For immediate release:

September 10, 2021


Lunenburg Doc Fest Releases Largest Program To Date

September 23-29, 2021

Lunenburg, NS —  The 8th Lunenburg Doc Fest has created an exciting online and in-person program that will bring us Together … but not too close. All films will stream online providing an accessible festival experience that reaches audiences across North America.


Lunenburg’s waterfront is bustling once again and Doc Fest is celebrating with a range of exciting in-person events including a harbourfront Opening Night Social presented in partnership with Royal Bank of Canada (RBC). Six free public screenings will be paired with themed displays such as an 800+ square foot domino topple art installation by Nova Scotia’s large-scale domino artist, Bill Oakley.


Lunenburg Doc Fest’s importance as a destination for documentary film continues to grow.   A record number of international producers submitted their films for consideration this year.   The themes we will explore this year are:


Making a splash!:

Festival opener “Fanny: The Right to Rock” reveals the untold story of a self-formed, California garage band — that included queer and Filipina American bandmates — which morphed into the ferocious rock group Fanny, the first band of women to release an LP with a major record label (Warner/Reprise, 1970). “Fanny’s ground-breaking impact on music has been lost in the mists of time … until bandmates reunite 50 years later with a new rock record deal and chance to right the wrongs of music history.”  “Becoming Cousteau” will be featured online and on deck at the Zwicker Wharf in Lunenburg. The film takes an inside look at Cousteau’s life, iconic films and inventions, the experiences that made Cousteau the 20th century’s most unique and renowned environmental voice — the man who inspired generations to protect the Earth.


Near and dear:

“Hell or Clean Water” portrays what appears to be an impossible task and the Newfoundland diver, Shawn Bath, who has devoted himself to cleaning up the ocean floor one rotting tire at a time. Set on Fogo Island off the coast of Newfoundland, “Dropstones” is an intimate family portrait that follows a matriarch as she finds herself drawing on her island’s traditions to meet the challenges of motherhood. One of Canada’s foremost ceramic artists, Nova Scotia-based Walter Ostrom’s passionate art practice is explored through his own words and those of his students and colleagues around the world in “Good Earth: The Pots And Passion Of Walter Ostrom”.


Rooting for her:

In “Lily Topples the World” we meet 20-year old Lily Havesh, the world’s most acclaimed domino toppler and only ‘girl’ in her field. “Bangla Surf Girls” follows three Bangladeshi teenage girls as they fight unsurmountable odds to follow their dreams of surfing. Nasim follows the call of the mountains, beyond the barriers imposed on women in her country to open a new route in the Alps in “Climbing Iran”. “Rebel Heart” spotlights The Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary who stood up to the patriarchy of the Catholic Church and challenged the notion of what a nun and a woman are supposed to be. In “Seyran Ateş: Sex, Revolution and Islam” Seyran Ateş – a Turkish- German lawyer, author, feminist, and one of the first female imams in Europe – is fighting for a sexual revolution within Islam, rebelling against extremism and hate in the name of peace and love. Armed with smartphones, Chief Reporter Meera and journalists of India’s only newspaper run by Dalit (‘low caste’) women break traditions in “Writing with Fire” and redefine what it means to be powerful.


Reframing mortality:

“Artificial Immortality” If you were able to create an immortal version of yourself, would you? This film explores the latest advancements in AI, robotics and biotech with visionaries who argue for a new age of post-biological life.  In “Rebel Objects” Carolina returns to Costa Rica to try to rebuild the relationship with her father and embarks on a journey through an erased indigenous history. Through objects and their stories, Carolina learns a different way to relate to death. “Come Back Anytime” presents a window into the lives of self-taught Japanese ramen master Masamoto Ueda and his wife Kazuko who have nourished a community by running their tiny Tokyo ramen shop Bizentei for more than 40 years.


Homeland stories:

Mirroring how Canada’s Indian residential school legacy and the decimation of wild pacific salmon stem from a common story, “Returning Home” follows Phyllis Webstad, Executive Director of the Orange Shirt Society, on a nationwide educational tour as her family struggles to heal multigenerational wounds at home in Secwépemc territory. “Taming the Garden” is the story of how a powerful man indulges in an unusual hobby to have century-old trees uprooted in communities along the Georgian coast and transplanted to his private garden. Facing the consequences of a violent uprooting, Mateo Sobode Chiqueno of “Apenas El Sol (Nothing But The Sun)” records stories, songs, and testimonies of his Ayoreo people since the seventies in an attempt to preserve fragments of a disappearing culture.


Impactful visionaries:

“High Maintenance” Israeli artist Dani Karavan has created nearly 100 environmental installations across the world and won prestigious international art awards yet Karavan, an artist whose passion is as big as his personality, is far from satisfied. “The Conductor” takes the audience into the heart of classical music, and into the soul of one of its top artists, the internationally renowned conductor Marin Alsop.  “With Drawn Arms” focuses on the 1968 Olympics and American former athlete, Tommie Smith, who raised his fist during the medal ceremony – the defiant gesture has reverberated ever since, adopted by generations of civil rights activists in the fight for social justice.


Lunenburg Doc Fest is also pleased to present six diverse short-film programs this season: “In Search Of Solace: CBC Shorts”, “Indigenous Short Docs”, “Reframed: The Ability in Disability”, “Turning Tides: Atlantic Canadian Shorts”, “A Will, A Way” and, supported by the Province of Nova Scotia, we are pleased to work in partnership with the Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage to present “The Languages of Film”, a collection of non-English and creative-language short documentaries.


Lunenburg Doc Fest proudly supports an annual Seniors Workshop and Youth Program. The Seniors project “Food Security For All” is funded by the Government of Canada’s New Horizons For Seniors Program.  The youth project “Experimenting With The Bluenose: Unconventional Approaches To A Legendary Icon” is generously supported by Bluenose100.


The festival is offering flexible pricing to ensure Lunenburg Doc Fest is accessible to all film lovers.   Tickets are available at


For a complete 2021 schedule, visit

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Lunenburg Doc Fest showcases documentary films that entertain, educate, and inspire, creating a cultural experience and place of connection between filmmakers and film enthusiasts in the UNESCO World Heritage site of Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. The festival is presented with generous support from Canadian Heritage, The Government of Canada, Telefilm, Nova Scotia Communities, Culture and Heritage, Bluenose100, and valued community of local and industry sponsors.


For more information contact Nancy MacDonald at:


Phone:                   902-523-3456

Mail:                      Box 1497, Lunenburg, NS  B0J 2C0  Canada



Twitter:                 @LunenburgDocFes

Instagram:           @LunenburgDocFest