Marla Coppolino is a biologist, artist and self-described spokesperson for land snails. Through the creation of elaborate miniature scenes and cello scores, Coppolino displays a mighty appreciation for the tiny, slimy (and surprisingly sexy) creatures! -SC
Duct tape, crazy glue, and a wealth of compassion are the tools of choice for veterinarians at the Turtle Conservation Centre in Peterborough, Ontario, who repair turtles involved in altercations with automobiles. -SC
On December 18, 1968, members of the Akwesasne Mohawk community blockaded the international bridge near Cornwall, Ontario. The intent was to bring public attention to treaty violations by the Canadian government. A young Mohawk chief named Mike Mitchell narrates throughout, explaining that things got off to a rocky start when no one remembered to bring scotch tape to post notices of the blockade.
With its saccharine vocal tracks and armies of young women in whacky outfits, it is easy to think of J-Pop idols as just another weird subculture. But idols are big business in Japan, reportedly worth more than a billion dollars per year. At the centre of this maelstrom of hysterical cuteness and rainbow-coloured froth are some pretty basic human emotions — namely loneliness and sadness.
In Jennifer M. Kroot’s warm and deeply affectionate film, Armistead Maupin tells his story in his own words. Friends and colleagues including Neil Gaiman, Laura Linney, Olympia Dukakis, Sir Ian McKellen and Amy Tan weigh in, but Armistead needs little help. A natural born raconteur, he talks about his first sexual experience, and then bursts into the torchy standard, “Is That All There Is?”
The Road Movie is a film one watches in a state somewhere between existential dread and morbid hilarity. Voyeuristic, yes, but there is something even more curious at work here, namely the capricious, occasionally malevolent force that for lack of a better term we call fate. It pops up in meteors streaking across the sky, in car crashes, runaway tanks, forest fires and pop-eyed madmen. Here it is, the nature of the universe — endlessly unpredictable, prone to sudden bursts of freaky weirdness, all helpfully captured by dashboard cameras, present in almost all Russian cars.
The only thing sweeter than the cream puffs in Maite Alberdi’s charming film are the warm and funny interactions between middle-aged students, all of whom have Down syndrome. Many of the residents have worked in the school bakery for forty years, but the pull of adulthood, and all it represents — sex, marriage, and family — has taken hold.
Yuri Ancarani’s beautiful and bizarre film takes us inside the rarefied world of Middle Eastern falconry. Here the sport attracts passionate devotees from the Qatari hyper-rich who compete at auction for the best birds, drive deep into the desert to train their charges, and then assemble in Mad Max-style stadiums for spectacular tournaments.
Despite the ongoing environmental damage and pollution that have depleted his bee colonies, Lao Yu, a stalwart beekeeper in Northern China, is determined to keep his family tradition alive. After a year of living in the city, Lao’s son Maofu has returned home to their mountain village. It doesn’t take long before intergenerational conflicts erupt between father and son.