Hot Docs 2015 Review: ‘Shoulder The Lion’

Posted in Festival Coverage, Hot Docs 2015, Movies by - April 21, 2015

Shoulder The Lion
International Spectrum

A film about uncertainty of the future seen through three characters. Artists surviving tragedy; their stories come together to remind of us that art knows no bounds.

A photographer who is blind, Alice Wingwall lost her sight in the year 2000 after decades of genetic retinal degeneration. A rising musician, Graham Sharpe who cannot play music anymore because of his advancing tinnitus. A painter/sculptor with a traumatic brain injury, Katie Dallam lost half her brain in a boxing match, and with that her, self-censorship as an artist.

Through their works and words, filmmakers Erinnisse Rebisz and Patryk Rebisz take the audience on a journey of loss, discovery, and success. The film serves as a journey of exploration for the artists.

Wingwall contemplates what images mean to us, especially when it comes to our own memories. Through her photographic works, Wingwall continues to look for the bigger picture in everyday life. Something that those with sight fail to see.

For Sharpe, his  condition has not stopped him from working in music, organizing an annual music festival in Ireland, Knockanstockan. He may not be on-stage much, but Sharpe  continues to think of ways to reinvent his musical career.

After her first professional boxing match left her paralysed, Dallam was unsure what the future would hold for her. She “had to re-learn everything… It was like being reborn.” After a year of therapy, Dallam found a new voice in her paintings. She then moved on to sculptures. Together, the two art forms, allow her the freedom to express herself in more ways than she had imagined.

Shoulder The Lion is like an art composition. Through the visuals and the artists’ stories, the audience comes to appreciate how loss can become a big motivating factor in one’s life.


Wednesday Apr 29 9:45pm, Scotiabank Theatre 3
Thursday Apr 30 4:00pm, Isabel Bader Theatre
Saturday May 2 3:00pm, TIFF Bell Lightbox 3

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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