Wakefield Doc Fest began life as the Wakefield International Film Festival (WIFF). The first festival was in the winter early months of 2010, making the upcoming February 2020 festival the 11th edition. The festival, which became Wakefield Doc Fest in 2016 to better reflect its documentary focus, now has a second program begun September 2016, the Wakefield Doc Fest Weekend.
WIFF was established by Brenda and Robert Rooney to fill a need. In this wild world of information overload and short attention spans, a feature documentary film allows us some time to reflect on a certain issue or subject, on a particular aspect of human existence, in order to form an educated opinion. Relatedly, an inquiring mind and the meaningful portrayal of reality are essential ingredients to the health of our democracy.
The purpose of the festival, then, is to provide stimulating and essential documentary screenings of a selection of the very best in current Canadian and international feature documentary film – and also to provide opportunities, through director visits, panel discussions and the like, for the audience to process and engage in a satisfying manner. We also like to have fun – and we have great parties!
Documentary film is particularly important in Canadian cultural history. The film roundly acknowledged as the first documentary made, Robert Flaherty’s Nanook of the North, was Canadian. It wasn’t called a documentary at the time: that term was coined by John Grierson when he founded the National Film Board of Canada.
The positioning of this festival in this particular location also has roots. Maverick Academy Award™ winner Budge Crawley pioneered independent filmmaking in the Gatineau Hills. Perhaps you were one of the lucky ones who saw his documentary, The Man Who Skied Down Everest, on the big screen when we showed it as a 40th anniversary tribute. It seems fitting to celebrate the art form here.
Staff and crew
Festival Administrator: Jill Rick
Graphic Design: Alison Scott
Web Design: Dan Imbrogno
Technical Director: Rink De Lange
Éminence Grise: Brenda Rooney