Peter Maides is convinced Prince George movie-goers and Canadian films have grown into each other. The days of the low-budget bum rap is over for made-in-Canada productions, and the days of towing the Hollywood line are over for PG cinemaphiles. The annual box office turn-out at the Moving Pictures Canadian Film Festival each year here is compelling evidence. “These are good films that deserve an audience. We have a good audience that deserves these films,” says Peter, one of the festival organizers.
It could be that the Canadian film industry is changing the way the whole world thinks about their cinema. With the surprise success in the late 80s/early 90s of films by Denys Arcand, Atom Egoyan, Thom Fitzgerald, Guy Maddin, David Cronenberg and other made-in-Canada directors it has opened the door by opening an artistic vein mainstream movie audiences probably didn’t know they even had for other nation’s films.
Take this year’s award-winning films from Canada, the ones that will be featured at the Moving Pictures Film Festival in Prince George this weekend. This is the fifth annual all-Canadian film festival screened in PG, thanks to Cinema CNC the arm of the college that has, for the last 20 years, been educating local students about the expressive film medium. It’s primary professors include Stan Shaffer, Stan Chung and Peter Maides who spearheaded Cinema CNC’s most prized acquisition. A 35mm projector suite. Now the college is set up to show the same films as any movie theatre.
“The film festival will be the first public demonstration of our capabilities,” says Peter, thrilled to be out from under the limitations of the outdated 16mm projector suit they were stuck with before. “This allows access to far more films. Many films only come out on 35mm nowadays. We have no interest in doing films that will run here (in theatres) but we want to meet the needs of the audience not satisfied with what’s being shown.”
The fifth annual Cinema CNC presentation of the Moving Pictures Canadian Film Tour runs at the Prince George Playhouse this Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
7 p.m.Great Canadian Loser a package of short films.
9 p.m. waydowntown cast includes Don McKellar (Red Violin, Last Night) and Marya Delver (Better Than Chocolate, Dirty and Theatre North West’s I Had A Job I Liked, Once).
2 p.m. Two Thousand and None black comedy about a man’s last month to live. Starring John Turturro (Barton Fink, The Big Lebowski).
7 p.m. Maelstrom the Canadian biggie this year, winning Best Picture and Best Director at the Genie Awards. Directed by Denis Villeneuve, starring a highly acclaimed cast.
9 p.m.Stardom directed by Denys Arcand, it stars new sensation Jessica Paré, legendary comic actor Dan Aykroyd and other blue-chippers. The story of how a female hockey player becomes a supermodel.
2 p.m. The Perfect Son two estranged brothers, played by David Cubitt (tv’s Traders) and Colm Feore (The Insider, City of Angels), come together over the death of their father and discover they have to take care of each other in more than parental ways.
7 p.m. We All Fall Down some people can’t get anything right, even a good buzz. This stars Helen Shaver, Nicholas Campbell (the lead on tv’s DaVinci’s Inquest), Barry Pepper (Saving Private Ryan, Enemy of the State) and others.
9 p.m. New Waterford Girl another big name from Canada this year. Set in Cape Breton it stars a cast including Andrew McCarthy (St. Elmo’s Fire, Joy Luck Club), Mary Walsh (tv’s This Hour Has 22 Minutes), Nicholas Campbell and a some wonderful newcomers.
Full-festival passes and day passes to the Moving Pictures Canadian Film Festival are available at Mosquito Books, Books & Company, CNC Bookstore and UNBC Bookstore. Single tickets available at the door.