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

 

Just Posted

Canadian Coast Guard breaks ground on permanent search and rescue station in Victoria

Victoria-based SAR will do all rescues in local harbour and parts of the Strait of Juan de Fuca

Police actions under investigation following Langford arrest

IIO investigates officer-related incidents that result in serious harm

Victoria woman, 76, challenges alcohol-screening laws after failing to give breath sample

Norma McLeod was unable to provide a sample because of her medical conditions

Victoria council looks to self-impose carbon tax on staff airfare

A new carbon pricing fee would put additional funds into the city’s Climate Action Reserve

Gas stations could push to 167.9 cents a litre this week

Analyst says high prices are due to supply and demand

WATCH: Cougar saunters through Metchosin yard

Spring cougar sighting caught on camera

Wanted by Crime Stoppers

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Do you think the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris should be rebuilt?

Images of one of the word’s most iconic landmarks were seared into… Continue reading

‘B.C. cannot wait for action’: Top doctor urges province to decriminalize illicit drugs

Dr. Bonnie Henry says current approach in ‘war on drugs’ has criminalized and stigmatized drug users

New report on 2017 wildfires calls for better coordination with B.C. First Nations

Tsilhqot’in National Government documents 2017 disaster and lists 33 calls to action

B.C. youth coach banned amid sexual harassment, bullying scandal: Water Polo Canada

Justin Mitchell can’t take part in Water Polo Canada events or clubs

Wilson-Raybould: Feds want to just ‘manage the problem’ of Indigenous Peoples

Former federal justice minister speaks at First Nations Justice Council meeting in B.C.

Island Cup set for East Sooke on May 3-5

Off-road racing event expected to attract over 50 racers

Female real estate agents warned of suspicious man in Metro Vancouver

The man requests to see homes alone with the female agent, police say

Most Read