National Geographic photographer Jason Balog is on a mission in his documentary film

National Geographic photographer Jason Balog is on a mission in his documentary film

We Love Documentary festival shows off films in Penticton

We Love Documentary festival, held in Penticton at Shatford Centre, features top films

If there was someone to choose to mentor their first film festival, board members for the Shatford Centre/Okanagan School of the Arts went straight to the top.

Renowned Canadian documentary filmmaker and chair of the Documentary Organization of Canada, Pepita Ferrari, is mentoring the Shatford Centre for their first film festival called  We Love Documentary. She also is hosting the screenings and a pair of workshops. Ferrari said it is a wonderful event that the Shatford Centre is putting on to help spread information on how documentaries are made.

“There is nothing like experiencing a documentary with a room full of people then discussing it after,” said Ferrari.

The filmmaker said there is a push for documentary to be made into Canada’s national artform and a petition of support can be signed at

“Documentary has really had a major connection to how it got started with Canada. Nanook of the North was one of the world’s first documentaries, and it was shot in Canada. The first head of the National Film Board of Canada was the person who coined the word documentary,” said Ferrari. “There is a huge history that is embedded here in Canada. We are really internationally known for our connection to documentary and hopefully we can keep that alive.”

The selections Ferrari made for the We Love Documentary film festival reflect a diverse style and theme. The first film, Chasing Ice, will be shown at 7 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 19.

“It is done with a National Geographic photographer as the main personality in the film and it combines his personal journey and challenge he set himself to document to what is happening to the big glaciers in the world. At the same time, it is using his photography, which is quite stunning and potent,” said Ferrari.

On Saturday a double-bill, starting at 2 p.m., features Bone Wind Fire and Koop. Bone Wind Fire is a short (30 minutes) documentary of an intimate journey into the hearts, minds and eyes of Georgia O’Keeffe, Emily Carr and Frida Kahlo — considered three of the most remarkable 20th century artists. The film uses the women’s own words, taken from their letters and diaries, to reveal their individual creative processes.

The second film is focused on Wanda Koop, who was named by Time Magazine as one of Canada’s best artists. Ferrari said she first saw this at the Festival of Films on Art in Montreal and a comment from an audience member reflected on the strength of the documentary.

“He said it is rare that you see an art documentary that is up to the same creative level as the artist it is depicting,” said Ferrari.

On Sunday, Nomadak TX, a documentary about two Basque musicians, who bring along their ancient Txalaparta percussion instruments on a road trip visiting five different indigenous peoples around the world, will be screened at 2 p.m. The film is a musical and cultural voyage that shows how much we share despite our differences. Ferrari chose this film because she was “completely blown away by it” when she first saw it in 2007.

“Great documentaries, unfortunately, disappear because there are always new ones coming out. It is a film that has had a huge reception all over the world and it has received more than 20 international awards. It is really quite stunning,” she said.

Following the festival, Ferrari will host two workshops. On Monday she will be in front of Pen High students examining trends in documentary then on Tuesday, a workshop for the general public features the topic when style meets content. The 20-year veteran in documentary filmmaking will discuss how matching style to content in a meaningful way makes for a powerful documentary, how great openings create a powerful experience for the audience and other topics.

The workshop for the general public on Oct. 23 runs from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Shatford Centre auditorium and is $15. The We Love Documentary film festival will also run in the Shatford auditorium. Tickets are $10 (or $28 for all three films) and can be purchased at the Shatford Centre or Hooked On Books.