Tons of feminist fare on offer at DOXA 2016

Women-centric and female directed films take hold at annual film festival in Vancouver

By Kristi Alexandra

Maya Angelou, all-ladies basketball teams, pioneering burlesque dancers and the women of underground ’90s hip-hop take the screen at this year’s DOXA festival, which kicks off on Thursday, May 5.

Presented by The Documentary Media Society, a Vancouver-based society devoted to presenting independent and innovative documentaries to Vancouver audiences, DOXA screens several films over select venues for 10 days each year.

Running from May 5 to May 15, DOXA opens with Canadian film Aim For the Roses at Vancouver Playhouse, with films also being screened at Pacific Cinematheque, Museum of Vancouver, Vancity Theatre, and SFU’s Goldcorp Centre for the Arts in the following days.

Loose Lips has rounded up our most anticipated women-centric and female-directed films showing at this year’s DOXA Festival.

League of Exotique Dancers directed by Rama Rau

Who says sex stops at a certain age? Certainly not the women in Rama Rau’s riotous romp through the life and times of the pioneering women of burlesque.

Shows: Thursday, May 12 at 7 p.m at Vancouver Playhouse (600 Hamilton St); Friday, May 13 at 8:30 p.m. at Vancity Theatre (1181 Seymour St)

Pistol Shrimps directed by Brent Hodge

For anyone who ever dreamed of glory on the b-ball court. Well, perhaps not glory, but just basic competence, here come the (Aubrey Plaza led) Pistol Shrimps!

Shows: Wednesday, May 11 at 7 p.m. at Vancouver Playhouse (600 Hamilton St); Sunday, May 15 at 5:30 p.m. at Vancity Theatre (1181 Seymour St)

This Is The Life directed by Ava DuVernay

Director Ava DuVernay’s debut film documents the life and times of The Good Life Café and the early days of L.A. hip hop.

Shows: Friday, May 13 at 2:45 p.m. at Vancity Theatre (1181 Seymour St)

Trapped directed by Dawn Porter

When State Senator Wendy Davis took to the floor of the Texas legislature and filibustered for 11 hours straight, the moment grabbed media attention around the globe. Davis’s impassioned stand on the right of women to safe and legal healthcare was part of a much larger struggle. In Texas, the doctors and nurses who provide family planning services, everything from pregnancy tests to STI information and access to abortion, face a daily fight, not only from anti-choice protestors who harass staff and abuse patients, but more critically, from their own government.

Shows: Tuesday, May 10 at 6 p.m. at the Cinematheque (1131 Howe St.)

Les Bureaux de Dieu (God’s Offices) directed by Claire Simon

Life inside a family planning clinic is the basis for Claire Simon’s seamless mixture of documentary and performance. The doctors and counselors are played by some of France’s most acclaimed actresses including Beatrice Dalle and Nathalie Baye, while the patients are all non-professional actors. Each episode provides a lens through which to better see and understand social mores, the roles of women, and the complexities of sexuality and love.

Shows: Tuesday, May 10 at 3 p.m. at Vancity Theatre (1181 Seymour St)

My Love Affair with the Brain: The Life and Science of Dr. Marian Diamond directed by Catherine Ryan and Gary Weimberg

Meet Dr. Marian Diamond, renowned academic and research scientist, and prepare to be smitten. Catherine Ryan and Gary Weimberg’s film follows this remarkable woman over a 5-year period and introduces the viewer to both her many scientific accomplishments and the warm, funny, and thoroughly charming woman herself, who describes her 60-year career researching the human brain as “pure joy.”

Shows: Sunday, May 8 at 6:30p.m. at Cinematheque (1131 Howe St.)

Maya Angelou and Still I Rise directed by Bob Hercules and Rita Coburn Whack

The life and times, and most importantly the art, of Maya Angelou is given expansive coverage in Bob Hercules and Rita Coburn Whack’s film biography.

Shows: Sunday, May 8 at 5:30p.m. at Vancity Theatre (1181 Seymour St); Sunday, May 15 at 3:30 p.m. at Cinematheque (1131 Howe St.)

Alisa in Warland directed by Alisa Kovalenko and Liubov Durakova

Alisa Kovalenko is a film student in Kiev when the 2014 Ukrainian Revolution kicks off. She grabs her camera and her boyfriend Stephane, a French journalist and lecturer, and heads into the streets to capture the heady intoxication of toppling President Viktor Yanukovych. But when the situation escalates and the battles with Russia begin in earnest, documentation is no longer enough for Kovalenko.

Shows: Saturday, May 7 at 2:15p.m. at Vancity Theatre (1181 Seymour St)

For a complete list of shows and venues, visit



Kristi Alexandra is an unabashed wino and wannabe musician. Her talents include drinking an entire bottle of cabernet sauvignon, singing in the bathtub, and falling asleep.