A Vancouver Island film festival returns to the big screen for the first time since 2019.
On February 23 and 24, the CineCentral Filmmakers Society of Nanaimo presents its Cinefest Film Festival at the Avalon Cinema in the Woodgrove Center. This is the first time the festival has taken place in person since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
CineCentral chairman Todd Jones said the festival is about engaging and celebrating local cinema.
“I feel that other festivals bring films from elsewhere and as a filmmaker myself, I find it really inspiring to watch films made by other filmmakers on the island that deal with the same places, the same talent pool, limited budgets,” he said. “When you see what others are doing in your area, it’s very inspiring to push yourself to help take it to the next level.”
Thirty films in a variety of genres will screen at the festival, Jones said, with each night featuring a different lineup. The first night will feature the debuts of two films funded by $2,000 grants from CineCentral, as well as the three winners of CineCentral’s One Minute Mobile Movie Challenge. Night two will feature films that are part of CineCentral’s 48-Hour Film Challenge.
Among the films screened is pirette by Barry Jesse Smith of Nanaimo. It’s a sci-fi movie about astronauts aboard an experimental spacecraft who are accidentally thrown thousands of light-years from Earth where they encounter a space pirate looking for pieces of a mysterious amulet. pirette was filmed at Nanaimo Legion Branch 256 using green screens.
Among the challenges of working with a green screen, Smith said, are lighting and getting actors in the right positions because they can’t see their virtual surroundings.
“Most actors have never done green screen before,” Smith said. “So for them, they were acting in that vacuum.”
Until there pirette won 14 awards at 14 festivals, including awards for best visual effects and best sci-fi film, but Cinefest is the first time Smith will see pirette in a movie theater.
“It’s designed for the big screen,” he said. “It’s not designed for small screens because I don’t think you get the full impact out of it.”
WHAT’S THIS… The CineCentral Filmmakers Society Cinefest takes place at the Avalon Cinema, Woodgrove Center, February 23-24, 7-10 p.m. Doors 6:30 p.m., tickets $10 general admission, $8 for CineCentral members, available at the door or in advance by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.
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