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Annual film festival and fundraiser for qathet region secondary school set for return to regular format

Organizer expects crowd-pleasing films over two nights for Banff Centre Mountain Film Festival world tour at Max Cameron Theatre
OUTDOOR OFFERINGS: Banff Centre Mountain Film Festival will be screening again at Max Cameron Theatre in January, with different film offerings on the two nights of the world tour.

After an absence in January 2021 because of COVID-19, the Banff Centre Mountain Film Festival world tour will be returning to the qathet region on January 14 and 15, 2022.

Organizer Jim Palm, a teacher at Brooks Secondary School, said the virtual presentation for the 2021 version of the film festival didn’t do very well as far as fundraising for the school is concerned, so the festival is returning to its regular format with screenings in Max Cameron Theatre.

“It’s back to as normal as can be,” said Palm. “The major changes for this year are that we are going to use the gymnasium entrance, not the great hall, which we typically use. We are going to have people come in the end door at the gymnasium entrance, we’ll put a partition up and we’ll have to screen everybody as they enter the gym.

“There will be lots of room, with physical distancing. We’ll have a plate of hors d’oeuvres by our culinary program for each individual.”

Palm said doors to the reception in the gym will open at 6 pm and there will be entrance to the theatre at 6:30 pm. The films will screen at 7 pm.

“I’ll limit the amount of sales on tickets, so I encourage people to get the tickets early, because I’m going to cut admission to 375, so it’s not full capacity in the theatre,” said Palm.

Tickets for this year’s film festival world tour are available at Taws (4597 Marine Avenue) or the Peak office (4493 Marine Avenue) starting December 1.

Palm said for this year’s tour, there will be no host from Banff flying in to act as commentator for the films being shown. He said two different programs will be sent that include the introduction, reference to each film, and what is being presented.

A Brooks student will be in attendance at the event to thank attendees for coming out. At intermission, which will be 15 to 20 minutes in duration, prizes will be drawn, as is typically the case at these screenings.

“Other than that, the event has been streamlined,” said Palm. “We won’t be serving food or drinks during the intermission.”

Proceeds benefit students

In terms of helping Brooks students, proceeds of the event go to the school. Palm said the money raised goes toward athletics, such as team uniforms, team travel and track and field, and there will be support for the culinary dual credit program because of participants preparing the hors d’oeuvres. The rest of the proceeds will go to principal Bill Rounis, who will make decisions on students most in need.

“In the past, a large percentage, two years ago, was targeted towards a fund for disadvantaged students, to help them out financially for whatever it is they need,” said Palm. “It’s been going on for 15 years now. For 15 years we’ve been raising $10,000 or more. It definitely helps kids who need it and I’m happy to do it.

“I like helping the kids but I also really appreciate the crowd that shows up to the event. They are passionate about the outdoors and they love coming in to support us. They enjoy outdoor films.”

Palm said the film offerings on the two nights will be different. He hasn’t yet had the opportunity to screen the films, but knows they will be crowd-pleasers.

He said he is excited about getting the film festival back but is a little concerned about the risk he is taking on in the COVID-19 environment. He has been given the blessing by the school district board of trustees to operate the film festival at full capacity.

“I’m not going to full capacity,” said Palm. “We are going to do our best to keep everybody safe. Everyone will be screened and vaccinated, and they will be wearing their masks in the theatre.

“We’re counting on the Banff people to put great packages together. We’re going to enjoy the Banff film festival.”