Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Burnaby Arts Council to launch film festival in 2010

One of several benefits I enjoy is the fact that I live and work in Burnaby, B.C., the community which, in July 2009, was designated "The best-managed city in Canada". Those kudos came from MACLEANS, the Canadian news magazine which also ranks our universities. (If interested, you can read "Canada's Best-Run Cities" here.) Even though our population density continues to climb, Burnaby also enjoys the distinction of having more jobs than it does residents. It is a fact that many of the major film studios and software design firms operate from Burnaby, but use Vancouver as their postal address. We often tip our hat to the "Vancouver" Brand, but must continue to forge our own identity.

One cultural event we have sorely lacked in Burnaby, is a festival which could showcase the talents of our emerging filmmakers, those who may not be ready to compete on a national level. Recognizing their need, one of the city's busiest cultural organisations - the Burnaby Arts Council (B.A.C.), has decided to sponsor a film festival which we will launch in April - May, 2010. The details... specific dates, application requirements, sponsor information and more, will be available soon.


I first met Brian Daniel, the B.A.C. President, two months ago. We swapped ideas, he sold me a membership, and before long he had me enlisted for a project he had been working on. It was easy to agree on the fact we must do more to encourage students and other emerging filmmakers. We will start small, but our goal is a festival for the younger talent in the Lower Mainland - high school, post secondary students and the newly graduated, who want exposure for their best film work to date.

I was given the green light to begin the planning and promotion, and my first act was to meet yesterday with Burnaby Mayor, Derek Corrigan and discuss the festival. He was very enthusiastic and it's encouraging to know that we can count on city to play a supportive role. I am seeking volunteers to assist with the processing the submissions, and a myriad of other tasks as they arise. We believe our festival will be a good fit for the James Cowan Theatre at the Shadbolt Centre for the Arts, which is neighbor to the B.A.C. offices in Deer Lake. Press releases will go out soon.
Derek Corrigan, Mayor of Burnaby, receives his copy of the film OAKALLA. The mayor had a long association with the prison and was interviewed for the documentary. [Philip Jack photo]

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