Mining-related films at Planet In Focus Film Festival, Toronto

Friday, November 3, 2006
7:00 pm to 9:00 pm
Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto

MiningWatch Canada is sponsoring two films at this years’ Planet in Focus environmental film festival in Toronto.

“Sipakapa is Not for Sale” (“Sipakapa No Se Vende”) is a documentary about Mayan Guatemalans democratically saying “no” to open-pit gold mine proposed by Glamis Gold subsidiary Montana Exploradora. “Sipakapa no se vende” analyzes the debate over mining exploitation by filming representatives of the mining company as well as the Sipakapan Maya. However, the larger issue is the Sipakapans’ battle to preserve their autonomy from foreign commercial interests. Their fight offers a hopeful example to other indigenous people around the world who refuse to be victims. Andy Altilia, a Hamilton-based Guatemala solidarity activist, will be present to discuss the film and the current situation.

The Curse of Copper” is a documentary about Ecuadorians battling a Canadian company that wants to turn their cloud forest into an open pit mine. Canada is the biggest investor in global mining, and Vancouver’s Ascendant Copper plans to open a mine in the Ecuadorian rainforest, one of the world’s most threatened biodiversity hotspots. The mine would destroy the precious ecosystem and disrupt local people’s lives. Already, concerned citizens face death threats, physical intimidation and an atmosphere of fear, attributed to CODEGAM, a P.R. front financed by Ascendant. “The Curse of Copper” follows the battle between a profit-driven company and villagers who simply want to maintain their homes and their way of life. Filmmaker Jenny Sharman will be present to discuss the film.

Obviously we are encouraging people to attend these specific films, but please check out the entire festival. The 2006 festival runs from November 1 to 5 and will feature over 80 films from across Canada and around the world. Screenings take place at the Royal Ontario Museum and Innis College. Tickets are $10 for adults, $8 for students/seniors, and $5 for children.

Global urban concerns will be featured alongside other environmental issues in animated films, edgy documentaries, and dramas that make up the range of compelling Canadian and international works from Azerbaijan, Australia, Bhutan, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cambodia, China, France, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, India, Italy, Israel, Korea, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Palestine, Russia, Senegal, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom, U.S.A. and Zambia.

The annual festival also includes an Eco-Fair, panel discussions, children’s films, and an Organic Pancake Breakfast.

For the full festival schedule, film and event descriptions, and to buy tickets, visit

Tickets may also be purchased by phone at 416-968-FILM (3456) or in person at the box office located at the Manulife Centre, 55 Bloor St. West (Main Floor, North Entrance).