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Suspended and the Art of Forgiveness

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Catalogue Number:  R31007
Producer:  Refuge 31 Films
Producing Agencies:  Refuge 31 Films
Subject:  Arts, Biography, Canadian History, Criminal Justice & Law, Documentary, Family Studies/Home Economics, Guidance, Health and Medicine, History, Psychology, Social Sciences, Social Studies, Sociology
Language:  English
Grade Level:  9 - 12, Post Secondary
Country Of Origin:  Canada
Copyright Year:  2018
Running Time:  59:26

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The story follows Winnipeg artist Cliff Derksen as he sculpts, paints and teaches art. For Cliff Derksen, along with wife Wilma and daughter Odia, life has been anything but normal during the last 31 years. Much of their work in ceramics, writing, painting and visual installation has reflected their pain in dealing with the murder of their daughter and sister Candace in 1984. Remaining a mystery for more than two decades, an unexpected arrest was made in 2008. Mark Grant, a complete stranger to the Derksens, but a well-known convicted felon, was tried and convicted.

In 2016 Mark Grant was granted a re-trial by the Supreme Court of Canada. A surprise that would bring the Derksen’s once again to the justice system, hoping to find more answers. But it would also highlight the unusual response the Derksen’s have shown to the man convicted of murdering their daughter, forgiveness.

For Cliff in particular, each period of this long painful journey – from tragedy and death to trial and conviction to now re-trial – also marks his development as an artist. Themes of anger and loss to suspicion and justice have allowed Cliff different ways to express himself and find an inner strength to find forgiveness. Now, years after the trial and with a trail of fascinating and wonderful works, Cliff has moved into not just creating but also teaching the joy of art.

Suspended and The Art of Forgiveness, follows Cliff Derksen and family as the now thirty-three-year saga moves into what is hopefully the final chapter.

RISING STAR AWARD – Canada International Film Festival 2018

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE – Winnipeg Real to Reel Film Festival 2019

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE – Eau Claire World Film Festival

WINNER – EXCEPTIONAL MERIT – Docs Without Borders Film Festival 2018


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