Thursday, February 29, 2024
February 29, 2024

Salt Spring Film festival unfolds this weekend


Award-winning documentaries from around the world and filmmakers from across Canada will be featured at this weekend’s 21st annual Salt Spring Film Festival.

“This year’s selection of films is particularly strong,” says festival president Therin Gower. “In addition to hard-hitting documentaries on hot-button issues, we have an unusual number of really celebratory films which will have audiences cheering.”

The much-anticipated annual event kicks off at Gulf Islands Secondary School with an Opening Gala Dinner prepared by Farm’s Gate Food & Catering at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 28, followed by the award-winning film The Biggest Little Farm at 7 p.m. The challenges of restoring biodiversity to depleted farmland are vividly brought to life in this charming crowd-pleaser, which has won multiple audience awards and was shortlisted for the Oscars.

The Saturday-Sunday slate of 50 films is preceded by a public workshop on the polarizing effects of the internet, featuring Toronto filmmakers Patricia Marcoccia and Maziar Ghaderi, whose controversial film The Rise of Jordan Peterson screens twice at the festival, despite having been barred from several theatres in other parts of the country for fear of backlash. Moderated by local filmmaker Ian MacKenzie, the workshop is from 2 to 5 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 28 at the Salt Spring Public Library.

National Film Board producer Selwyn Jacob returns to the festival to present a powerful collection of short Canadian films on the theme of transformation and re-birth, including Haida filmmaker Christopher Auchter’s Now Is the Time (Waaydanaa), which was a surprise hit at the recent Sundance Film Festival.

Gulf Islands Secondary School is transformed into a seven-screen multiplex for the festival, with the dance studio and six classrooms re-named after local geography. Local nonprofits and community groups will set up display tables in the common area in an interactive social justice bazaar.

Festival passes can be purchased either at the door or in advance from the ArtSpring box office. With the exception of the opening gala, tickets aren’t sold to individual films. Instead, passes are available at the door, which is cash-only, for various segments of the weekend. Subsidized passes are available courtesy of the Royal Canadian Legion.

Festival-goers are encouraged to bring their own portable mugs, water bottles and seat cushions; otherwise cushions can be rented from the Grandmothers to Grandmothers group for a donation to the Stephen Lewis Foundation.


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