Environmental disaster or economic godsend: From a distance, many have weighed in, rendering a black-and-white judgment on Alberta’s controversial oil sands. But walk a mile in the work boots of the people who have gone there to earn a paycheque – fuelled by debt, heartbreak, even personal trauma – and there’s a lot more grey. In this surprisingly sensitive documentary, life in Fort McMurray is viewed not through the lens of warnings by environmentalists, politicians or economists, but through the experiences of five oil patch workers trying to win a karaoke contest at a local pub. Poignant and beautifully shot – with spectacular and revealing footage of the area – the film takes pains not to judge as it paints a dignified portrait of both the booming town and the workers who have been driven to it.
April 26, 8:30 p.m., Bader; April 27, 2 p.m., ROM; May 4, 6:30 p.m., Scotiabank.