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Five Must-see Films Screening at ADFF ‘22

North America’s largest film festival dedicated to architecture and design returns with 15 films from across 10 countries

By Designlines

The largest North American film festival dedicated to architecture and design returns to Toronto this week! Presented by Eventscape, the Architecture + Design Film Festival (ADFF) brings a roster of fifteen films to the city’s TIFF Bell Lightbox from November 2-5—a big in-person return for the event after two years of virtual screenings. Toronto is the second of five stops on the festival’s North American tour, following last month’s launch in New York.

For ADFF’s 14th edition, the curated selection of films investigate design’s impact on the worlds of fashion, real estate, art, architecture, urban planning, and housing—with each film to be introduced by a special guest and followed by live Q&As with the filmmakers. While many design-lovers would, no doubt, like to catch all films at this year’s festival; we’ve rounded up five of our top picks you shouldn’t miss.

A World to Shape | Netherlands |
In A World to Shape, director Ton van Zantvoort guides you through the respective ingenuity of Dutch designers Nienke Hoogvliet and Dave Hakkens. Nienke’s mission is to make the world’s second most polluting industry – the clothing industry – more sustainable. Dave’s is to establish a living and working community that uses a minimal carbon footprint. The duo represent a generation acutely aware that raw materials are depleting, energy is scarce, and globalization is driving new forms of small-scale production. As makers, they don’t care about existing boundaries between art, design and science.

The Queen of Danish Design | Denmark |
Director Isabel Bernadette Brammer brings to ADFF her outstanding documentary, Grethe Meyer – The Queen of Danish Design. The film narrates the story of Meyer, one of the few pioneering women who, despite the enormous consequences, created classic designs such as the Royal Copenhagen Blue Edge set. Combining humanist thinking with an almost scientific methodology, Meyer analyzed her way into all her designs – working, reworking, and testing – in a man’s world.

Outside In | Canada |
One of three Canadian features at ADFF, Outside In explores what is happening to us as we remove ourselves from nature and place ourselves into high-rises of steel and glass. By way of interviews with renowned architects, the film examines the hard science behind a movement of healthy home design called biophilia, which suggests that building healthier homes can affect positive changes in our blood pressure, heart rate and stress hormones.

Alice Street | United States |
Alice Street is a compelling story of how two artists in Oakland come together to adjust the process and pace of a rapidly gentrifying neighborhood. From director Spencer Wilkinson, a Chilean studio painter and a Chicago-born aerosol artist form an unlikely partnership to tackle a four-story mural at a unique intersection where Chinese and Afro-Diasporic communities face the imminent threat of displacement and gentrification. Three months after the conclusion of the mural, the construction of a luxury condominium threatens to demolish the artwork, forcing the artists and the community to rally once again to protect its history, voice, and land.

Bawa’s Garden | United Kingdom |
Closing ADFF ’22, this road movie stories the work of renowned Sri Lankan architect Geoffrey Bawa. The film follows a protagonist scouring the island for the ‘lost’ garden of Lunuganga. Finding the treasure might be the goal, yet her search is the catalyst for encounters with a series of characters and rarely visited buildings that reveal the story of Bawa’s life and work. Shot across Sri Lanka, this experimental documentary by director Clara Kraft Isono weaves dreamlike narratives with real life characters intrinsic to the output of this renowned 20th-century architect.

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