Kwantlen teams up with VIFF to launch documentary film fest

SURREY — A Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) instructor is spearheading a university-based documentary film festival, and with the help of the longstanding Vancouver International Film Festival, the film fest — called KDocs — initiative is getting a little kick.

Janice Morris, who’s been teaching English at KPU since 2006, sparked up interest in doing a Kwantlen-related documentary film festival, and the first one on the radar is The Price We Pay, which will be launching the initiative at Vancity Theatre in conjunction with VIFF on Oct. 5.

“The Price We Pay is very timely. Kwantlen, like all educational institutions and the students and faculty that work there, [is] very geared towards relevant, timely issues of social-economic justice,” Morris told the Now. “So this is right in our bailiwick of what KDocs is most concerned with, which is a critical view of our world.”

Morris, along with former colleague Helen Mendes started a KPU-related documentary series in 2012, forming the Miss Representation Action Group after screening the documentary Miss Representation at the university’s Surrey campus. Though the group has since disbanded, Morris wanted to continue the dialogue sparked by the initiative.

“What came out of the screenings and townhall sessions we ran was a critical examination of our communities, our world and ourselves,” said Morris in an earlier release. “We had students, faculty and members of the public discussing with filmmakers each film’s themes, how they relate to us and how the issues raised in the docs could be collectively addressed.”

The Vancity Theatre event would be a one-off inauguration party, with hopes that a day-long documentary film festival can take place in the spring.

“The idea as we go forward is to have a full-on festival,” said Morris. “Right now, this is… kind of like a showpiece and it’s intended to put us on the map and launch us.”

The idea, said Morris, is for KDocs to operate like any other film festival, showcasing world-class documentaries, but may also include the work of its own students.

“We would love to become a vehicle for students to launch and showcase their own work,” Morris admitted. “Otherwise, like every other film festival, we’ll be screening great documentaries.”

VIFF, which was looking to partner with an educational institution for the duration of the festival, is applauding Morris’ plan.

“We’re delighted that KPU is taking this initiative,” said Alan Franey, director of programming for VIFF, in the release.

“The Price We Pay provides profound insight into a very important subject that every citizen should be concerned with. Cinema is such a valuable educational tool, and yet it sometimes requires real imagination and initiative on behalf of parents and edicators to steer young audiences towards the good stuff,” he said.

KPU’s KDocs event at Vancity Theatre in Vancouver is to begin at 4 p.m. with a welcome reception, followed by the film screening and a question-and-answer period with the film’s director, Harold Crooks, at 6:15 p.m. Dinner and reception will follow the event.

The event is free and open to the public, but interested guests must register for this limited seating occasion at

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