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____ Monday November 2, 2015 ____

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Arts & Culture

Grand River Film Festival Connects Waterloo Region Communities Through Film

The 9th annual Grand River Film Festival (GRFF) runs November 2 - 7, 2015 and connects film to our communities through interesting documentaries and panel discussions.

Cambridge – On Tuesday, November 3, GRFF is excited to feature PLANETARY, followed by a post-screening panel discussion, entitled MEDIATION MADE EASY, featuring Dr. Lou Pino, Dr. Paul Baranowski and Dr. Norman Farb. PLANETARY is a provocative and breathtaking documentary – “wakeup call” – that explores our cosmic origins and our future as a species. This film is the follow-up to the award-winning short film Overview, which captivated audiences with astronauts’ stories of what it means to see the earth from space. PLANETARY takes that idea one step further: exploring our interconnected nature and the roots of our current crisis, reframing it as a fundamental problem with the way we see the world and our place within it.

Dr. Lou Pino, PhD, brings 10 years of digital health experience to his role as the Research Team Lead at Interaxon. He uses digital signal processing combined with machine learning techniques to build algorithms for analyzing and classifying brain states. Prior to Interaxon, he received funding from the Alzheimer’s Society of Canada to develop and validate a cognitive assessment mobile software application. His PhD work focussed on developing clinical decision support tools. In 2009, Dr. Pino completed a PhD in Systems Design Engineering, an achievement that steered his career from telecommunications and into innovating health information technology and medical devices and products.

Dr. Paul Baranowski is the founder of Luminous Ground, a Toronto meditation group. Dr. Baranowski has been studying and practicing Buddhism and meditation for more than 11 years. In the Zen tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh, he is an ordained member of the Order of Interbeing. He has also studied and practiced with Ken McLeod in the Tibetan Vajrayana tradition. In his day job, he helps produce Muse, a brain-sensing EEG headband and app. Muse is a neurofeedback technology that teaches users how to meditate, while giving real-time audio feedback during meditation sessions, as well as providing a motivational framework for positive habit-forming.

Dr. Norman Farb, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in Psychology at the University of Toronto Mississauga. He studies the social neuroscience of the self and human emotion with a focus on how biases in self-representation shape emotional reactions that determine well-being. Dr. Farb’s work draws from multiple levels of analysis, including first-and-third-person qualitative reports, behavioral task performance, physiological responses, and patterns of neural activity and connectivity derived through functional MRI. He is particularly interested in how cognitive training practices, such as mindfulness meditation, fosters resilience against stress, reducing vulnerability to disorders such as depression.
On Thursday, November 5, GRFF welcomes Andy Cox and Peter Dedes to the viewing of The Rider & The Wolf and for a post-screen panel discussion about cycling in our community. The Rider and the Wolf is a feature documentary about the life and mysterious disappearance of Mountain Bike Hall of Fame cyclist Mike Rust. He helped form the sport of mountain biking in the USA with the stoke and technical innovations he put into action in the mountain towns of Crested Butte and Salida. He went missing without a trace in 2009 in a remote part of Colorado. The mystery remains.

With more than 20 years in the Cycling industry, Andy Cox is owner of King Street Cycles in Uptown Waterloo, one of the founding members of the Waterloo Cycling Club Trails Committee, which is a group dedicated to building and maintaining the Hydrocut mountain bike trails, as well as creating and managing a land use stewardship with the Region of Waterloo.

Peter Dedes is the Chair of the Cycling & Trails Advisory Committee in Kitchener. Peter Dedes is a former elite road and track racer and Ontario Provincial Champion (1998) on the track. He lives and breathes cycling whether acting as coach, commuter, parent or community advocate. "Good cycling infrastructure isn't only for the people directly using it,” says Dedes. “It's a tool in an urban designer’s kit to make neighbourhoods safer and friendlier for everyone."

On Friday, November 6, GRFF explores the ways in which people connect in today’s virtual world with Canadian documentary, The Amina Profile, a detective story that involves various intelligence agencies and top-tier global media. The film travels from San Francisco and Washington to Istanbul, Tel Aviv and Beirut to meet the key players in this quest to reveal the real Amina.

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