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DOXA’s Closing Night film, Any Other Way: The Jackie Shane Story, explores one of music’s pioneering Black trans performers. Five powerful and personal NFB docs showcased at DOXA 2024.


April 4, 2024 – Vancouver – National Film Board of Canada (NFB)

Vancouver’s DOXA Documentary Film Festival (May 2–12) will feature extraordinary stories from across Canada with a selection of five deeply personal National Film Board of Canada (NFB) produced and co-produced documentaries.

Winnipeg directors Natalie Baird and Toby GilliesDon’t Let the Sun Catch You Crying makes its world premiere at DOXA. In this animated short doc, Edith Almadi’s imagination transcends grief, revealing a vibrant world of art where love endures.

The festival’s Closing Night film will be BC premiere Any Other Way: The Jackie Shane Story (Banger Films/NFB) by Toronto directors Michael Mabbott and Lucah Rosenberg-Lee. A lost R&B star who eclipsed Etta James and Little Richard, trans soul singer Jackie Shane blazed an extraordinary trail. Forty years after vanishing from public view, this 20th-century icon finally gets her second act.

DOXA will feature the North American premiere of the immersive documentary fable A Man Imagined by Brian M. Cassidy and Melanie Shatzky, an intimate and hallucinatory portrait of a man with schizophrenia.

There are also two more BC premieres:

In Montreal director Eisha Marjara’s short doc Am I the skinniest person you’ve ever seen? (Compass Productions/9466-7565 Québec/NFB), dieting together seems like fun for two sisters—until their project takes a dark turn.

The hybrid feature doc Wilfred Buck (Door Number 3 Productions/NFB) by Toronto-based Anishinaabe filmmaker Lisa Jackson follows the journey of charismatic and irreverent Cree Elder Wilfred Buck, who overcomes a harrowing history to reclaim ancestral star knowledge and ceremony.

About the films

“Hey, let’s go on a diet together.” As kids in a small Quebec town, Eisha and Seema were more than sisters, they were soul mates, and a joint diet offered a shared sense of purpose. But their carefree project would take a dark turn, pushing Eisha to the very brink of death. Consumed by anorexia, she found herself battling her own fragile body—stranded between childhood and adulthood. Decades later, Eisha revisits her past in an exquisitely crafted work of auto-ethnography, evoking her unusual youth with aching lyricism.

Eisha Marjara has made several award-winning films, including Locarno’s Prix de la Semaine de Critique winner Desperately Seeking Helen. Venus (2017), a dramatic comedy, won the EDA Award for Best Feature at the Whistler Film Festival and Best Feature Film at Cinequest, among other accolades. Eisha also authored the acclaimed young adult novel Faerie and is in post-production on her next feature, Calorie.

  • Any Other Way: The Jackie Shane Story by Michael Mabbott and Lucah Rosenberg-Lee (99 min) | BC premiere | *Closing Night film
    Press kit: mediaspace.nfb.ca/epk/any-other-way-jackie-shane
    Producers: Amanda Burt, Sam Dunn, Scot McFadyen and Michael Mabbott (Banger Films); Justine Pimlott (NFB)

A star is reborn. With an outsize stage presence that eclipsed even the greatest R&B artists, trans soul singer Jackie Shane shattered barriers with raw talent, courage and an unbreakable commitment to truth. Through never-before-heard phone conversations, dazzling animation and an incredible soundtrack, the full scope of her extraordinary life and career is finally revealed in this remarkable portrait from executive producer Elliot Page.

Michael Mabbott’s first feature, The Life and Hard Times of Guy Terrifico, premiered at TIFF to popular and critical acclaim, receiving the Best Canadian First Feature Award. His second directorial effort, Citizen Duane, also premiered at TIFF. His first documentary film, Music Lessons, premiered at Hot Docs.

Lucah Rosenberg-Lee was adopted from the Dominican Republic into a Toronto family, where he developed his love of activism through film and his passion to tell stories of marginalized voices. Lucah has produced and directed a variety of film projects, including Passing and For Nonna Anna, which have been screened at TIFF, Inside Out and Sundance.

Don’t Let the Sun Catch You Crying is a short meditation on love, grief and imagination. The hand-drawn animated documentary was created through a collaboration between mother, elder and narrator Edith Almadi and filmmakers Natalie Baird and Toby Gillies. This poetic piece celebrates existence and the transformative ability of art to elevate and transcend us. Through vivid drawings and Edith’s simple yet magical words, the film explores our enduring bond with loved ones who have passed. In honouring her son’s life within the cosmos, Edith’s drawings embody colours, shapes and metaphors that remind us of the timeless power that love, gravity and grace hold until our final breaths.

Natalie Baird and Toby Gillies are a visual art duo from Winnipeg. For 10 years they have shared an artistic practice rooted in experiments and exploration in drawing, photography, filmmaking and community collaboration. Their projects strive to build reciprocal relationships through shared art experiences in their neighbourhood and beyond—be it locked healthcare units, city parks, or on the sea ice in the Canadian High Arctic. Don’t Let the Sun Catch You Crying is their first professional film together.

Pushing at the limits of non-fiction cinema, A Man Imagined is a bracingly intimate and hallucinatory portrait of a man with schizophrenia. Made in close collaboration with 67-year-old Lloyd, the film follows the jagged path of a decades-long street survivor across harsh winters and blistering summers, as he sells discarded items to motorists, sleeps in junkyards and lapses into near-psychedelic reveries. When Lloyd reveals a startling detail from his past, the filmmakers try to help him piece together a story that seems to hold an unspeakable mystery at its core.

Brian M. Cassidy and Melanie Shatzky have won numerous awards for their work and have held fellowships at MacDowell, Yaddo and IFP. Their feature debut, Francine, starring Academy Award winner Melissa Leo, was described as “raw, intimate and observed with penetrating acuity” by The Hollywood Reporter and was selected as a New York Times Critic’s Pick. Their documentary The Patron Saints was called “one of the most powerful Canadian documentaries of recent years” by POV Magazine.

  • Wilfred Buck by Lisa Jackson (92 min) | BC premiere
    Press kit: mediaspace.nfb.ca/epk/wilfred-buck
    Producers: Lisa Jackson (Door Number 3 Productions), Lauren Grant (Clique Pictures); Alicia Smith (NFB)

Moving between Earth and stars, past and present, this hybrid feature documentary follows the extraordinary life of Wilfred Buck, who overcame a harrowing history to reclaim ancestral star knowledge and ceremony. The film is adapted from Wilfred Buck’s memoir I Have Lived Four Lives, and is executive produced by Jennifer Baichwal, Nicholas de Pencier and David Christensen (NFB).

Lisa Jackson is an Anishinaabe (Aamjiwnaang) filmmaker whose work has garnered two Canadian Screen Awards, been nominated for a Webby and screened at top festivals including Sundance, Tribeca, SXSW, London BFI and Hot Docs. Her 2018 NFB VR experience Biidaaban: First Light was viewed by more than 25,000 people, while her film Indictment won Best Doc at imagineNATIVE. Jackson has been honoured with the 2022 Chicken & Egg Award as well as the 2021 DOC Vanguard Award.

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French version here | Version française ici.

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  • About the NFB

    Founded in 1939, the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) is a one-of-a-kind producer, co-producer and distributor of distinctive, engaging, relevant and innovative documentary and animated films. As a talent incubator, it is one of the world’s leading creative centres. The NFB has enabled Canadians to tell and hear each other’s stories for over eight decades, and its films are a reliable and accessible educational resource. The NFB is also recognized around the world for its expertise in preservation and conservation, and for its rich and vibrant collection of works, which form a pillar of Canada’s cultural heritage. To date, the NFB has produced more than 14,000 works, 6,500 of which can be streamed free of charge at nfb.ca. The NFB and its productions and co-productions have earned over 7,000 awards, including 11 Oscars and an Honorary Academy Award for overall excellence in cinema.