Documentary film festival KDocsFF 2021: ‘Resistance. Freedom. Justice’

The virtual event will showcase 15 films over 10 days and host guest speakers and panel discussions

Documentary film line up for KDocsFF, 2021. (Submitted)

Despite all the challenges throughout the process of organizing a film festival during a pandemic, Janice Morris, founder and festival director of KDocsFF, is proud to announce that the virtual event will run this year from March 12 to 21.

The 10-day virtual festival is more than double the original length of the event that was initially planned for February, and will feature 15 award-winning documentary films, filmmakers, film subjects, speakers, Q&As, and panel discussions.

“I’m proud that I didn’t step away from it, and I took the challenge,” says Morris, who is also an English instructor at Kwantlen Polytechnic University.

“I’m going to be happy to see it actually happen. I’m going to be proud of this one in ways that are different than past festivals.”

There were several points throughout planning and organizing the festival where it might have been easier to abandon this year’s event altogether, she says.

While tickets are not on sale yet, a full festival pass which will grant access to all films, Q&As, panel discussions, and speakers, will be $40. Tickets to see single films will be $5 each.

Through a long elimination process, these 15 documentaries were chosen out of a pool of more than 500 others. Deciding which of her top films would make it into the festival was heartbreaking, and Morris likens it to trying to decide between your children, which films get shown and which don’t.

Each of these documentaries are important, she says, and they show the plight of different social issues happening around the world.

“All of these [global issues] and many more, while they may not — to the casual viewer — appear to be ‘us’, these films show that there really is no ‘us’ and ‘them’ … these issues are global, and just because something is happening on the other side of the planet, it doesn’t mean that it’s not of your concern or that it shouldn’t be,” says Morris.

The goal is to show these documentary films to viewers, and to bring more awareness and education about these social issues that otherwise may not have been on their radar, she adds.

From there, the path opens up for viewers to learn more, discuss, and hopefully directly engage in these issues. They could even become part of the activism that they just watched a film about.

Teaching and learning through storytelling is something that Morris has witnessed not only in her classroom, but also standing behind the scenes of her festivals.

Despite not being able to host this event in an actual theatre, she is hopeful that this online festival could offer even more learning opportunities because many more people can sit in on films and discussions without being limited by seating availability.

Check out the KDocsFF website to watch their documentaries’ trailers and to keep an eye on when tickets go up for sale.