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VIFF Review: Oil Sands Karaoke

Written by Kyle Empringham

Charles Wilkinson, director of the award-winning VIFF documentary Peace Out, is at it again with his new film, Oil Sands Karaoke.

Source: http://www.viff.org/festival/films/f8801-oil-sands-karaoke

Source: www.viff.org

Written, produced, and brought to VIFF all within the span of one year, this film takes a different perspective than its environmentally-angled predecessor. Oil Sands Karaoke takes a look at the people behind the scenes in Fort McMurray, Alberta. We’re introduced to a local pub that’s about to have a karaoke competition, where many oil workers are getting ready to show off their voices.

The viewer is introduced to a diverse range of stories. Among the cast of characters are one of the first men to openly dress in drag; a young part-native woman that struggles with the environmental impacts of oilsands development; and a country man who loves everything he’s doing.

Each of these people (and more) enter the karaoke contest, practicing while working in their jumbo-sized Tonka trucks (the wheels alone are about 12-15 feet tall). The film shows the nerves and tears as they prepare to let loose and sing their hearts out for their community.

Oil Sands Karaoke will be shown again on October 11 at 1:30pm in the SFU Woodwards Theatre. For more information, please see the VIFF website.

Kyle Empringham is a recent graduate from Simon Fraser University’s School of Resource and Environmental Management and is the Co-Founder of The Starfish Canada.