Billed as “bringing a world of film to the Sunshine Coast,” Powell River Film Festival (PRFF) organizers have finalized the lineup for their five-day event that takes place from February 15 to 19.
“We mix documentaries and features,” said PRFF marketing specialist Gary Shilling. “We also have a youth component where we have a film camp. Students from around BC come for an intensive workshop and produce a short film over the course of a few days.”
The festival committee recently announced that 11 films will share top billing on the marquee at Patricia Theatre.
The world premiere of Tai Uhlmann and Theo Angell’s Lund documentary film The End of the Road has been chosen for the closing gala on Saturday, February 18. According to Angell, the film originally started from interviews and stories compiled from Lund hippies before a sense of urgency set in.
“They started dying, so we started doing more interviews,” said Angell. “Then this old movie footage surfaced from Tai’s parents. They filmed quite a bit and I thought, ‘Wow, we could make a really cool documentary here.’”
Canadian documentary League of Exotique Dancers opens PRFF on Wednesday, February 15, before it is screened as part of Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival in Toronto.
“It is about women who worked as burlesque dancers in the prime of burlesque, around the ’50s and ’60s,” said Shilling.
Directed by Rama Rau, League of Exotique Dancers reflects on societal changes during a time of sexism, racism and the widespread stigma faced by burlesque striptease performers.
Burlesque Hall of Fame members, described in the film’s synopsis as “titans of tease, each possessing a way with words as uninhibited and captivating as her routines,” are featured in the film.
The festival also features a number of other documentaries, including KONELĪNE: Our Land Beautiful, by Vancouver director Nettie Wild. Set in traditional Tahltan First Nation territory in Northern BC, the film captures the conflict between resource extraction and traditional native life; the beauty and complexity of a vast Canadian wilderness undergoing irrevocable change.
Other top-billing films include the comedy Jean of the Joneses, a feature film debut for Canadian director Stella Meghie; Gimme Danger, a documentary from independent filmmaker Jim Jarmusch about Iggy Pop and the Stooges, the seminal rock band of the 1960s that shaped punk and alternative rock scenes; and children’s film Birds of Passage.
Rounding out the program of feature films are Angry Inuk; The Eagle Huntress; Ixcanul; and Spanish film Julietta, written and directed by Pedro Almodovar based on short stories from Canadian writer Alice Munro’s book, Runaway.
PRFF’s youth component received 30 contest entries from around the province and, to date, 24 participants have registered for the film camp, which is supported by Rotary Clubs of BC.
“The youth component is definitely a unique feature of our festival compared to other festivals,” said Shilling. “We use the Powell River Digital Film School facilities to produce the films and we bring in local mentors. We assemble four or five crews of students and each of them has a film mentor.”
Separate from the film camp is the five-minute-film contest, said Shilling.
“We receive submissions from around BC and screen the winners as shorts before our feature films,” he said.
Submissions will be judged by Uhlmann, Vancouver filmmaker George Johnson and City of Powell River councillor Karen Skadsheim, who said, joking, that her qualification for judging was, “I did see a film once.”
Skadsheim added that she judged the event last year and the films were “incredible.”
Tickets for individual films are now available, except for the Saturday night showing of The End of the Road, which is sold out. For more information, go to prfilmfestival.ca.