Hot Docs 2015 Review: Leaving Africa

Posted in Festival Coverage, Hot Docs 2015, Movies by - April 21, 2015
Hot Docs 2015 Review: Leaving Africa

Leaving Africa

International Spectrum

This documentary about how friendship knows no bounds, director Iiris Härmä introduces us to Finnish Riitta and Ugandan Catherine, who share a very close relationship. Riita and Catherine also work together on an educational program aimed to inspire and educate men and women in nearby communities.

Through personal conversations, glimpses at their everyday life, and a close look at their educational work, we come to know how much this friendship means to each Riita and Catherine. When at work, these women are more than revolutionaries. They empower women to talk openly about their needs, and they educate men to understand how women play a vital role in their communities.

As Riita says, Uganda suffers from “gender-based poverty”. These two women have been working to make an impact in people’s quality of life for over 2o years by teaching basic sexual education and family planning. In a country where religion plays a major role in politics and everyday life, this type of work challenges the status quo. But Riita and Catherine are not easily discouraged. Throughout the years, they have faced many challenges together. Their last challenge comes when Riita is forced to move back to Finland. Although bittersweet, Leaving Africa is a personal look at the power of friendship, and the need for people like Riita and Catherine to make a difference in others’ lives.


Monday Apr 27 6:00pm, TIFF Bell Lightbox 3

Tuesday Apr 28 1:45pm, Scotiabank Theatre 3

Saturday May 2 9:15pm, Isabel Bader Theatre

This post was written by
Heidy has a love of fine art history, films, books, world issues, music and science, leading her to share her adventures on her website ( , and as a contributor at other outlets. She loves sharing the many happenings in Toronto and hopes people will go out and support the arts in any fashion possible.

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