Connect the Docs helps connect the cities

The Ghosts in Our Machine

Where: Victoria Event Centre, 1415 Broad St.

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When: Tonight, 7 p.m. (doors 5:30 p.m.)

Cost: By donation ($10-$20 suggested)



While Victoria and Toronto might not appear to be ideal bedmates, Open Cinema founder Mandy Leith aims to change that when two of Canada’s most movie-mad cities hook up tonight.

Her grassroots screening series wraps Connecting the Docs, its multi-city “hybrid cinema” series tonight with a screening of The Ghosts In Our Machine, Liz Marshall’s documentary focusing on the moral dilemma surrounding our relationship with animals and their use as food, entertainment and product-testers as seen through the lens of its subject, photographer Jo-Anne McArthur.

“The three-hour time difference allows [Connecting the Docs] to explore how to best work with the time-zone differences across the country,” explains Leith. “As the Toronto event wraps its post-screening discussion, the Victoria event will just be kicking off and we’ll Skype Liz and Jo-Anne into the Victoria venue to prime our audience on an update on the Toronto event.”

Leith was particularly excited about getting to collaborate with the Toronto chapter of Raindance, the international filmmaking and festival organization hosting the eastern Canada screening at Toronto’s downtown Carlton Cinema.

While The Ghosts In Our Machine isn’t sensationalized or “overly graphic,” Marshall’s award-winning animal rights documentary effectively prompts discussion about how the choices we make affect the lives of animals, says event sponsor Lesley Fox, executive director of the Association for the Protection of Fur-Bearing Animals.

The film details McArthur’s experiences photographing animal stories across Canada, the U.S. and Europe, drawing attention to global industries that exploit animals.

“We’re so grateful to Open Cinema for going the extra mile to create a digital forum to actively engage citizens across Canada,” said Fox, who will also speak during a post-screening discussion in Victoria moderated by MediaNet executive director Peter Sandmark. Panelists include Victoria Vegan Fest’s Dave Shishkoff and Maneesha Deckha, associate professor in the University of Victoria’s Faculty of Law.

The filmmaker, on a worldwide community screenings tour, will attend Open Cinema’s sister event being held in Toronto with McArthur on the eve of Hot Docs, which opens Thursday.

Other featured speakers following the Toronto screening include Anita Krajnc, of Toronto Pig Save, and Toronto Vegetarian Association’s David Alexander.

One of the benefits of Connecting the Docs, presented with the support of the Canada Media Fund, is that viewers can attend the screening and discussion event in either city or watch online and join the conversation via Livestream and #FortheGhosts Tweetchat or through the Facebook group, Leith said.

Local food will be available throughout the evening, as well as a cash bar and door prizes.

Open Cinema’s Season 11 wraps May 14 with a fundraising screening of Miss Representation, which explores the mainstream media’s disservice to women, in partnership with Bridges for Women.

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