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Darius McCollum, subject of Off The Rails. Image courtesy of Wakefield Doc Fest.

Wakefield Doc Fest announces the slate of films for 2018

By Greggory Clark on January 23, 2018

The ninth annual Wakefield Doc Fest kicks off this year with a free screening of the Oscar-nominated Jane, an outstanding documentary film which depicts Jane Goodall’s early years in Tanzania with never-before-seen footage from Huge van Lawick, the National Geographic filmmaker who accompanied Goodall. Directed by Brett Morgen and scored by Philip Glass, the film had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2017.

Jane Goodall and infant chimpanzee Flint reach out to touch each other’s hands. Flint was the first infant born at Gombe after Jane arrived. Photo: National Geographic Creative/Hugo van Lawick.

A total of fourteen films will be screened (some twice) over five weekends of the festival, which runs from February 3 to March 4 at the Centre Wakefield La Pêche. There will be a closing night party at The Black Sheep Inn.

The festival’s 2018 offering includes a number of international and Canadian documentary films. Highlights include Off The Rails (February 10–11), the remarkable story of an American man with Asperger’s whose overwhelming love of public transit has resulted in 32 arrests for impersonating NYC bus and subway operators and driving their routes.

“All are films chosen on individual merit, the beauty of their images, the depth and compassion in the storytelling,” says Programming Director Melanie Willis. “These films show us our humanity, record our concerns and issues, all us a bit of time in a frenetic world to ponder this or that theme or issue or story.”

Darius McCollum, subject of Off The Rails. Image courtesy of Wakefield Doc Fest.

Vancouver-born artist Richard Hambleton is the subject of Shadowman (February 17–18). Hambleton was at the forefront of the street art movement which burst out of Manhattan in the 1980s.

Screening on closing weekend, March 3–4, California Typewriter is an entertaining ode to the mostly obsolete device which some writers still hold to dearly. Named after one of the last remaining typewriter repair shops in the United States, the film interviews celebrity devotees, musicians, writers, artists and collectors who weigh in on their deep love for the machine.

A special series will drop into the visually stunning and inspiring work of Quebec directors on Saturday afternoons from February 10 through closing weekend. Four films by directors Nicolas Paquet, Céline Baril, Raymond St-Jean, and David Eng will screen in French with English subtitles. Some of these screenings will be followed by filmmaker Q&As.

Several directors will be in attendance including Stacey Tenenbaum, director of Shiners, one of The Globe & Mail‘s top ten films of 2017. Tenenbaum will speak on February 10. Her film Shiners portrays the life and work of shoe shiners on four continents in a exploration of a mostly overlooked and sometimes looked-down-upon profession.

Visit wakefielddocfest.ca for the complete schedule of screenings and panels.


The 9th Wakefield Doc Fest is running from February 3 to March 4, 2018, at the Centre Wakefield La Pêche (38 ch. de la Vallée de Wakefield). Single tickets cost $15 online and weekend passes are $40 for three films.