New West Doc Fest returns to Douglas College this weekend
By Angela Espinoza, Arts Editor
With this year’s Vancouver International Film Festival now drawn to a close, I’m excited to announce that New Westminster has got something to counter those ‘bye-bye VIFF blues.’ The New West Doc Fest will be returning for its second year in a row, and best of all, our very own Douglas College will be playing host to the event! From the opening night on October 19 to the full festival occurring on the 20th, the Laura C. Muir Performing Arts Theatre will be the venue.
I’ve seen many different performances in the theatre, but film screenings are probably one of the coolest things to ever happen at the school (at least in my time here). To commemorate this most awesome event, I spoke with Joyce Rostron, Vice President of the Green Ideas Network.
“Andrew Murray (from the New West Environmental Partners) and I met at the Sapperton Day Street Festival,” Rostron starts, “and the topic of a film festival for New Westminster was discussed. It was shortly thereafter that GIN and NWEP were sharing ideas and spearheading a new event for New Westminster, and co-hosted with Douglas College’s Department of Science & Technology, [we would then] invite the community to come and learn, experience, and hopefully inspire people to effect change in our society.“
While the festival has obviously grown in the last year, the focus remains on documentaries that cover current changes going on environmentally, but there’s also been a slight turn into somewhat more personal (although of course social) docs.
“The Doc Fest has grown to have more variety;” Rostron elaborates. “This year, we teamed with Film Circuit from the Toronto International Film Festival and have selected some excellent documentaries. The feature films we are presenting will focus on issues of social justice, sustainable energy future, climate change, workers’ rights, and even gamer culture.
“It’s a great mix, and something for everyone. We’ve reached out to local experts for the Q&A sessions and have created a ‘Speaker’s Corner,’ where conversation with the experts can continue outside the theatre.”
Now, I wasn’t going to pass up this opportunity to pick Ms. Rostron’s brain on her favourite, so she was kind enough to let us know this tidbit:
“Of the five films in the lineup, my favourite is Chasing Ice. I admire the filmmaker’s personal story, the stunning cinematography, and the evidence-based message to the world. For Chasing Ice, we are really pleased to have Professor Mark Jaccard address the audience at 8:00 p.m. on Friday night; he’s a leading climate change and energy solutions expert.
But the New West Doc Fest this year surprisingly isn’t just films. A number of other performances will be occurring during the two-day festival as well.
“To make the festival unique, Now! Theatre will organize live performances. Now! Theatre is comprised of young and talented performing artists; their lineup [includes] a singer/songwriter, spoken word, a reading from an award-winning play, and a song-cycle. Live bands will also be performing during the open reception on Friday night and in the lobby from noon to 1:00 p.m. on Saturday.
“Hopefully, more young people will come out to the Doc Fest this year. It’ll be free for Douglas College students with ID. We are anticipating a really great event, and wish to invite everyone to bring along a friend and enjoy.”
Of the film’s being shown, three of the docs are some I saw earlier this year: Indie Game—The Movie, Big Boys Gone Bananas!, and (most recently at VIFF) The World Before Her are all incredible in portraying the personal struggles of those who yearn to be creative, those with a Goliath-like corporate challenge, and those who can actually change the world. The trailers for these films and more are available on the New West Doc Fest website, where the schedule and ticket purchases can also be made: www.newwestdocfest.ca.
I heavily stress that the festival pass for non-students is worth the purchase; this, I can honestly say, is an excellent selection of documentaries, and I would be kicking myself if I missed out on this event.
What: New West Doc Fest
Where: Laura C. Muir Performing Arts Theatre, Douglas College (New West)
When: Friday, October 19–Saturday, October 20 (THIS WEEKEND)
Cost: FREE to Douglas students; $7 regular admission; $20 festival pass