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Kinesis – Nelson Film Festival Plus

To Cannes, Berlin, Venice, Toronto, and Sundance we can now add Nelson. The Civic is calling this weekend’s Kinesis 2017 “A Celebration of Kootenay Film,” but I’m simply going to call it a “Film Festival Plus.” “Plus,” because, on top of all the films being shown, there are also networking opportunities, dine-around lunches, professional development sessions, and a film competition based around our awesome local breweries.

Looking at the films being screened, there’s a great variety of feature-length and short, fictional and documentary, local and from farther afield. In an attempt to summarize this great line-up, I started playing around with some recent work I’ve done creating a set theory example for a math course I teach. (Bear with me.) The classic “Venn diagram” represents relationships between groups of objects (films in this case) using overlapping ovals. It’s probably easier to show than to try to explain, so here’s a Venn diagram illustrating 19 films being shown at Kinesis 2017:

For each film, I tried to determine whether they were fictional or documentary, filmed in the Kootenays, classified as a “short,” and focussed on snowsports. The ovals in the diagram represent each of these categories, e.g., the purple oval encloses all the fictional films. Where the ovals overlap represent films that share the overlapping characteristics. So, for example, Homestead is in the red, orange, blue, and green ovals, which means it is a documentary short about snowsports in the Kootenays. The diagram allows you to see at a glance relationships between all the Kinesis films, e.g., the majority are Kootenay films, there are more docs than fictional films, and there are more shorts than feature-length (feature-length films are the ones that are not in the orange oval). There’s a chance I may have some of the films not quite in their correct places, but hopefully the diagram is mostly correct.

As another example, Kinesis opener Roxanne (1987) is in the purple and green ovals, which means it is a fictional movie filmed in the Kootenays (and it’s not a short documentary about snowsports). Roxanne just happens to be one of my all-time favourite movies. And not just because I live in Nelson. I first saw it when it first came out 30 years ago, a full 20 years before I moved to Nelson. There was something about the movie that really clicked with me – the gentle humour, the quirky characters, the classical references from the source material, the 1897 play Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand. And I was a pretty big Steve Martin fan at the time too.

Speaking of Steve Martin, I had so much fun creating the Kinesis Venn diagram above that I created a Steve Martin one too. (I know, math geek alert.) It has eight ovals representing eight of his movies: Roxanne, as well as ¡Three Amigos! (1986)Little Shop of Horrors (1986)Planes, Trains & Automobiles (1987), Parenthood (1989), My Blue Heaven (1990), L.A. Story (1991), and Father of the Bride (1991). The objects placed into the ovals in this case are the main actors in each of the movies. So, for example, Steve Martin, Daryl Hannah, and Rick Rossovich were the main actors in Roxanne, so they have been placed inside the red Roxanne oval. Since Steve Martin appeared in all eight movies, his name has been placed inside all eight ovals.

One interesting finding from this diagram is how Steve Martin has appeared in multiple movies with a good number of other actors. For example, you can see that Canadian Rick Moranis is also in four of the movies: Little Shop of Horrors, Parenthood, My Blue Heaven, and L.A. Story (the latter was an uncredited cameo). As another example, Canadian John Candy starred with Steve Martin in the great Planes, Trains & Automobiles, but you can also see that both actors were in Little Shop of Horrors.

You might be wondering by now, what was the example that started this whole thing off, the one I created for my math course? Well, here it is, an illustration of actors in some classic eighties movies.

You can see the so-called “brat pack” actors in the middle of this one.

Iain Pardoe is an online university instructor who enjoys the movies of Hayao Miyazaki even more than the kids and loves rewatching favourites from his youth with his family when he’s not playing soccer or skiing.