DOXA and The Cinematheque: Ada for Mayor

Spain 2016. Dir: Pau Faus. 86 min. DCP

“Of great importance and timeliness ... Ada for Mayor’s arrival could not be more fitting.”

“An essential film.”

When the 2012 economic crisis struck Europe, one of the most deeply affected countries was Spain. The collapse of the housing market and mass foreclosures left almost 1.4 million people in danger of losing their homes. In Barcelona, housing-rights activists were on the frontlines of the battle, and at their helm was Ada Colau, a fiery and passionate social justice advocate, who, three years later, would become the mayor of Barcelona. Ada for Mayor is the incredible story of Colau’s journey from radical grassroots activist to principled politician. As Ada attempts to mould herself into a new role without compromising her values, we witness what is possible when passion, conviction, and dedication converge. The implications for Vancouver, caught in its own housing crisis, could not be more relevant and timely. — DOXA

Post-screening panel discussion with Pete Fry, Judy Graves, and Jean Swanson. Moderated by David Beers.

Pete Fry is a community advocate and communications professional, actively engaged in place making, public engagement, and local economic development. Concerned over the influence of the real estate development industry at City Hall, and how that affects communities, displacement, and housing affordability, Fry became a vocal critic of city policies and a founding member of the Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods. He is seeking to join Adriane Carr as a second Green Party City Councillor.

Judy Graves is running with OneCity for Vancouver City Council. Judy started working for the City of Vancouver to respond to the already growing housing crisis, helping seniors, disabled people, and single parents get better housing. As Judy watched homelessness increase through the early 1990s, she began reaching out to people in the streets to hear their stories, and help them find housing. Eventually, due to Judy’s tireless advocacy, the mandate of her position was expanded to include the homeless.

Jean Swanson is an independent by-election candidate for Vancouver City Council. Swanson was awarded the Order of Canada in 2016 for “her long-standing devotion to social justice, notably for her work with the residents of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.” Her roles have included: VP and elected Secretary of the Downtown Eastside Residents Association (DERA); founder of End Legislated Poverty; President of the National Anti-Poverty Organization (NAPO); and Chair of the Coalition Against Free Trade. She is author of the book, Poor Bashing: The Politics of Exclusion (2001). Over the past decade she has been an organizer with the Carnegie Community Action Project (CCAP) and Raise the Rates BC.

David Beers founded The Tyee, was senior editor at Mother Jones and two large newspapers, and has won National Magazine Awards in the U.S. and Canada for his writing. Blue Sky Dream, his acclaimed Silicon Valley memoir, is widely assigned in universities. He is an adjunct professor at the UBC Graduate School of Journalism and co-organizer of the Urbanarium City Debates.

This screening of Ada for Mayor is part of an ongoing series of new documentaries co-presented by DOXA Documentary Film Festival and The Cinematheque.