The Documentary Media Research Centre (DMRC) is pleased to present a discussion with directors Lindsay Fitzgerald, Lulu Wei and Ali Weinstein. All three filmmakers are graduates of the Documentary Media (MFA) program in the School of Image Arts. Their films address moments of great change: in spirituality and contemporary religious practice, in the destruction and redevelopment of one iconic block in Toronto; and in fact-finding and the challenges of journalism in the world of social media, information conglomerates, and even fake news. Change is also in play for the filmmakers who shot their features pre-pandemic, only to release them into an entirely different world.
Lindsay Fitzgerald’s film After Fact (2020) is an unvarnished portrait of real life news work. Shot in a cinéma-vérité style, this feature documentary illuminates the complexity of fact-finding and the pressures of being a journalist in a post-modern context. With subtle cues about the decimation of local news, the economic perils facing newsrooms and the dehumanization of journalists, the film takes a nuanced look at the task of sense-making in a world where the notion of truth is ever more malleable.
There’s No Place Like This Place, Anyplace (2020), directed by Lulu Wei and produced by Ali Weinstein, looks at the transformation of an iconic Toronto block – where the world- famous Honest Ed’s store once lived – through the stories of community members as they attempt to reconcile their history with the future, all while facing the biggest urban housing crisis Toronto (and Canada) has ever seen.
Ali Weinstein’s film #BLESSED goes inside a fast-growing millennial church, where Pastor Sam spreads his message of 21st century salvation to his young and hip churchgoers as they work their way closer to God.
LINDSAY FITZGERALD is a writer, producer, researcher and journalist in Toronto. She has been working in the documentary and media landscape for close to a decade, on independent and broadcast productions for TVO, CBC and the Fifth Estate. Her independent short films have screened at festivals around the world, most notably About Employment (2017), which won the prestigious TVO Short Doc contest. She is currently the production manager and associate producer on the documentary Betrayal (CBC, 2021), and has just finished her first feature-length film, After Fact (2020), which will have its festival premiere in 2021.
BRETT STORY is a filmmaker and writer based in Toronto. Her 2016 feature documentary, The Prison in Twelve Landscapes, was awarded the Special Jury Prize at the Hot Docs Documentary Festival and was a nominee for Best Feature Documentary at the Canadian Screen Awards. Brett is the author of the book, Prison Land: Mapping Carceral Power across Neoliberal America, and co-editor of the book, Digital Life in the Global City. Her most recent award-winning feature documentary, The Hottest August, continues to screen around the world.
LULU WEI is a Toronto-based director and cinematographer whose work explores issues around urbanization, cultural identity and queerness. She has been working on There’s No Place Like This Place, Anyplace, her first feature film, for the past four years. In that time, Lulu and the film have been a part of the RIDM Talent Lab, the Reel World E20 program, the Hot Docs Doc Accelerator program and the DOC Breakthrough program.
ALI WEINSTEIN premiered her first feature-length film, Mermaids, at Hot Docs 2017. She has since directed #BLESSED, about the stunning success of an evangelical church amongst Toronto millennials, for CBC and she co-directed The Impossible Swim, about a 16-year-old marathon swimmer, for TSN. There’s No Place Like This Place, Anyplace is the first film she has produced.
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This event is supported by the Documentary Media Research Centre (DMRC). The DMRC develops new scholarship and research/production methodologies in all forms of contemporary documentary practice. The DMRC disseminates the results of its research activities through conferences, publications, public film screenings, curatorial projects and exhibitions. See: www.imagearts.ryerson.ca/docmediacentre/