Edge of the Knife, which has all dialogue in the Haida dialect, won big at the Vancouver International Film Festival and is among a stellar group of films screening at the Victoria Film Festival this year.

Victoria Film Fest celebrates 25 years of movie magic

Victoria Film Festival has an impressive roster in its silver anniversary year

Kyle Wells

Monday Magazine contributor

The Victoria Film Festival is back and ready to celebrate an impressive milestone: 25 years of bringing features, shorts, docs and more from around the world to Victoria audiences.

Executive director Kathy Kay has been at the helm of the festival for 22 of those years. She started in 1997 as a volunteer then took over as director the following year.

In 1998 the festival screened around 20 feature films to an audience of a few hundred. When all was said and done, the organization wound up with $856 in the bank.

Victoria Film Festival director Kathy Kay is excited about celebrating the event’s 25th anniversary with local film fans. Photo by Randy Waldie

“It really was insane,” Kay says of the early days. “There’s nothing that can prepare you for it … It really was crazy, all the things that would pop up, people who would cancel at the last minute.”

These days the festival sees over 25,000 people each year getting their tickets torn. It celebrates this year’s important milestone through the Feb. 1 opening gala theme of Studio 25, an appropriate take on the legendary Studio 54 nightclub.

READ: AND, ACTION! Victoria Film Festival launches 25th celebration of on-screen creativity

The celebrations continue with an anniversary installation of short films from each era of the festival’s history, at The Atrium building on Yates Street. This free, public exhibition will consist of nine different stations, featuring such elements as a cocoon and an eight-screen panorama showing the shorts.

“There are other ones where you pop your head into a box and get totally immersed in the film,” Kay says. “They’re all kind of playful ways to show short films. I think it will be really fun.”

An anniversary screening of Smoke Signals will see director Chris Eyre and actors Tantoo Cardinal and Evan Adams on hand to introduce the film and talk about its legacy. The film had its Canadian premiere at VFF in 1998 and inspired a mandate of the festival that is still running strong to this day.

“It made me realize that it’s not just about trying to find those popular films that a traditional audience would go to,” says Kay, “it’s about finding those films for audiences that are underserved. That put us on a track.”

Join the celebration of the 25th annual Victoria Film Festival from Feb. 1 to 10. More information and tickets are available at victoriafilmfestival.com or at the festival office at 1215 Blanshard St.

*****

A GUIDE TO SOME OF THE HIGHLIGHTS

That Higher Level, which follows talented young musicians with the National Youth Orchestra of Canada, makes its premiere at this year’s Victoria Fim Festival.

Sink or Swim – BC Premiere – Directed by Gilles Lellouche – France

Kicking off the festival is a gala screening of this French comedy about a group of 40-something men trying to shake off their midlife malaise by forming a synchronized swimming team. Starring Mathieu Amalric (The Grand Budapest Hotel) and Guillaume Canet.

That Higher Level – World Premiere – Directed by John Bolton – BC

Victoria-born director Bolton dives into the world of the National Youth Orchestra of Canada with this inspiring documentary. Following the lives of these prodigious teenagers as they learn and perform a 128-year-old Strauss tone poem, the film offers a rich portrait of these remarkable individuals.

The Hummingbird Project – Directed by Kim Nguyen – Quebec/Belgium

Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network) and Alexander Skarsgard (Big Little Lies) star in director Nguyen’s (War Witch) tale of two cousins embarking on an ambitious plan to lay a fibre-optic cable from Kansas City to New York in order to trade stocks a millisecond sooner than their competitors.

Toronto International Film Fest favourite Mouthpiece comes to the Victoria festival this year.

Mouthpiece – Directed by Patricia Rozema – Ontario

The latest from renowned Canadian director Rozema (Mansfield Park) centres on a young writer whose mother’s sudden death forces her to confront their troubled relationship. Named one of the Toronto International Film Festival’s Top Ten Canadian Films of 2018.

Edge of the Knife – Directed by Helen Haig-Brown (Tsilhqot’in) and Gwaai Edenshaw (Haida) – BC

Winner of best BC film and best Canadian film at the Vancouver International Film Festival, this gripping drama is shot in the rainforests of the Haida Gwaii archipelago and is told entirely in Haida dialects, contributing to the preservation of the Haida language.



editor@mondaymag.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Just Posted

Victoria PD will continue to patrol James Bay for wolf seen Saturday

But police also say they will return to regular duties

Local Monarchist says Saanich Peninsula would be a ‘great place’ for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle

Bruce Hallsor also expects the couple’s professional opportunities to lie outside Greater Victoria

Court rejects mistrial for accused Victoria drug dealer who fired his lawyer

Horst Schirmer filed a mistrial application on basis of receiving incompetent representation

Saanich seeks young residents to serve on 2020 advisory committees

Youth members must be between 16 and 24 years old

VicPD confirms wolf sighting in James Bay

Police ask that children and pets be taken inside

Officials reaching out to those in contact with Canada’s first coronavirus patient

The illness has sickened at least 1,975 people and killed 56 in China

Risk of coronavirus low in B.C. as first case emerges in Toronto: officials

There have been no confirmed cases of the virus in B.C.

‘Presumptive case’ of coronavirus in Canada confirmed by Ontario doctors

Man in his 50s felt ill on his return to Canada from Wuhan, China

VIDEO: Drone footage shows extent of damage in Highway 4 rockslide

Tofino, Ucluelet still cut off from rest of the island, as crews work to repair roadway

People knowingly take fentanyl so make policy changes to reduce harm: B.C. study

Dr. Jane Buxton, an epidemiologist at the centre, says drug users need more resources,

‘My heart is going to bleed’: Bodies brought back to Canada following Iran plane crash

Remains of Sahar Haghjoo, 37, and her eight-year-old daughter, Elsa Jadidi, were identified last weekend

BCLC opens novelty bet on Harry and Meghan moving to the west coast

Meanwhile, real estate agency points to four possible homes for the family

Canada slips in global corruption ranking in aftermath of SNC-Lavalin scandal

The country obtained a score of 77, which places it at the top in the Americas

Wuhan bans cars, Hong Kong closes schools as coronavirus spreads

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said her government will raise its response level to emergency, highest one

Most Read