Film Festival Round Up: Part One

The 2015 Available Light Film Festival is bringing a jam-packed program to Yukon Arts

Centre this February. The first half of the festival, Feb 7 to Feb 11, is covered here. Itinerary from Feb 12 to Feb 16 will be in next week’s paper. Prices of events may vary.

Get your day planners ready — here goes:

Saturday, February 7

Saturday’s program features the Opening Gala film Two 4 One at 7 p.m. at the Yukon Arts Centre (YAC).

“We’re really excited to open the festival with a fiction film. We’ve never done that before,” says festival director Andrew Connors.

“The fact that it’s also a queer film with a transgender hero is something we’re really proud of.”

The romantic comedy revolves around an oddball couple’s one night stand, which renders them both pregnant. Cast members Gavin Crawford, Gabrielle Rose, and Naomi Snieckus, director Maureen Bradley and producer Daniel Hogg will all be in attendance for this gala screening which will literally see the festival roll out the red carpet.

“We’ve actually rented a red carpet,” laughs Connors. There will be an opportunity for photos ops – it’s a proper dress up affair.”

For a review of this film, please see page 9.

Sunday, February 8

Each year the Toronto International Film Festival restores one film from their vault. This year that film is Atom Egoyan’s Speaking Parts, which will hit the YAC screen at 12:30 p.m.

The film follows an aspiring actor/janitor/gigolo who finds himself an object of obsession for his lonely fellow custodian while he is courting a scriptwriter. The film marked Egoyan’s Cannes premiere, and is often considered his break-through.

A conversation between actress Gabrielle Rose and writer and film critic, Geoff Pevere, will follow the screening.

This will be followed by Freak Out! at 3:00 p.m., which documents Monte Verità, Switzerland — a seminal alternative commune — founded by a group of middle class kids in 1900 revolting against their time.

The community is based on veganism, feminism, pacifism, and free love. It attracted Freud, Jung, and Lenin and its residents and went on to inspire writers Franz Kafka and Hermann Hesse, and dancer Mary Wigman. The use of archival photos, animation, and re-enactments bring to vivid life this long-forgotten site of Cultural Revolution.

The festival’s companion event, the Media Industry Forum, will host Ben Ratner from Haven Studio in Vancouver for a four hour Acting for the Camera Workshop from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the YAC Studio.

“Ben has serious acting and teaching chops,” says Connors. “The workshop will be a great opportunity for local actors to benefit from this talented artist’s experience.

Later that evening the Forum will host the ALFF Comedy Pitch Competition 2015 at 8:30 p.m., which will see local comedians squaring off in front of an all-star judging panel from CBC Comedy and This Hour Has 22 Minutes.

Monday, February 9th

Monday will feature Down River at 7 p.m. This is a film inspired by director Benjamin Ratner’s long-time friendship with iconic Vancouver actress Babz Chula, which explores the concepts of mentorship, friendship, living life to the fullest and, ultimately, letting go.

Ratner will be in attendance, along with producer James Brown, composer Kevin House and actress Jennifer Spence. An intimate cabaret performance by House will follow the screening of the film.

Also on Monday, at 12:00 p.m. Three Yukon Documentaries will feature one documentary from each of the following filmmakers: Dan Sokolowski, Marten Berkman (cover), and Francis Casaubon. These films take on subject matter as diverse as the Baffin Island landscape and winter biking in Whitehorse.

Tuesday, February 10th

The day kicks off at noon with Sumé: The Sound of a Revolution (Mumisitsinerup Nipaa), about a Greenlandic rock band who had profound political and cultural influence in their native country during the 1970s.

“It won the Award for an Emerging Filmmaker at the 2014 ImagineNative Film and Media Arts Festival,” says Connors, “and it’s the perfect pairing for Tanya Tagaq’s Nanook of the North (see page 16) performance later that day.”

The Media Industry Forum will be hosting a public talk from 1:00 to 4:00 pm, by Keith Partridge, director of photography for Touching the Void, entitled The Adventure Game: A Cameraman’s Tales From Films at the Edge.

Wednesday, February 11th

On Wednesday at 9:15 media artist Lindsay McIntyre will present a 30-minute film projection performance A Northern Portrait. Running four projectors simultaneously, McIntyre will create layered film images live of her mother’s home community of Baker Lake, Nunavut. Her performance will be accompanied by live music from Sauna Music. 

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