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Justice Film Festival kicks off with story about migrant workers

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Troy Shantz

The Sarnia Justice Film Festival has unveiled a new season lineup that organizers say will entertain as well as engage.

“We try to pick films that have a worldview, as well as a very local view,” said committee member Darren Hakker.

The festival committee watched film trailers for three hours earlier this summer before selecting the six finalists, he said.

“It’s actually one of the highlights, everyone in the same room deciding on the films for the next season. It’s always a lot of fun.”

The festival kicks off Oct. 21 with Migrant Dreams, which follows workers from the developing world to Southern Ontario in search of work as farm labourers.

“Migrant dreams is more about somebody’s crushed dreams, where they were promised something and farmers kind of reneged on their promises,” Hakker said.

“It’s inexpensive labour for farmers and it helps to keeps the cost of produce down, and what can be wrong with that?”

The festival’s format remains the same. Following a screening a local expert or experts will take the stage to engage in discussion with the audience.

Thanks to festival sponsors the films are free, although donations are always accepted, Hakker said.

And not all of them have happy endings.

“I love uncomfortable films and perhaps that’s what I like about the Sarnia Justice Film Festival best,” he said.

“You can’t really create a better planet together if we just talk about the positives. Sometimes, it’s important to talk about the negatives.”

All screenings start at 7 p.m. at the Sarnia Library Auditorium:


October 21

Migrant Dreams follows a group of migrant farm workers who dare to resist oppression and exploitation from their brokers, employers and Canadian government in small-town Ontario.


November 4

Life, Animated is the story of a young man unable to speak as a child whose family discovers how to communicate by immersing themselves in the world of classic Disney animated films.


January 20

Lo and Behold: Reveries of the Connected World Filmmaker Werner Herzog examines the past, present and constantly evolving future of the Internet.


February 17

A Plastic Ocean is about a team of scientists revealing the causes and consequences of plastic pollution and share solutions.


March 25

Fractured Land is about a young First Nations law student trying to reconcile the fractures in himself, his community and the world around him.


April 14

After Spring follows two refugee families and an aid worker in Zaatari, the largest camp for Syrian refugees.



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