Screening Truth to Power – Cinema Politica: Audio Interview with Svetla Turnin and Ezra Winton



As Cinema Politica turns 15 in Montréal, Dipti Gupta and Raphael Cohen-Demers interview co-founders Svetla Turnin and Ezra Winton to walk us through their accomplishments, challenges and vision.


“If it’s still just a few profit-driven corporations that control all the platforms, venues and channels, then the radical work, the work that is process-oriented and not product-oriented, the work that is about community and not about the market, then those works are still going to be pushed out, and that’s definitely the case in Canada. It’s not even just the radical edges, it’s actually documentary as a whole, struggling to find venues, platforms and channels whether on television, online, anywhere.”


“One of the biggest problems for documentary in Canada is that people really cannot survive off of making documentary films. Documentary filmmakers as well as producers have a really hard time breaking even, have a really hard time sustaining a career dedicated to that noble profession. Many young people that we know resort to corporate jobs and non-sustainable gigs and different types of work that have nothing to do with documentary in order to be able to subsidize and fund, even self-fund, a lot of the work that they are doing.”


“Another enduring problem that is being addressed but has a long way to go is that the documentary financers and people making decisions around curating and what plays/what doesn’t, what gets in the festivals/what doesn’t, what gets funded, largely still do not reflect the diversity of the audiences and the subjects of the films.”


“Currently there’s a big move towards gender parity… but gender parity is not enough. There needs to be a lot more work done in terms of representation and participation that is truly reflective of the body of media makers and documentary makers.”


“Good documentary filmmaking is, for us, about building reciprocal, equitable relationships that are framed around equitable social justice.”




Dipti Gupta is a professor in the department of Cinema and Communications at Dawson College. She is the current Director of the South Asian Film Festival of Montréal and has been on the board of Teesri Duniya Theatre for 28 years. She also teaches (on a part-time basis) courses on Diaspora Films and Bollywood Films at Concordia University.

Raphael Cohen-Demers is currently a first year Film Studies student at Concordia University. He has a keen interest in directing, cinematography and music, and combines his knowledge of these disciplines to create stirring, self-reflexive work.