how we are drawn to it, what we learn from it, how we use it and the consequences of that use. We see massive floating abalone farms off China’s Fujian coast and the construction site of the biggest arch dam in the world – the Xiluodu, six times the size of the Hoover. We visit the barren desert delta where the mighty Colorado River no longer reaches the ocean, and the water-intensive leather tanneries of Dhaka.

We witness how humans are drawn to water, from the U.S. Open of Surfing in Huntington Beach to the Kumbh Mela in Allahabad, where thirty million people gather for a sacred bath in the Ganges at the same time. We speak with scientists who drill ice cores two kilometers deep into the Greenland Ice Sheet, and roam the sublime pristine watersheds of Northern British Columbia.

Shot in stunning 5K ultra high-definition video and full of soaring aerial perspectives, this film shows water as a terraforming element and the scale of its reach, as well as the magnitude of our need and use. This is balanced by forays into the particular: a haunting memory of a stolen river, a mysterious figure roaming ancient rice terraces, the crucial data hidden in a million year old piece of ice, a pilgrim’s private ritual among thousands of others at the water’s edge.

Watermark is directed by multiple award-winning filmmaker Jennifer Baichwal and renowned photographer Edward Burtynsky, and is the third part of Burtynsky’s Water project, which includes a book, Burtynsky: Water, and a major photographic exhibition. Filmed and produced by Nicholas de Pencier and three years in the making, it is a logical extension of the trio’s previous collaboration, Manufactured Landscapes. In Watermark, the viewer is immersed in a world defined by a magnificent force of nature that we all too often take for granted − until it’s gone.

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Detox (2013)

Logo for Detox Greenpeace campaign

Filmmakers: Zoe D’Amaro & Marco Della Coletta

Around the world a growing movement of people are using their creativity, design skills and purchasing power to demand fashion without pollution. United by a shared belief that the clothes we wear should carry a story we can be proud of, activists, bloggers, designers, scientists and models have been able to convince big brands including Zara, Mango, Valentino, UNIQLO and H&M to commit to toxic-free fashion. There is still a long way to go, but our successes so far prove that when we work together, big brands are forced to stand up and deliver. This film was made for a Greenpeace Detox campaign, and includes a track by Nova Heart.

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Photo of Emily Hunter

Guest speaker: Emily Hunter, environmental filmmaker and author based in Toronto. Born into the environmental movement, her father, the late Robert Hunter, was the first president of Greenpeace. For nearly a decade Emily has documented from the front lines of activist movements, from the high seas of Antarctica in a battle to save whales with Sea Shepherd to UN climate protests with a peasant movement La Via Campesina. Media has become her tool for change, as she directed and field-produced five documentaries on MTV Canada and TVO on social change issues. She is a sought-after speaker and is featured in Rob Stewart’s recently released documentary Revolution. Emily’s current project is a documentary series titled Activist 2.0, an adaptation of her 2011 book The Next Eco-Warriors.

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FAMILY DAY @ WATER DOCS, March 23 @ 1-6 pm Buy Tickets

Featured ENGOs: Ecoloodi and Engineers without Borders
Co-Presenter: TVO
Program:

  • 1-2 pm: Fun activities around water
  • 2-4 pm: Screenings and show
  • 4-6 pm: Fun activities around water

Water Everywhere (2013)

Filmmakers: Alex & Tyler Mifflin (the Water Brothers)

Canadians are big water users and are also advanced in water treatment and distribution technologies. Yet, in one of the most water rich countries in the world, approximately one out of every five First Nations communities in Canada lacks access to clean, safe and sustainable drinking water. Why do some First Nations communities have these problems and others do not and are thriving? How can there be economic independence and advancement for these communities without this basic human right? The brothers travel to First Nations communities in search of the answers.

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Plastic Ocean, 2013, 25min, Canada

Filmmakers: Alex & Tyler Mifflin (the Water Brothers)

The Brothers embark on a sailing adventure to the middle of the Pacific Ocean to the remote “Great Pacific Garbage Patch”, a massive collection of plastic waste congregated together by swirling ocean currents known as gyres. What does the patch look like? How does it affect wildlife and the seafood we eat? Where in the world did this inconceivably massive amount of plastic come from and from what human activities, and more importantly, what can be done about it? The Water Brothers bring us some answers to this strange and disturbing phenomenon.

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The Pedal Power Show

When we turn on our tap, where does the water come from? And, how much pedal energy would it take to bring a glass – or glasses! – of water to the AGO – and to our homes?

Fun activities from 1-2 and 4-6

Games with Ecoloodi – Games for 3 to 12 year olds exploring the world of a water drop travelling around Canada, France and Africa.

Hands-on with Engineers Without Borders – Activities for 8 to 14 year olds about the importance of accessible, clean drinking water, such as building a water filter for Africa or Canada.

Lake Ontario Waterkeeper – Campaign for Action is the opportunity to take action all year long to protect and conserve water.

Litany of Lament – reading about water

Toronto Urban Native Ministry – drummers

The Pedal Project: A Glass of Water… Come and pedal for yourself!

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WATER DOCS SYMPOSIUM WITH WATERLUTION − March 25 @ 7 pm Buy Tickets

The Overview Effect: Shifting Perspective

In all you’ve lived and seen, have you had an instance where you found meaning in something that is bigger than yourself?  A moment of perspective shift? What changed after this moment? How can a perspective shift lead to behavioural shift? What is your role in shifting your own perspective and behaviour and that of others on important water matters?Join us for a stimulating evening with a film screening followed by interactive dialogue, facilitated by Waterlution.

Come with friends or meet new ones – all are welcome! The event is free, but please register.

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WATER DOCS @ SCHOOL RECOGNITION DAY@ 9 am – 2 pm

Private program for participating schools. Here are some highlights:  Following an aboriginal blessing for the waters, Georgie Horton-Baptiste will present a First Nations perspective on water and the story of the Water Walkers. Awards will be presented for student films created as part of Water Docs @ School, followed by a showing of the films. Robyn Hamlyn will discuss her experience as a young student working to convince city and town councils to become Blue Communities. Award-winning eco-educator Rick Miller will present his adaptation for youth of Hardsell: Combatting cynicism and detachment as we work to do good in the world. There will be plenty of time for discussion and interaction.

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SOIRÉE FRANCOPHONE, March 27 @ 7 pm Buy Tickets

ONG d’honneur: Ecoloodi et Ingénieurs sans frontières

Co-Présentateurs: Cinéfranco, ONF/NFB, et Semaine de la francophonie Projection pour toute la famille. Gratuit pour les enfants de moins de 13 ans accompagnés d’un adulte. Il parlera également de l’état actuel du projet présenté dans le film.
Le réalisateur Pascal Gélinas sera présent et répondra aux questions à la fin de la projection.

Ingénieurs sans frontières: Apprenez en plus sur les nombreux défis associés avec l’approvisionnement en eau potable dans le monde et découvrez comment l’organisation Ingénieurs Sans Frontières travaille en étroite collaboration avec les villages de Malawi pour améliorer leur accès à des services d’assainissement et d’approvisionnement en eau potable.

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Le porteur d’eau (2007 – 52 minutes)

Réalisateur : Pascal Gélinas (ONF)

Pendant que l’Islam et l’Occident s’affrontent, pendant que les bombes et les attentats lézardent la paix, ce film retrace l’effort des hommes et des femmes de l’Île de Florès, en Indonésie, qui réinventent leur quotidien après trente-deux ans de dictature. Parmi eux, on découvre Gilles Raymond, un Québécois au parcours inusité, à la recherche d’une éthique où l’action coïncide avec la parole.

À travers la quête de l’eau potable, Catholiques et Musulmans travaillent ensemble à l’instauration d’une démocratie directe et d’une autonomie durable. Avec pour toile de fond la culture ancestrale des guerriers Ngada, c’est un « road movie » où la solidarité côtoie le défaitisme, où la générosité l’emporte sur la corruption. Au-delà de l’argent, au-delà des religions, en dehors des partis politiques, c’est un retour aux sources de la fraternité. « L’eau, c’est plus que l’eau. C’est une veine qui mène jusqu’au cœur des hommes. » Gilles Raymond

Pour ces gens qui manquent d’eau, Gilles Raymond a mis sur pied un programme qu’il a baptisé « autonomie du territoire ». Il s’agit, à partir du consensus et du bénévolat des paysans, d’aller capter des sources d’eau potable au sommet des montagnes et de les acheminer par simple gravité jusqu’aux villages qui en sont privés. Pour ces familles, qui se cotisent pour payer les matériaux, la santé s’améliore. Les femmes se voient déchargées de la corvée de l’eau qui leur revient plus souvent qu’autrement. On peut aussi faire pousser des jardins et des pépinières pour la plantation d’arbres, ce qui permet de revitaliser les forêts environnantes. Grâce à cette initiative, 30 villages ont déjà l’eau potable. L’accès à l’eau constitue la porte d’entrée amenant la population à une sorte de démocratie directe. Après l’eau, plusieurs entreprennent de construire la route ou le pont dont leur village a cruellement besoin.

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Une histoire de tortues (2012 – 10 minutes)

Poster of Une Histoir De Tortues

Réalisatrice : Kathy Shultz (ONF)

A la faveur de la nuit, une tortue de mer creuse un trou en catimini sur une plage tropicale. Elle y pond ses œufs, les recouvre de sable, puis regagne l’océan. Au fil des marées, les bébés acquièrent la force nécessaire pour sortir de l’œuf, émerger du nid et se précipiter à l’eau. Ainsi s’amorce le périlleux parcours de la tortue marine dans un univers hostile rempli de prédateurs : crabes, oiseaux, requins … sans compter les dangers créés par les humains.

Touchante et exquise, l’animation image par image Une histoire de tortue retrace le cycle de vie d’une espèce gravement menacée et capte la beauté des écosystèmes où vivent ces fascinantes créatures.

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WATER AND ENERGY, March 28 @ 7 pm Buy Tickets

Burning Water (2010)

Filmmakers: Cameron Esler & Tadzio Richards

In the Rosebud River valley, an hour east of Calgary, the water in many homes can be lit on fire. Everyone agrees there’s gas in the water. Few agree on why. At Fiona Lauridsen’s farm, just outside the hamlet of Rosebud, Fiona and her family got skin burns in the shower. Fiona claims that EnCana, Canada’s largest natural gas company, contaminated the aquifer by drilling (fracking) for coal bed methane, a new source of natural gas extraction that often uses chemicals for drilling. Yet in the hamlet, where the Rosebud Theatre is a popular tourist attraction, most residents refuse to even talk about burning water, for fear of harming the tourist industry. A government minister blamed the contamination on improper well maintenance on the part of the farmer. Other scientists disagree, and Fiona thinks the government is deflecting attention away from the negative consequences of an energy boom that’s bringing record profits to the province.As gas wells sprout up across North America, and all around Rosebud, the Lauridsen family struggles to stay together and remain part of their community, at the same time confronting the dark truth of what may be happening beneath the surface.

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The Ocean Inside (2013)

Image of head with an ocean inside

Filmmaker: Emmanuel Vaughan-Lee

A meditation on surfing, the ocean, and the land that is our home. Director Emmanuel Vaughan-Lee joined forces with writer and surfer Josh Berry, whose words float over the beautiful and dramatic landscapes, coastline and ocean waves that form the backdrop for his personal and poetic tale.

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CLOSING DAY, March 29

Matinée on the Downside of Fish Farming, March 29 @ 3 pm Buy Tickets

Salmon Confidential (2013)

Filmmakers: Twyla Roscovich & biologist Alexandra Morton

This shocking documentary by filmmaker Twyla Roscovich and biologist Alexandra Morton discovers British Columbia’s wild salmon are testing positive for dangerous European salmon viruses associated with salmon farming worldwide and how a chain of events is set off by the Canadian government to suppress the findings contained within this documentary.

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Farmed and Dangerous (2013)

Filmmakers: Alex & Tyler Mifflin (the Water Brothers)

People love to eat salmon, but chances are that salmon is not wild. Globally, over 70% of the salmon we eat is raised on fish farms in the open ocean. Does it matter? And is it true that salmon farms, which are supposed to take the pressure off wild salmon stocks, might be wiping them out? To find out, the Brothers immerse themselves in the worlds of both wild and farmed salmon in one of the most beautiful places on earth.

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Closing Night, The Joys and Sorrows of Fishing @ 7 pm Buy Tickets

Kiss the Water (2013)

Filmmakers: Eric Steel (director) and Em Cooper (animation)

In a cottage in northern Scotland, Megan Boyd twirled bits of feather, fur, silver and gold into elaborate fishing flies – at once miniature works of art and absolutely lethal. Wherever men and women cast their lines for the mighty Atlantic salmon, her name is whispered in mythic reverence, and stories about her surface and swirl like fairy tales. With breathtaking cinematography and expressive, hand painted animation, KISS THE WATER adheres to and escapes from traditional documentary form, spinning the facts and fictions of one woman’s life into a stunning film about craft, devotion, love, and its illusions.

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Losing Nemo (2013, short)

Poster for Losing Nemo

Filmmakers: The Black Fish & MrLee

TV Whales, sharks, dolphins, turtles, seals, rays, skates, tuna, swordfish and mackerel are only very few of the plentiful species which roam the oceans in search of food and shelter. This extraordinary biodiversity has in recent years become steadily more threatened by human activity such as damaging industrial fishing operations and illegal hunting practices.

To be able to address the urgency of the situation and work towards better protection of the oceans, the filmmakers have started a new organization: The Black Fish. They are on a mission to change attitudes towards our precious oceans and work to protect the unique life within them, and are calling on you to join us and contribute your time, skills and compassion to make sure we can act.

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“Join the Conversation” Contest Details

Share your thoughts on Twitter or Facebook and be eligible to win a prize.

How to Participate
Twitter: Tweet using #WaterDocs. Every #WaterDocs tweet you send will count as one entry.1

Facebook: Post on our Facebook Page (fb.com/WaterDocs). Every post or comment will count as one entry.2

Winners will be randomly drawn from all entries on Saturday March 29 at 3 pm EST and announced at the Closing Night screening at 7 pn. Winners will be contacted via social media channels by Monday March 31 at 5 pm EST.

Prizes include:
Two (2) Hot Docs Gift Packs (2 tickets to a Hot Docs screening of your choice (subject to availability), a Hot Docs t-shirt and a Hot Docs tote bag).

Two (2) Grassroots Gift Packs (1 $5 Gift Certificate (for online store), 1 green mesh reusable produce bag, a stainless steel bottle or corn plastic travel mug, and 1 hardcover copy of “Here On Earth” by Tim Flannery).

Other prizes may be added, subject to Water Docs Film Festival’s discretion.

Tweets will be counted beginning March 21, 6:30 pm and at the discretion of Water Docs Film Festival. Counting will end at 12 pm EST on March 29. Should Water Docs decide that a Twitter account is engaging in excessive or spam-like behavior, Water Docs may void some or all of the entries and block the account.

Posts and comments will be counted beginning March 21, 6:30 pm EST and at the discretion of Water Docs Film Festival. Counting will end at 12 pm EST on March 29. Should Water Docs decide that a Facebook fan, user or account is engaging in excessive or spam-like behavior, Water Docs may void some or all of the entries and block the fan, user or account.

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Tickets Buy Tickets

All prices include HST, advance sales have an additional service charge. Care assistants for people with disabilities are always free. Box office on site opens 45 minutes before the screenings.

  • Adults: $10.50 in advance, $13 at the door
  • Students and seniors: $8.50 in advance, $11 at the door
  • Children 13 and under: free for regular screenings; $4.25 for Family Day
  • Festival passes: $40 in advance, $45 at the door (does not include Family Day); numbers are limited and registration is required!
  • Free events: the Water Journey (March 22), Water Docs World Water Day Celebration in Mississauga (March 22), and Waterlution Symposium (March 25).
    Please register in advance to help us manage seating, but feel free to show up at the last minute too, and we’ll gladly welcome you if there’s room!
  • Unwaged / Underemployed: pay what you can, minimum $5

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Venue

All films except the South Asian Day screenings will be in Jackman Hall at the Art Gallery of Ontario. Use the entrance on McCaul Street, marked by the white tent outside.

Jackman Hall at the Art Gallery of Ontario
McCaul St. at Dundas St. W.
Toronto, ON M5T 1G4
Fo Guang Shan Temple of Toronto
6525 Millcreek Drive
Mississauga, ON L5N 7K6

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