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DRIFF helping educators

DRIFF is looking to help teachers both virtually and in-person by challenging students to think critically through film. From Nov. 4 to Nov. 6, DRIFF EDU will provide students with varied film experiences which challenge them to think critically about three important issues: isolation and coping strategies, the Black experience, and the environment and sustainable food.

Durham’s biggest film festival is helping teachers by challenging students to think critically.

The Durham Region International Film Festival (DRIFF) is helping educators who are teaching both virtual and in-person classes by engaging, informing and inspiring students through film. From Nov. 4 to Nov. 6, DRIFF EDU will provide students with varied film experiences aiming to challenge them to think critically about three current issues: isolation and coping strategies, the Black experience, and the environment and sustainable food.

“DRIFF EDU is all about high-quality, accessible programming for students. Featuring topics that speak to the next generation, these curated films offer teachers engaging and relevant media to share and discuss,” says Carla Sinclair, DRIFF Chair. “In these challenging times where restrictions are the norm, DRIFF EDU opens a door to the world through film with the click of a button.”

The isolation and coping strategies program allows students to explore the highs and lows of what it means to be a social media “celebrity” in Behind the Handle, and to follow a famous blogger’s battle with depression in I Hope They Remember My Name.

The Cayman Island film, The Great Disconnect, is an exploration of the many ways people unintentionally isolate themselves, how that affects our happiness, and what concrete actions can improve our situation.

The black experience is a showcase of five short films that deal with racial pride, inequality and misperceptions. Ice Breakers follows an African-Canadian hockey player who discovers the buried history of the contributions by Black athletes to modern hockey. In We Can’t Breathe, a young couple clashes in the wake of a racially charged murder committed by a police officer. This program also includes the film Be(lie)f, and an exclusive interview with its writer and lead actor, Quentin Lee Murphy.

In the Environment and Sustainable Food showcase, students experience four short films from the United States, Canada and Russia.

The Food We Eat examines a New York chef’s journey to Trinidad where his love of food and cooking leads him to discover the plight of sea turtles, resulting in his quest for sustainable seafood solutions.

In Saving Grayling, agencies put their differences aside to embark on an innovative scientific project to save the Arctic Grayling from the looming threat of endangered status. Included in this program is an interview with those responsible for the community garden project featured in the film, This Garden is Yours.

A key feature of each DRIFF EDU showcase is the pre-recorded interview with a speaker responsible for one of that program’s films. Each interview is designed to engage the students in critical thought about the topic, and to send them away with something to think about that can enrich their lives.

A festival pass can be purchased for $60 per class to gain access to all three programs. Single program tickets can also be purchased for $25 per class.  Tickets, festival passes and program information are available now at