This coming weekend, Salt Spring Islanders gather for film-going ritual at the Gulf Islands Secondary School. The Salt Spring Film Festival is an annual affair and draws much of the community together for an incredible Friday evening gala, two days of documentaries, and the social justice bazaar.
After previewing over 100 documentaries over several months, volunteers of the Salt Spring Film Festival Society distilled their choices to about 40 films. They select a variety of films from around the world about the issues of our time. They could be anything from food, art, and music from India to our own back yard; social justice issues from Alberta to Iran; and inspiring films about the environment and human rights.
A keen filmgoer could watch nine films over the entire weekend but wouldn’t be merely watching them. The festival is so much more than being passively entertained or educated.
Last year, James Cowan, festival manager, shared a story that exemplifies this. The festival featured a film called Show Me What You Care About. The film raised a lot of questions about the filmmakers’ approach. The two filmmakers Brianne Nettelfield and Naomi Mark were present, and to their surprise and enjoyment, audience members opened up and related to the film’s theme of urban loneliness. The entire audience stayed to have a discussion about the film and the concepts it explored.
The filmmakers who accompany films is a great feature of the festival. Last year, filmmakers from nine different films attended the festival to interact with the audiences and discuss their films.
Numerous volunteers help make this festival a success. In addition to volunteers, the festival relies on financial support. Country Grocer is the presenting sponsor again, and numerous other sponsors, partners, and donors make this festival possible. All of them are listed on the guidebook and website.
The Gala on Friday evening is remarkable. Doors open at 5:30 pm. Come for delicious appies and desserts. Opening ceremonies starts at 7:00pm. Gala tickets are $15, available at the door. Or purchase a weekend pass in advance, and the Friday night gala is included. Advance weekend passes can be purchased at the ArtSpring Box Office or on their website www.artspring.ca
If the price of a weekend pass is too steep for your pocketbook, enter to win a pair of tickets from Country Grocer! Go to the Country Grocer SSI Facebook page for contest details, which were posted on February 26.
All photos contributed by the Salt Spring Film Festival.