Didn't make it to Toronto or Vancouver for a star-studded film festival? Don't worry, because once again the best of Canadian film can be found shining on a local screen.
The 17th annual Cinema CNC Festival begins Friday night, kicking off three days of films "designed to delight, entertain, stun, exasperate and inform you," said organizer Peter Maides.
This year's batch of eight movies represent work by Canuck filmmakers that were regarded as some of the best in their field, including Rebelle (War Witch), which was nominated this year for a Best Foreign Language Academy Award.
"We thought of doing more international films, but really focusing on Canadian films gives us more of a central theme - sort of what our country's up to," said Maides, the English department instructor who created the three-day festival.
Nearly two decades in, the festival isn't showing any sign of slowing down with anywhere between 2,000 to 2,400 people turning out for the event every year.
Part of the draw is the shared experience of seeing the movies on the big screen at the Prince George Playhouse, Maides explained. Another is the limited availability of the films. "Most of them would never show at Famous Players, for instance," he said. "And people don't know to look for them. There's only a couple of particularly 'famous' films."
The festival begins tonight at 7 p.m. with the political thriller Inescapable, directed by Ruba Nadda of Cairo Time fame. That's followed by director Sean Garrity's comedy My Awkward Sexual Adventure at 9:30 p.m.
Saturday's selections are director Kate Melville's Picture Day at 1 p.m., Deepa Mehta's adaptation of Salman Rushdie Midnight's Children at 7 p.m. and director Peter Mettler's documentary The End of Time at 9:30 p.m.
The festival wraps up with director Kim Nguyen French-language drama Rebelle at 2 p.m., Sarah Polley's nostalgic documentary Stories We Tell at 7 p.m. and a quirky documentary by Simon Ennis, Lunarcy, at 9:30 p.m.
"If people are interested in coming, I tell them, you can sleep next weekend," Maides laughed. "The festival should be its usual great time full of fun, fellowship, popcorn, prizes and of course, movies."
A variety of passes for the festival are available at the CNC and UNBC bookstores and Books & Company. A festival pass for all eight films is $48; a Friday-only pass is $14; passes for Saturday or Sunday only are $21 each; and single-film tickets will be available at the door for $8.