By STEVE MARTINDALE
SS FILM FESTIVAL SOCIETY
Two visiting filmmakers will present their award-winning documentaries this weekend at the Salt Spring Film Festival at ArtSpring.
Los Angeles-based documentarian Zach Carver will be here on Friday with field producer and camera operator Yana Kehrlein to present The Race to Alaska, a wildly entertaining film capturing the perils and the perseverance of the intrepid competitors in one of the world’s most challenging endurance races. The Race to Alaska has won audience favourite awards at the Port Townsend, Powell River and Anchorage International film festivals.
Originally from Seattle, Carver’s film Sin Matador premiered at the Aspen Shortsfest, and won the prize for Best Comedy Short at the Long Beach International Film Festival. His short film Amateur Dictator won the Audience Award at the Austin Film Festival. Carver’s films have also screened at festivals in Seattle, Brooklyn and Hawaii, as well as internationally in Lanzarote and Tenerife on the Canary Islands, and at the Vesak International Buddhist Film Festival in Sri Lanka.
Vancouver-based documentarian Cassie De Colling, originally from Australia, will be here on Saturday to present Precious Leader Woman, her award-winning film on snowboarding superstar Spencer O’Brien. Part Haida and Kwakwakw’wakw from Alert Bay, O’Brien is a two-time world champion, six-time X Games medalist and two-time Olympian for Team Canada. O’Brien has also been invited to attend the screening, although her availability has not yet been confirmed.
Tracing O’Brien’s remarkable recovery from a debilitating diagnosis with the support of her Indigenous community, Precious Leader Woman premiered in November at the Banff Centre Mountain Film Festival, where it won the People’s Choice Award. A month later, De Colling was named Best B.C. Director at the Whistler Film Festival.
De Colling’s career began in the mountains of Kashmir, where she directed Beneath the Boarder, a documentary on the changes facing a young Kashmiri boy as his home transforms from a war-torn village to a booming backcountry ski town.
De Colling has also directed the short films Uku360, Foreign Correspondent and Ai’s Journey. Her documentary short Allie came in third place at Tropfest in Sydney, Australia, the world’s largest short film festival, where it also won the award for Best Cinematography.
The film festival is now underway and continues through Sunday with screenings at ArtSpring at 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. daily. Tickets are available online, in person and by phone via the ArtSpring box office or visit www.saltspringfilmfestival.com.