Conference Highlights

On Friday October the 16th, the Docs for Change conference held at the Triovest Conference Center featured an inspiring group of documentary filmmakers, panelist, presenters and Docs for Change program Fellows.

Agencies, language service professionals, community outreach workers, filmmakers and enthusiast from all professional backgrounds gathered together to attend this inspiring conference.

We thank everyone who attended the Docs for Change Conference as well as all of the presenters, breakout session leaders and excellent volunteers who helped to make this such a warm and inviting event. Click on the links below to explore the outcomes of this wonderful event.

Presentation Slides

Click above to view presentation slides from the Docs for Change conference. This includes everything from the welcome remarks to workshops and trainings, as well as a summary for those who missed the event.

Mobile Theatre

The Mobile Theatre is a how-to guide on conducting a screening. It includes information such as: how to choose documentary, how to choose a venue, how to choose panelists and guest speakers, and what to do from sex weeks in advance to a day ahead. There is also a table including all the documentaries in our library with their synopsis and link.

Docs for Change Report

This report covers two years of Docs for Change in review, starting from the idea, to getting ready, workshops and design for the first year and the second, the conference panelists and breakout sessions, and lastly evaluating the initiative. It includes everything you may want to know about Docs for Change.


In accordance with its mandate to promote dialogue and to positively impact the community, in its first year the Docs For Change program implemented 11 workshops that taught the tools required to successfully organize documentary screenings and to engage the community. These tools include:

  •    – The basics of good storytelling
  •    – Identifying good films and analyzing what works in a film
  •    – Using documentaries to initiate meaningful conversations in our communities
  •    – Learning how to tell a good story
  •    – Getting and finding a good story and learning how to tell it using simple audio visual techniques

The amount of time required to complete year one was approximately 35 hours. Over the course of one year, the Fellows:

  • – Watched, discussed and critiqued some of the significant Canadian documentaries focusing on newcomer communities
  • – Met key filmmakers who will discuss their work and share insider tips about how they made their story come to life.
  • – Learned the basics of how to make a mini digital documentary to share with their community.
How Do We Measure the Impact of Documentaries?

Fellows Intro Tool Kit

Explore the Fellows Intro Tool Kit, which highlights the fundamentals of good social documentary film-making and utilizing them for community building through a series of seminars and workshops.

How Do We Measure the Impact of Documentaries?

Read this article with data from the Puma Impact Award Nominees on how to measure the impact of documentaries. It discusses the great work that is being done to link films to real-world issues that need attention.

How to Gain the Trust of Your Documentary Subjects

The folks at the International Documentary Association have posted a short interview clip with Malika Zouhali-Worrall, co-director of Call Me Kuchu, talking about gaining trust of your documentary subjects. It’s an important topic for any documentary filmmaker, but particularly those seeking to make advocacy videos, and Ms. Zouhali-Worrall has some points that can be generalized for a lot of different situations … (Click to View)


Cyber-Seniors on June 1st, 2015

Canada is the Best Place to Live, but not a Great Place for Everybody

“Canada is definitively one of the best places to live, but this doesn’t mean it is a great place to live for everybody,” says Amar Wala, Director of The SecreTrial 5. Amar Wala also shared his views on the current state of immigration, public policy, and advice to emerging documentary filmmakers with Vivek Vijayapalan, Documentaries for Change Fellow (Read More).

Managing Diabetes with Lifestyle Changes

Cyber-Seniors on June 1st, 2015

The screening took place in a small room at the community centre where the seniors meet regularly. As we arrived, we were told the seniors were having a line dancing rehearsal and we might have to start a bit later, so right  away it became clear that we were not dealing with stereotyped, sedentary seniors (Read More).

Managing Diabetes with Lifestyle Changes

On June 17, 2015 the Hub, Mid Scarborough was full of enthusiastic seniors who had a fun  filled learning session on managing diabetes with lifestyle changes. On that day, they  watched Lalitha Krishana’s documentary “I have a little Sugar” which was arranged by Docs for Change in partnership with the Scarborough Centre for Healthy Communities (Read More).

The Debt Trap

The Lotherton Pathway community, in which we screened DEBT TRAP by the director David Adkin on May 2nd 2015, is one of the many neighbourhoods in Lawrence Heights supported by North York Community House (NYCH). Just a year apart when Action for Neighbourhood Change (ANC) was introduced at this community in 2007, the documentary director David Adkin started his work dedicated to using documentary as a community development tool. He also used this opportunity to develop a new program to train youth to make their own movies for social change. Coincidentally or not, almost at the same time, ANC at Lotherton Pathway developed a multi-media project for youth as well as other cultural activities and celebrations (Read More).

Yes, They are Human Beings. But…

It would be an understatement if I said that most of the Docs for Change Fellows present on the evening of 24th September were moved by the powerful documentary, El Contrato, by Min Sook Lee.The best part of it was its hard-hitting socio-political presentation which still flowed so smoothly. At the end of the documentary, we Fellows had many queries for the filmmaker and she obliged everyone with her detailed answers, without any air of being such a talented creative personality (Read More).


Low Media Capital? Gaps and Opportunities for Citizen Engagement with Documentaries

In 2004 the phrase “citizen journalism”’ made its grand entrance following the aftermath of tsunami in south eastern Asia. Some would argue that citizen journalism is as old if not older than journalism itself but low barriers to portable technologies and social sharing empowered citizens to take back political and documentary storytelling. Greece, Syria, Egypt, Turkey, Hungary, the USA, and most such places in the world with political upheaval and decent broadband are amassing large quantities of content captured by on-lookers. Communities on-lookers are spontaneously gathering around ”individual – without any initial store or political authority – who (can) suddenly acquire status as a significant political actor by acting online” (Read More).

Secret Trial 5- Viewer’s Blog

Docs for Change screening of Secret Trial 5, a documentary by Amar Wala, was held on 1 October at OISE.  It was probably just fortuitous that this happened to be the same week that the current Canadian government decide to step up its islamophobic rhetoric in the campaign for re-election and up the ante by backing that rhetoric with actions. Amid the deliberately promoted debate about the niqab (words) the government took action by announcing, on the very day of the screening, that it intended to strip Saad Gaya, a man born in Canada, of his citizenship because he is a convicted terrorist. The following day, Friday, the Minister of Labour and the Status of Women, Kellie Leitch announced that an RCMP tip line had been set up so people could denounce ‘barbaric cultural practices” which were, of course, not defined. However, no one is deceived; it means ‘bad things Muslims are wont to do”. It might have been a coincidence that these events coincided but it was very apt (Read More).

Clara’s Big Ride

There is a silence in the air. For most, this silence is simply the absence of noise, the forgotten rumblings of passing cars, the quaint presence of familiarity, and the buzzing of daily life. For others, the silence is thick, heavy and growing more so by each passing day. These few feel its crushing weight yet cannot unburden themselves for fear of breaking it. Therein lays the problem regarding the stigma around mental illness. This is where Clara’s Big Ride comes into play (Read More).

Screening of the Documentary “Let’s Talk About It” at North York Community House

The subject of this documentary represents one of the topics mostly feared and avoided as it brings to light the ugliness cast upon a relationship that has turned abusive and harmful. There is also the reverse, when the relationship was forced and abusive from the beginning, but how many of us would like to stop and think about it? It might blacken a sunny day and spoil the mood (Read More).