Well, we’re home… a lot; squashing curves and cooking squash… and other homemade delights. And while at home, what better time to celebrate and support the cinema from our home; country, province, and region?
Starting on Wednesday, April 22, National Canadian Film Day, The Civic’s virtual screen will return from its international travels to Brazil, Poland, Lebanon, Korea, Japan, China, and Italy. We are, indeed, coming home. Our virtual cinema will stream a trio of narrative films, one documentary from BC, a classic Canadian feature from Toronto and a series of shorts from our very own Kootenay Screen-Based Industry community.
Make yourself at home for some great Canadian cinema from April 22 – 30. (Where else are you going anyway?)
National Canadian Film Day
Reel Canada describes the goal of their event as “encouraging all Canadians to celebrate the incredible achievements of our nation’s filmmakers… to see your own stories on the big screen. In fact, we’re confident that you (yes, even you, reading this right now!) will love getting to know your nation and the people in it a bit better.” ~ canadianfilmday.ca
Selecting a classic and a recent Canadian film from NCFD’s 20/20 list, in partnership with VIFF at Van City, we will feature a double bill of Don McKellar’s, ‘Last Night,’ and Mina Shum’s, ‘Meditation Park’. VIFF’s Year-Round Programmer, Tom Charity, will host a live-stream post-screening Q&A with Mina Shum including pre-sent questions/comments from The Civic’s audience.
Last Night (1998)
‘Last Night’, starring Sandra Oh, Eve from, ‘Killing Eve’, and Don McKellar, who also wrote and directed the film, is a bittersweet, emotional and wry drama about how people choose to spend their final hours before an impending apocalypse. Spending the end with loved ones, private contemplation, having sex, or partying? McKellar explores the human element, exploring the ideas of living life until the end and having the characters come to terms with their lives and themselves.
It may have been a film exploring the end times feared by some at the coming of Y2K, but it has some resonance of the reality shift we are experiencing at this moment.
‘Last Night’ can be viewed on Apr. 22 (National Canadian Film Day), or at anytime for free on CBC Gem (A 30-day free trial is available for commercial free viewing)
Meditation Park (2017)
Also starring Sandra Oh and Don McKellar, Mina Shum’s Vancouver made, ‘Meditation Park’, is a story from within the home and family.
Approaching their senior years, married couple Maria and Bing Wang emigrated to Vancouver from Hong Kong forty years ago, they living on the working class east side of the city steps away from Hastings Park. Bing has been the family breadwinner, starting with menial jobs after arriving in Canada despite his educated background, eventually being able to open his own small accounting firm in Chinatown where he keeps long hours in working for and schmoozing with clients. Meanwhile, Maria has been housewife and mother, dedicating herself solely to the family. With their daughter Ava now married with her own young family, and Bing being estranged from their son Charlie for ten years, Charlie who Bing will not allow Maria to keep in touch with despite Charlie living on nearby Bowen Island, Maria now feels like her only purpose in life is to take care of Bing. In addition, Maria is completely dependent on Bing as she still feels uncomfortable speaking English instead of their native Cantonese, as she doesn’t know how to drive or even ride a bike to get around on her own, and as she has to ask Bing for any money she spends. Something that Maria discovers as well as an upcoming event of which she learns leads to Maria feeling like she needs some independence in her life, independence which she equates with having money of her own. Without telling Bing the reasons for her newfound want for a job, Maria goes searching for ways to get that money, a job which may be hard to come by as she hasn’t worked since Hong Kong and due to her advanced sixty years of age. As she resorts to more basic and potentially dangerous means to earn money following in the footsteps of her neighbors who she doesn’t really know well, Maria may discover that in addition to money, independence and the associated sense of freedom is a state of mind.
‘Meditation Park’ can be viewed on Apr. 22 (National Canadian Film Day), or at anytime for free on CBC Gem (A 30-day free trial is available for commercial free viewing). Watch the film prior to NCFD, prepare questions and send to firstname.lastname@example.org to be forwarded for the live Q&A with Mina Shum.
Kootenay Shorts Program
Brought to you by the Kootenay Screen-Based Industry.
And for a collection of films really close from home, this special curation of short films is a collective effort of local Kootenay filmmakers who have generously donated these films.
By purchasing a pass, you are supporting Canadian, independent cinema and helping us get through this difficult time. All proceeds go towards supporting The Civic Theatre and its programming to support the local screen-based industry (SBI). Our doors are closed but we insist that your imaginations remain open.
FEATURED SHORTS (All included in ticket):
• ‘The Thing’ by Carlo Alcos
• ‘Etude’, ‘Look At Them Run’, & ‘Why Are They Running?’ by Brian Lye
• ‘As It Were’ by Aydin Long
• ‘Soggy Flakes’ by Nathan Affolter
• ‘Library Rock’ by Amy Allcock
• ‘Hwuy’xwet Pune’luxutth’ & ‘Elizabete Ir Kanāda’ by Jason Mannings
• ‘Imagination’ & ‘Loved by All: The Story of Apa Sherpa’ by Sherpas Cinema
• ‘The Eternal Struggle’ by the Helmer Brothers
• ‘Super Sk8te’ by Gabby Asbell
• ‘Graceland’ by Aaron M. May
• ‘Get Lost. Get Found.’ by Alex Botton
• ‘Wolfpack’ by Sweetgrass Productions
‘Kootenay Shorts’ can be viewed on Apr. 24 & 27 (Facebook Live talk with the filmmakers following the Apr 27 screening)
ASH is the new BC feature film from Andrew Huculiak, drummer in the Vancouver prog rock band, ‘We are the City’. Huculiak is also the director of the 2014 ‘Violent’, selected as one of TIFF’s Canada’s Top Ten from that year. This film tells the story of a reporter who tries to salvage his reputation and save his marriage when authorities accuse him of a shocking crime. Reporting from the frontlines of the Okanagan wildfires, Stan documents uncommon heroism on his blog while hoping for a big break that’ll make him a household name beyond Peachland, British Columbia. When he’s accused of a disturbing crime that damages his marriage and reputation, however, he must scramble to salvage what’s left of his life.
‘Ash’ can be viewed on Apr. 24 & 28 (Facebook Live Q&A with the filmmaker following the Apr 24 screening)
Watch the trailer.
The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open (2019)
In an audacious act of heroism and kindness, Áila (Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers) chooses to console a young woman she finds barefoot and sobbing in the streets. She soon discovers that Rosie (Violet Nelson) has just escaped an assault by her boyfriend. Compelled to take action, Áila chooses to bring Rosie into her home and, over the course of the evening, the two women explore the after-effect of this traumatic event.
The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open is a brilliant, poignant collaboration between two of Canada’s brightest — and boldest — filmmakers. Tailfeathers, a member of the Kainai First Nation as well as Sámi from Norway, triples as lead, co-writer, and co-director. She shares writing and directing with Kathleen Hepburn, whose 2017 film Never Steady, Never Still premiered at the Festival and was named to TIFF’s Canada’s Top Ten. Using 16mm and presenting their narrative in “real time,” the filmmakers craft a delicate intimacy, which lends emotion to this remarkable story of two women’s resilience, strength, and mutual support.
Taking its title from an essay by Indigenous poet Billy-Ray Belcourt, and based on a watershed moment in Tailfeathers’ life, this story of a chance encounter between two women — living in the same Vancouver neighbourhood, but coming from distinct worlds of class and lived experience — reveals the necessity for Indigenous people to look out for each other in a society that’s too often indifferent to their existence.
‘The Body Remembers…’ can be viewed on Apr. 25 & 30 (Facebook Live Q&A with the filmmaker following the Apr 25 screening)
Watch the trailer.
The Whale and the Raven (2019)
Journeying into BC’s Great Bear Rainforest, German documentarian and cultural anthropologist Mirjam Leuze investigates the potential impact of a liquefied natural gas exporting plant and increased tanker traffic on this stunning ecosystem. Not only are we introduced to the remarkable people who call this place home and oppose the plant’s construction, including whale researchers Hermann Meuter and Janie Wray and elders of the Gitga’at First Nation, but also the humpbacks, orcas, and porpoises who use the Kitimat fjord system as a feeding- and playground.
In recalling her initial 2002 encounter with a whale, Leuze suggests that it sparked “a deep sense of wonder and humility in the face of an unimaginably large being…” Through sublime cinematography that revels in the almost mythical beauty of these creatures (the big screen can barely contain them) and rich sound design that underscores nature’s symphonic qualities, Leuze and her team not only recreate the awe of that epiphanic moment but also immerse us in a truly majestic world and craft an emphatic argument for its preservation.
‘The Whale and the Raven’ can be viewed on Apr. 26 & 29 (Facebook Live Q&A with one of the filmmakers following the Apr 26 screening)
Watch the trailer.
Your support of our virtual screenings is keeping the arts alive
All of these films are available to stream in the comfort and safety of your living rooms for the special cost of only $4 with 50% of the revenue supporting The Civic Theatre. We’re so grateful to our community who has so eagerly jumped on board with this new, online cinema we are currently operating. A wonderful time for innovation during a strange period in our global history.
Keep discovering amazing stories. Our doors may be closed but we insist that your imaginations remain open.