By Kate Foote
In 2002, Michael Moore’s Academy Award winning documentary Bowling for Columbine became an icon of pop-culture. For arguably the first time, a documentary managed to transcend the yawn-factor traditionally associated with such films. The public has since come to embrace the art of documentary filmmaking, a fortunate transformation considering many under appreciated gems deserving accolades. Movies that Matter co-founder and film programmer Andrew Eyck seeks to expose such oft overlooked films.
Each month a documentary is selected for screening and is typically followed by a question and answer period with the director, or a discussion with a panel of local experts–often including communication and culture professor Rebecca Sullivan.
The documentaries presented deal with such riveting topics as Rwandan women’s struggle to exist as a 70 per cent majority in the wake of genocide and the tale of a 14 year-old miner in Bolivia indoctrinated by the ancient belief that appeasing the devil is the only way to survive in the tunnels.
“[Choosing the films] is one of the most difficult aspects,” says Eyck. “We try to branch out to a variety of different topics and subject matter to offer some variety. Sometimes it can be a very personal story or it can be a widespread global issue.”
The series was started here on campus three years ago, by the Gauntlet, NUTV and CJSW, but has since moved into Epcor Centre’s Engineered Air Theatre. Eyck feels the new venue has better sound and picture and has also made way for the inclusion of those outside the campus community.
“It’s definitely widened the audience,” says Eyck. “As far as the general population goes, I think that this venue for screening the films is better.”
Despite the broadened audience, Eyck notes there are still disadvantages to the move. By leaving the campus, some students have been unwilling to make the trek downtown. University students, however, are still the primary demographic. In today’s world, where complex issues are condensed into 30-second sound bytes, exposure to in-depth analysis of such issues is vital to all students.
“University students are the ones moving into the roles in society where these topics are important,” explains Eyck. “The films do tend to have a bias, so exploring that critically is also of interest to students.”