Powerful films at Real to Reel festival enlighten through storytelling
23 March 2018
Many people remember story time as one of the best parts of their childhood. Even later in life, storytelling is a powerful tool for learning and conveying truths.
Telling a story to raise important issues and get people thinking and discussing important themes with each other was part of the purpose of the Real to Reel Film Festival at the North Kildonan Mennonite Brethren Church, which ran Feb. 20-25.
Many different films and documentaries were part of the festival, featuring everything from lighthearted children’s stories to tragic accounts of human trafficking or the dangers that workers in Africa deal with every day in their quest for gold to satisfy western markets.
Facing Darkness was one of the more disturbing films at the festival, telling the story of a clinic in Liberia, where doctors working with Franklin Graham’s Samaritan’s Purse faced a mysterious enemy in the Ebola virus that devastated many regions in West Africa. The film traces the progress of the disease and the publicity it gained only after two of the western medical staff in Liberia also fell ill.
Despite its sombre theme and often tragic story, Facing Darkness is ultimately a hopeful story as it traces the retreat of the disease and the return of some degree of normal life in Africa. The documentary’s use of eyewitness accounts helps to give the story a very human and personal touch, even though that technique perhaps spoils some of the tension. Actual news footage also helps to place the story in its world context.