Environmental disaster or economic godsend: From a distance, many have rendered 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 through the experiences of five oil patch workers trying to win a karaoke contest at a local pub. Poignant and beautifully shot, the film takes pains not to judge as it paints a dignified portrait of the boomtown and the workers.
At VIFF: Oct. 4, 7 p.m., International Village; Oct. 6, 2:30 p.m., Vancity; Oct. 11, 1:30 p.m., SFU