World premiere of Petra’s Poem at HotDocs April 29, 2012

Posted by on Apr 26, 2012 in Film | 3 Comments

I had the pleasure of working on a documentary film with the talented director Shira Avni back in 2010. The film, Petra’s Poem, will be premiering this Sunday April 29, 2012 at the Hot Docs Film Festival in Toronto.

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Created with the assistance of the National Film Board of Canada and BravoFACT, this is Shira’s second film involving actors with down syndrome. Her first film, Tying Your Own Shoes is an intimate glimpse into the exceptional mindsets and emotional lives of four adult artists with Down Syndrome. An artful, four-way essay about ability, this animated documentary explores how it feels to be a little bit unusual. That film along with her most recent films John and Michael, and From Far Away have garnered over 30 grants and awards, including the prestigious DOK Leipzig Golden Dove and the NHK Japan Prize, and have screened in over 100 festivals worldwide, as well as on CBC, PBS and TV5 television networks.

More information on Petra’s Poem can be found on the Hot Docs website. Screenings are all at the Bell Tiff Lightbox and show times are:

Sun, April 29 7:30 PM
TIFF Bell Lightbox 1

Tue, May 1 4:45 PM
TIFF Bell Lightbox 2

Sat, May 5 9:45 PM
TIFF Bell Lightbox 2

To celebrate the premiere of Petra’s Poem I have created a showing of stills taken during the filming of the documentary. The photos are all candid portraits capturing intimate moments where the actors were experiencing joy, quiet, reflection and friendship. I found the actors a joy to work with and their personalities both special and fascinating. The energy and life in the studio was quite inspired. The photos reflect the way in which people with down syndrome process their environment, and the people around them, allowing for a unique view of the world we live in.

In this exhibit I purposely choose to use a 70mm, 2.20:1, ratio for cropping the photos to limit myself to only that which was the essence of the person in an exaggerated environment. I also choose to treat the photos in subdued light to contrast the high key lighting used to make the film.

I hope you enjoy the photos and please come out and support this wonderful new documentary.


  1. Shira Avni
    April 26, 2012

    Absolutely gorgeous!!! These are amazing…
    Can’t wait to see you at the premiere!!!

  2. Hazel Nevin Newton
    April 27, 2012

    Outstanding photos, Rob! Thoughtful, beautiful, and insightful. Thank you for posting.

  3. Jeannette Campbell
    April 27, 2012

    Beautiful images! Thank you for sharing these with the world.


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