Canada is Free and Freedom is Its Nationality

Sir Wilfrid Laurier

Monday, November 15, 2010

Marmalade's Report on the FTFF

Miss Marprelate attended the First Annual Free Thinking Film Festival this weekend and parachutes back to give a full report, or at least a full report of the movies she watched, due to overlapping schedules she regretfully missed some.

First off, great event and very glad I went. Some wonderful movies, terrific discussion panel, and I liked the Havarti and grapes.

The first evening got off to a rocky start with the movie Kalifornistan, which elicited a mixed response. Most of the (few) people I talked to hated the thing, myself included. It was an avant-garde movie based on the premise that the cause of terrorism is sexual repression and mental insanity (Not, for example, a religious devotion and worldview), featuring an exotic dancer and deranged terrorist. It was, to be really frank, stupid, offensive, liberal, and disturbing.

One sentence review: Worst movie I ever watched, don't even think about buying it.

The next morning things improved drastically with the movie Katyn, about the massacre of 20,000 Polish officers by the Soviets. It followed a few of the officers and their families in a gripping award-winning narrative film, which was nominated for an Oscar. I found it to be extremely powerful, moving, and actually very Christian movie. It did have some moments of very intense violence for those who are concerned about that, for example when they were executing the officers one by one as the officers were reciting the Lord's Prayer.

One sentence review: Not for children, but incredibly powerful and superbly crafted.

I changed gears for the next movie, a Michael Moore style documentary called Mine Your Own Business. It covered three proposed mining projects in Romania, Madagascar, and Chile which have all been virulently opposed by environmentalists. Meanwhile the local people are looking forward to getting a decent job at the mine and climbing out of poverty, a dream that is in peril due to environmentalists pressure. One notable moment in the movie was when an environmentalist who makes about $100,000 a year claims (not exact quote) that in this little village success is not measured in things like money, health, nutrition, or education but in smiles. And as rich people are more stressed and less happy these people don't want better jobs.

One sentence review: Good movie, interesting, not kind to environmentalists.

Afterwards Ezra Levant and Elizabeth May squared off on the oil sands. Ezra focused on how we should increase Canadian oil production because it is so much more ethical than other oil sources. Elizabeth May thought that was like coming up with better child labor conditions. She preferred to talk about our lack of a national energy strategy and how we need more manufacturing, less oil, and a way to get oil to the Maritimes without building a pipeline through green areas (alternative not expounded upon). CPAC was there recording it, so it will probably be broadcast by them at some point.

Generation Zero opened up Sunday afternoon with probably the most important documentary I saw at the festival. It focused on cycles of culture in history, and how the current economic collapse (which is just beginning) is a failure of morality. They cover a lot of stuff like the bank's completely irresponsible lending, which the governments (right and left) happily bailed them out of. In other words, we have privatized profits and nationalized risks, but capitalism without bankruptcy is like Christianity without hell, it doesn't work.

One sentence review: Very important documentary vital to understanding why we are where we are, and where we are going.

Mr. Conservative went on my list of not so great films. In the interests of full disclosure, I watched about ten minutes of it, decided that this was going to be a waste of time, and skipped out to watch one of the other movies. However I got the report afterwards from someone who did stick it out, and was glad I didn't. Apparently Goldwater was a libertarian, not a conservative. His wife started Planned Parenthood in their state, he was pro-gay, and very anti the religious right.

One sentence review: Not my cup of tea, could be yours.

The panel discussion afterwards with Terry Glavin, John Robson, Karen Selick, and Joseph Ben Ami was great however.Unfortunately I missed the first part of Joseph Ben Ami's speech but liked what I heard. I also loved John Robson's definition of conservative as "metaphysical sanity" because we don't demand more of the universe than it can give. And he quoted Chesterton, so two thumbs up. I have to read him much more, he is fantastic (Robson, I already knew Chesterton was fantastic). At the very end they were talking about the connection between conservatives and libertarians, how we can dialog, etc, and Ben Ami and Robson both said that abortion is the litmus test, basically if we can't agree on that we can't agree on anything and we can't even really come to the table together. Which was a surprising thing for them to say there. They also said you cannot be a conservative without being a social conservative (at an event hosted by a gay conservative), or at least Robson said that straight out, Ben Ami was slightly more convoluted but that is what he believes. VladTepes blog was recording that, and he says it will be on his blog and probably the free thinking film website eventually.

We Need to Talk, which I watched in between Mr. Conservative and the panel discussion, was an interesting pro-abstinence, pro-father, pro-life, pro-Christian movie about ten black women from Chicago who had made some mistakes in their lives, and were now giving advice to younger women on how to avoid falling into the same traps. They spoke about how having intimate relationships outside the covenant (yes they used that word) of marriage was like an amputation, giving parts of yourself away to multiple guys. How they regretted their abortions more than anything else, how the loss of their fathers led them to search for male affirmation in all the wrong ways, and how that desire for love and affirmation can never be filled outside of a relationship with Christ. The only thing I regretted was that the message seemed incomplete, because they showed the negatives of a broken life well, but were weak on the positives of a whole life.

One sentence review: Due to my last regret I cannot quite rave about the movie, but otherwise excellent.

All in all I am glad I went. It would be unreasonable, I suppose, to expect that I would love every movie. My strongest regret was that I had to miss so many of the other ones due to overlapping schedules, but that is not a bad regret.

The FTFF left me wanting more. Good job to you all.


  1. My popcorn budget is saved!

    Thank you for this.

  2. Chesterton talk next Tuesday at theology on tap. Website not updated. Chesterton and catholic environmentalism. Prof beresford. Google it

  3. Thank you for coming out to our first festival. Thanks to the support of people like you, people who want to create a conservative cultural space, we will continue in our mission to celebrate the efforts of risk taking documentarians (and authors) whose work espouses the values of limited, democratic government,free market economies,equality of opportunity rather than equality of result, and the dignity of the individual all underscored by a healthy and patriotic respect for Western culture and traditions.

  4. Thanks for the tip Anon, probably won't make it but really appreciate it. Any of my readers who want to send event notices this way are more than welcome! For those who might be interested.

    THEOLOGY ON TAP: "Chesterton and Catholic Environmentalism" by Dr. David Beresford, Our Lady Seat of Wisdom Academy, Tues., November 23, 7:30 p.m. SHARP, Malone's Bar and Grill, Dow's Lake (1001 Queen Elizabeth Dr)