Doxa Docs in Review, Part Two

doxa film festival logo* Playing from June 18 to 26. Tickets to an online screening can be purchased here. For information, please visit their faq.

The Doxa Documentary Film Festival continues to stream direct to your home, and in part two, I look beyond the Pacific Northwest. This time, I’m travelling East to get a taste of what living in Toronto was once like, when a person of my namesake helped change the scene long ago. But home is where the heart is, no matter where you live. This includes finding love in a digital age.

There's No Place Like This Place, Anyplace Movie PosterThere’s No Place
Like This Place, Anyplace

In the movie The Wizard of Oz Dorothy said, “There’s No Place Like Home.” In Toronto, nearly anyone who immigrated here or took up residence in a particular block, There’s No Place Like This Place, Anyplace takes on a whole new meaning.

This insightful documentary also examines the role historic Mirvish Village (an artists colony) played. Honest Ed’s discount bargain store was more than a landmark. Both spaces made its iconic stamp on many who lived nearby. The storefront stood at the corner of Blood & Bathurst for 70 years, and it will be torn down. Vancouver-based corporation, Westbank, say they will respect what Honest Ed represented to the community and as with any story there’s a but… They promise to transform the block into something perfect not only for the locals but also to improve the housing situation. That’s their hope.

The question if they are doing what’s best is deftly examined in this documentary by Lulu Wei. She reminds us of this block’s history and puts a few people in the spotlight. A Different Booklist’s Itah Sadu is a character, and her wisdom is what stuck out for me. An independent bookseller is just as much of a cultural centre too. I can attest to that analogy as Victoria BC has Munro’s and Bolen’s Books. They serve unique areas of the city and both are just as iconic.

Anyplace can be made special, and this documentary hits home in this fact. It’s not just about the gentrification, economic growth of a city, housing and making a city even denser than it should. The dichotomy expressed suggests it’s possible to meet in the middle than show an all out war of words. Nobody is 100% right. We see the block’s history being respected, and we see a city growing up then out.

Hopefully when all businesses and homes are up and running in this block, including those made truly affordable, all we can do is smile.

4 Stars out of 5



  • Spoiler Alert

The creative minds behind S01E03 describe their work as a virtual love story set in a dying world of massively multiplayer role-playing games. In the real world, I suspect the players are from Vancouver and New York. Through the visuals from Final Fantasy (and perhaps a few others), we are given a visual treat communicated through texts and what looks like ICQ conversations (an outdated version of today’s Facebook Messenger).

This experimental film blends realities to a tapestry that unfolds into telling a tale of a romance in a digital age. Kurt Walker directed and edited this piece which he wrote with Michelle Yoon. I suspect it’s their love story that’s being told and it’s one that takes thought to process in between all the video game segments and text messaging going on.

The title of this documentary is just as tricky to understand. S01E03 means season one episode three. Though we’ve seemingly missed the first two episodes that sets up and introduces the characters, that’s okay. We’re at the heart of the story, and we get to see all the sorted trials and tribulations associated with finding that soul mate.

If the last moments are telling, then by episode four that child-like avatar we get a glimpse of may well make up season two of this story. That’s assuming there’s more stories being planned.

3½ Stars out of 5

Author: Ed Sum

I'm a freelance videographer and entertainment journalist (Absolute Underground Magazine, Two Hungry Blokes, and Otaku no Culture) with a wide range of interests. From archaeology to popular culture to paranormal studies, there's no stone unturned. Digging for the past and embracing "The Future" is my mantra.

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