Cinema Politica offers diverse film lineup

Screening group to team with BSAAT, ACIDS and Megan Mitton.

Documentaries can be the most overtly political of all contemporary art forms, mixing narratives with facts and provocative footage. The Sackville chapter of Cinema Politica hopes to channel this medium to spark discussion and awareness on campus, with the help of local campus groups.

The first two screenings of the year were organized in collaboration with Black Students for Advocacy, Awareness and Togetherness (BSAAT) to celebrate Black History Month.

On Feb. 11, the group will reprise their collaboration with a screening of Little Black School House, an hour-long documentary directed by Sylvia Hamilton which chronicles the lost history of Canada’s racially segregated schools. The documentary features rare archival footage and interviews with surviving students.

One of Sackville’s newest student groups, the Association of Chronically Ill and Disabled Students (ACIDS), is sponsoring a screening of United in Anger: A History of ACT UP, on March 18. The film explores the grassroots actions undertaken in the 1980s and 1990s by AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP).

“I’m really looking forward to United in Anger because it looks at how medical activism can become radicalized,” said Cinema Politica organizer Francesca Patten.

Rounding out the semester will be a screening of Gasland Part II on April 1, a film directed by Josh Fox which explores the environmental impact of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. The screening will be accompanied by a talk with Megan Mitton, a local anti-fracking activist who ran for the Green Party of Canada in New Brunswick’s recent provincial election.

Cinema Politica is a Montreal-based non-profit that provides Canadian and international documentaries to its subscribers for a modest fee. The Sackville chapter is run by dedicated student volunteers who organize weekly documentary screenings.

Cinema Politica plays a valuable and unique role within the Sackville community, but its future at Mount Allison is precarious.

“We aren’t sure if the club will still be around next year,” said Patten. “[Most] of our executive is leaving at the end of this year. We’ve had a difficult time recruiting [new members] and attendance is down.”

This semester, the documentaries will be screened every Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. in Dunn 108. All the screenings are free of charge, however donations are appreciated.

“All of our donations go toward paying off our membership fee at the end of the year,” said Patten.

“I really just want to encourage everyone to come out,” said Patten. “I’ve never gone [to a screening] and regretted it. They are all such valuable films, and they let you learn about things that you might not have even realized were issues.”

A complete list of Cinema Politica’s schedule for the semester can be found on the group’s Facebook page.

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