Sign up for our free weekday bulletin.

Justice Film Festival continues to grow

Published on

Cathy Dobson

Seven years ago, a small group of Sarnians wanted local residents to think more about social justice issues, like how children are treated or poverty creates inequities.

So they aligned themselves with the Marda Loop Justice Film Festival in Calgary and went to work to bring some thought-provoking films here.

“We tried a weekend of films that first year and it was a flop,” recalls Thea deGroot, the only founding member still with the Sarnia Justice Film Festival.

The second year, the group came up with a new strategy to hold free movie nights once a month featuring films with social justice themes, followed by a discussion with the audience.

“We found out film nights work really well,” said deGroot. “Every year, the audience increases and more people know about us.”

The festival has no trouble raising the $2,000 annual budget through donations and sponsorships, she added.

Each summer, the Sarnia Justice Film Festival committee reviews the most current documentaries available and, with the help of Marda Loop organizers, secures six films to be shown at the Sarnia Library Theatre.

“We want films that don’t feel like a school lecture,” said deGroot. “Our films need to tell a story.”

Coming up next in the Sarnia Justice Film Festival is “Project Wild Thing,” a U.K. movie released in 2013 that examines the growing disconnect between kids and nature.

“Kids are indoors now more than they are outdoors. This explores how that impacts our world,” said deGroot.  “We’ve been talking about showing a film on this topic for many years and this is the first current one we’ve found.”

Project Wild Thing focuses on filmmaker David Bond, a man worried about the way his kids spend their time, dependent on computer and gaming screens that threaten to turn them into “glassy-eyed zombies.” He decides it’s time to get back to nature.

The film considers why kids are spending so little time outdoors and looks for solutions.

Since its release, Project Wild Thing has created a movement called The Wild Network, which encourages children and parents to go outdoors. The film has won several environmental and educational awards.

Following the screening at the Sarnia Justice Film Festival, discussion will take place about so-called Nature Deficient Disorder.  Numerous exhibitors including Kim Gledhill of Nature’s Way, local Girl Guides and Agriculture in the Classroom will be in attendance.


 WHAT: “Project Wild Thing,” a documentary presented by the Sarnia Justice Film Festival

WHEN: Saturday, Feb. 21. 7 p.m. – 9 p.m.

WHERE: Sarnia Library Theatre, Christina St.

TICKETS: Free, but show up by 6:30 p.m. to ensure a seat and enjoy exhibits.


A local production of the critically-acclaimed Vagina Monologues directed by Sarnia’s Megan Hadley is on stage at The Imperial Theatre Friday, Feb. 20. Curtain at 8 p.m.

This is a fundraiser for the Sexual Assault Survivors’ Centre and Women’s Interval Home Sarnia/Lambton. Tickets are $32 at the box office. Call 519-344-7469.  Includes a silent auction, raffle and cash bar.

 What is of cultural significance in Sarnia that you want to see featured here? Contact Cathy Dobson at [email protected] or 226-932-0985.

More like this