Film festival offers critical look at Canadian identity
‘Polytechnique’ examines the 1989 Montreal Massacre and takes a long, hard look at gender-based violence that continues to mar societies worldwide. The docudrama opens the Bailey Theatre National Film Day film festival at the historic theatre in celebration of Canada’s 150th birthday on April 19 at 2 p.m.
The Bailey Theatre is teaming up with four local organizations to bring the world’s largest national film festival to Camrose.
In spirit of Canada’s 150th birthday, they will join more than 1,700 sites across the country in celebrating Canadian film with free screenings throughout the day on April 19.
Bailey Theatre National Film Day co-ordinator Leslie Lindball recognized this occasion to explore the diverse perspectives existing within our own city. The Camrose Women’s Shelter, Camrose Pride Community, Augustana Aboriginal Students’ Office and Camrose Hospice Society have all climbed aboard. Each organization will present a Canadian film with relevance to their particular niche in the community. Through cinematic story-telling and a subsequent discussion on the film, they’ll enquire into a broad spectrum of Canadian identity.
“It connects the film back to our community and to people that are working within whatever topic the film is bringing up,” said Lindball. “It makes the film more personal.”
Launching the festival at 2 p.m., will be the Camrose Women’s Shelter, with Polytechnique.
Lindball expects the docudrama, based on the tragic 1989 Montreal Massacre school shooting will tug the heart-strings of many.
“I’ve had a lot of conversations about … the importance of the remembrance of that day, so I have a feeling it will be a very intense experience to watch Polytechnique,” said Lindball.
Executive director of the Camrose Women’s Shelter Nora-Lee Rear said the film was selected for its pertinence to ongoing gender-based discrimination and violence that continues to mar societies world-wide.
“I’d like viewers to be able to see that even though this happened in 1989, that we’re still seeing much of the same violence,” said Rear. “We need to stop being silent about it.”
She hopes the film will ease dialogue surrounding the sensitive subject.
“Films can be a really good point of discussion, especially about domestic violence and (gender inequality) and that’s what we’re trying to highlight,” said Rear.
Polytechnique has earned numerous awards for its courage in addressing such a staggering crime, including nine Genie Awards and the Toronto Film Critics Association’s prize for Best Canadian Film.
Three more films will follow at 4 p.m., 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. Thanks to funding from REEL Canada and the Government of Canada, all screenings will be free of charge.
Breakfast with Scot, hosted by Camrose Pride Community (4 p.m.)
Following their unexpected inheritance of Scot, a rambunctious and outgoing young boy, gay partners Eric and Sam find themselves tackling fatherhood alongside other challenges of their lifestyle. The modern comedy illustrates a heart-warming interpretation of the true meaning of family. Adapted from the novel by Michael Downing, Breakfast with Scot received the Directors Guild of Canada’s Family Feature Film award. [Rated 14A]
Reel Injun, hosted by Augustana Aboriginal Students’ Office (6 p.m.)
The discrepancies between Hollywood and reality are often astounding. In this documentary by accredited Cree filmmaker Neil Diamond, an exploration into the cinematic portrayal of Indigenous peoples from Westerns to cowboy-and-Indian myths produces a candid and accurate understanding of a strong culture and history. [Rated PG]
“Impeccably well researched and crafted, Reel Injun neatly walks the line in balancing entertainment and education.” — Todd Brown, Twitch Film
Death by Joy, hosted by Camrose Hospice Society [8 p.m.]
What could it possibly mean to be “healed” in terminal illness? Following a shocking diagnosis, fifty-five-year-old Mary endeavours to discover the answer. Death by Joy invites viewers to share in Mary’s remarkable journey; one described by director James Cribb as otherworldly, yet consolingly human. [Not rated]
“If you have ever visited the dying, you are probably familiar with a hushed, sombre setting. Yet as we arrived at Mary’s home to visit her, the front door only just opening, a wave of laughter pealed out… Such was our introduction to Mary’s notion of how one should die.” — James Cribb, Director