Best of all, we were guests at the festival, with everything from film passes and accommodation to food and even the cost of ferries included.
It’s clear that the Powell River Film Festival, established in 2002, is a community-based event, with oodles of volunteers working various aspects of the festival. A raft of sponsors were credited, most of them local businesses. It was good to know who these were, as it was that much easier to pull out the plastic and buy goods from them while we were in town.
The films were shown at the historic Patricia Theatre, claimed by many to be the oldest continuously operating theatre in Canada.
While the range of films scheduled was excellent, with foreign films, documentaries and locally produced efforts being shown, my favourite was the indie film, Breakfast with Curtis. To my mind, it’s the 2012 equivalent of Harold and Maude.
Not that it’s a romance; it isn’t. It’s more about community. And if the community portrayed is offbeat, there’s much to be said for the way a group of such different people can respect and enjoy each other. The film reminds how important it is to live fully. And really, I don’t think you can walk away from it without feeling better than you did going in.
But the Festival offered more than just an array of terrific films. A mosaic of arts was on display at Dwight Hall, another of the buildings in Powell River's Historic Townsite. There were quilts, live music, paintings and prints. Food and drink as well as cultural and information booths were also there. Several displays brought my attention to the importance of community in Powell River. This is definitely a town that’s moving in many positive directions.
One of the most encouraging aspects of the festival was its focus on youth. In addition to hosting a weekend film camp for young filmmakers, they sponsored a province-wide competition for 5-minute films. I attended the very classy awards ceremony on Saturday afternoon. Prizes included scholarships to the Gulf Islands Film School, swag from many businesses and organizations, including the NFB. These ‘Bests’ were given, much as the Oscars are, for editing, writing, sound design, camera work, animation, drama and documentary.
As for the supposed ‘real thing’ from Hollywood last night, with its tasteless jokes and whiff of fixing, I prefer my memories from the little festival that could.