The Third Annual Cariboo Chilcotin Film Festival is coming to Williams Lake screens May 3 and 4.
Spread over two evenings, the film fest will feature a panel, new to the event this year, and ten films.
“I’m really excited and I was completely and utterly surprised by the fact that it is only the third festival and we received so many submissions,” said organizer Krista Liebe.
Each film in the festival has a connection to the Cariboo Chilcotin, whether it was filmed here, features Cariboo Chilcotin actors, or was made by Cariboo Chilcotin people.
“I had this idea quite a long time ago,” said Liebe. “I thought getting to know more people here, there should be enough talent in the Cariboo Chilcotin.”
The event has blossomed from there.
Thursday evening will feature The Doctor’s Case, written and directed by James Douglas of Wells and Barkerville, as well as Wild Horses – Unconquered People, a film written and directed by Susan Smitten but that explores the relationship between Xeni Gwet’in and the wild horses of Nemiah Valley.
A panel discussion will follow the event, featuring James Douglas, actor JP Winslow, Xeni Gwet’in’s Roger William and Friends of the Nemiah Valley’s David Williams.
“Panels are something that all film festivals have and usually they just talk about one film and how they got the ideas and so on,” said Liebe. “So what I thought is, let’s bring a film by non-First Nations and a film made by a First Nation and host one on that.”
Audience members will have a chance to ask questions to each panel member and each member will have the opportunity to explain a little of the background behind their film.
“We have different people from two totally different films and they each get a chance to answer questions from the audience and talk about their film. James Douglas is going to be totally excited about how well his film is doing and Roger and David will be very excited because this film disappeared for several years.”
In fact, Liebe has been trying to hunt down Wild Horses, and, possible as a result of her search, the film has been remastered and updated.
“It was important for me, being an outsider, and seeing what is happening in the city, to create an event which is of equal interest to First Nations and everybody else.”
The second evening of the event will feature Great Slave Rock Slabs, featuring Williams Lake mountain biker Cory Brunelle; ?Etsu, by Trevor Mack and Sech’el a film collaborated on and acted in by Trevor Mack for the Maoriland Film Festival in New Zealand; two films by writer and director Jeremy Williams, filmed at Alkali Lake; The Wildfire Summer of 2017 – A Photographer’s Journey, by Chris Harris, with music by Ken Marshall; Afterlight by Nemiah Valley’s Jesaja Class; and The Hill, a film telling the story of how the hill to Bella Coola was built by former Chilcotin resident Barbara Gossman.
The evening will feature exhibits of local history, book and DVD sales, as well as entertainment during intermission provided by Harry Jennings and Marco Sylvain.
Liebe is excited and has a story about each individual film or filmmaker that she’s eager to share over the course of the festival.
She started working with Trevor Mack when he was 19, bringing him to Williams Lake to showcase or debut his work. He’s now 25 and the Film Club sponsored him to do presentations at each of Lake City Secondary’s campuses (Mack graduated from Columneetza) to help encourage budding Cariboo Chilcotin filmmakers. Each session was reportedly jam-packed with students.
“I hope that we get younger people involved in films,” said Liebe. “As a kid from the reserve going to school here in town he is really making it pretty big and he is just at the beginning of his career.”
It’s from the initial showings with Mack that Liebe said the idea of a film festival grew.
Liebe’s equally excited about showcasing another young Cariboo-Chilcotin filmmaker this year. Afterlight is 21-year-old Jesaja Class’ debuting film, the youth being known for his skills as a magician.
“We do it to support our local talents,” said Liebe.
On Thursday, May 3, doors to the film fest open at 6:30 p.m. and tickets are $10. For the showings on Friday, May 4, doors open at 6 p.m. and tickets are $15.
Tickets are available at the Open Book, Kit and Kaboodle and at the door. The event itself takes place at the Gibraltar Room.
For more information visit the film fest’s Facebook page by searching Cariboo Chilcotin Film Fest.
“The biggest thing for me is somehow I feel we have had a big influence in getting the interest up in films about this area and not just in tourism, but films which tackle subject matters specific to this area,” said Liebe.
“I’m so stoked.”