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Shift Focus

Rodrigo Moreno seems to have it all. He’s a wedding photographer who spends much of his professional life shooting lavish destination weddings where money is no object. He has a beautiful wife, a nice home and two mini dogs. Yet, something is missing. Rodrigo is haunted by memories of his troubled youth in an inner city neighbourhood popularly called ‘The Jungle’. He returns with the idea of finding some answers and starts a photography club to provide a creative outlet for the young people whom he befriends. In a surprising turn of events, the club catches the attention of Teresa, an animal lover who saved a captured monkey in Peru. She takes him to the real jungle – the Amazon. Here Rodrigo meets Carlos, a biologist, devoted to preserving the rainforest and Ronaldo, a young boy who is crazy about his butterflies. Rodrigo’s stunning lens captures the people, and a way of life on the brink of extinction. Shift Focus is one man’s photographic journey that gives permanency to people in two very different jungles.

Notman's Camera

From 1856 to the time of his death in 1891, William Notman ran the most important photographic studio in Canada. It is said that he is the most successful photographer in all of North America. In 1873 alone he produces 14,000 images. Some are treasured private possessions. Others are reproduced in the thousands and are sold around the world. He came to Canada as a fugitive from the law and quickly built a thriving business in the then ‘new art’ of photography. He wanted to be a successful businessman. What he became was the architect of one of North America’s most important historical records. An entrepreneur and master craftsman, he also trained a generation of Canadian and American photographers who ran his satellite studios in Halifax, St. John, Boston, Albany, and New York. He captured the social life of Canadian and international elite as well as the family life of both the rich and the ordinary. He artfully recorded the settlement of the west, the growth of bustling cities and the fading of a way of life as aboriginal peoples moved onto reserves. Thousands of men and women, both famous and ordinary, live on for us through William Notman’s work. Notman’s Canada evokes the social and cultural life of Montreal and Canada in the last half of the 19th century. The photographs themselves form the main visual source, supplemented with original shooting including minimal recreation in Montreal and other historically significant locations. Filmed interviews with Notman enthusiasts and experts provide context. Diaries, letters, and songs of the time are also used to bring alive an era in which the photograph was an exciting new medium of enormous social and cultural importance.

Daddy Tran: A Life in 3-D

Six years ago, 65-year-old photographer Hai Tran fell in love with 3-D photography and is on a mission to share its wonders with as many people as possible. His passion for photography began as a child in Vietnam, continued when he fled with his young family in a small boat with three cameras and a suitcase of photographs, and culminated in Calgary where he eventually opened one of Canada's largest vintage camera stores. Director Siu Ta reveals the history of the family through Hai's wonderful photos as well as intimate and funny stories from his wife and children. Ta captures Hai's ebullience when a moose poses for his camera, his joy as he shows his work to strangers and his sadness as he is forced to close the store. Hai's charisma, volatile personality and love for photography light up this film. In English and Vietnamese with English subtitles.
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