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Organizer changes dates for fundraising film festival in qathet region due to COVID-19

Banff mountain world tour reorganized to April
NEW DATES: Banff Mountain film festival world tour has been rescheduled to April 1 and 2 to hopefully run at a time with reduced COVID-19 ramifications.

Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour’s run in the qathet region has been rescheduled.

The film festival had originally been scheduled for January 14 and 15 in Max Cameron Theatre, but with current COVID-19 conditions, organizers thought it prudent to delay the event until April, hoping that conditions will be better at the later date.

“Due to the rapid increase in variant numbers, I have met with Max Cameron Theatre manager Jacquie Dawson and have booked our event for April 1 and 2,” said film festival organizer Jim Palm.

The film festival had originally booked two shows in mid-January, with the theatre operating at reduced capacity. With the onset of the omicron variant of COVID-19, Palm reorganized the event for 50 per cent capacity, and added a matinee on January 15 to accommodate all of the theatre-goers committed for that day.

Palm said the first fallback was to have three showings at reduced capacity, however, with COVID-19 numbers rising dramatically, it is best to give three months for the prospect of the virus playing itself out so that a safe and familiar format can be run.

Tickets for the film festival are still available at TAWS (4597 Marine Avenue) for both showings. The ticket price is $30. Proceeds from the ticket sales go toward supporting programs at Brooks Secondary School.

For the rescheduled screenings, doors will open at 6 pm, with the presentations in the theatre scheduled for 7 pm. While the original plan was to have patrons mingle with food and beverages, Palm said the food portion of the event cannot be rescheduled for the later date.

Palm added that safety is paramount at the screenings, so all people entering will have to show a valid COVID-19 vaccine card and picture identification, such as a driver’s licence.

“We want everybody who is attending to know that they have to be vaccinated,” said Palm.

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.

In terms of helping Brooks students, Palm said the money raised goes toward athletics, such as team uniforms, team travel and track and field. 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. “The film festival has 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 will be different for each screening. He hasn’t yet had the opportunity to screen the films, but knows they will be crowd-pleasers.

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