Movie buffs, it’s time to break out the popcorn

Victoria Film Festival director Kathy Kay shows off a 2011 VFF poster at the festival office.

Victoria Film Festival director Kathy Kay shows off a 2011 VFF poster at the festival office.

Victoria Film Festival plays Feb. 4 to 13

In advance of the Victoria Film Festival opening gala, decorations for the party are flooding the festival director’s office.

Kathy Kay gestures to the boxes of glittery things and laughs.

“There are sparkles everywhere,” she says. “We’re really putting an effort into being more memorable.”

But outside of a few details – the Sparkling Ice Castle gala at the Atrium, a smaller program guide with full synopsis online – the formula for the festival’s 17th year hasn’t changed much.

Starting with film, video and new media submissions from some 1,100 filmmakers, this year’s festival will screen more than 60 films of varying lengths in a range of Victoria venues, Feb. 4 to 13, with the help of 260 volunteers. Last year 23,000 people visited the festival.

Returning is the popular ConVerge, a participatory event that takes audiences out of their seats and into the streets. Last year films were played in alleyways and cargo containers – viewers even watched a one-minute short about maternity, on an iPod embedded in a doll.

“It’s meant to explore the idea that what, where and how you watch is totally changing,” Kay says. “Sitting in front of your television and watching media isn’t the way anymore.”

Even in the theatre, where Kay has seen a piper play and biscotti served in VFFs past, a successful event means delivering quality film within the festival atmosphere.

“For me it’s about creating those memorable moments.”

Festival program includes plenty of local content

The Victoria Film Professionals Association presents Cascadia, VFF’s only 100 per cent locally made feature, which screens Sunday, Feb. 6 at the Odeon Theatre along with the 15-minute short, <i.Down to the Sea on Drugs, Part One.

VIFPA filmmakers will be on hand for a discussion and a reception at the Victoria Event Centre follows.

“Most people are doing it for the love of the process,” says Jim Knox, Cascadia writer/producer/director, who drew on local volunteer power to complete his environmentally focused political drama.

More local productions, including films by Alice Faye Hopewell and Maureen Bradley, can be seen in the shorts programs Feb. 9 and 10.

Contemplating Victoria will see films from the Victoria Foundation’s archives screened before Canadian feature films and during ConVerge. Full details and programs are available at victoriafilmfestival.com.

nnorth@saanichnews.com