Porcupine Lake is a romantic drama directed by Ingrid Veninger and starring Charlotte Salisbury, Lucinda Armstrong Hall and Christopher Bolton. (Contributed)

Porcupine Lake is a romantic drama directed by Ingrid Veninger and starring Charlotte Salisbury, Lucinda Armstrong Hall and Christopher Bolton. (Contributed)

Bullying and relationships explored in coming of age drama at the ACT

GEMS kicks off the new year with romantic drama Porcupine Lake

The Golden Ears Movie Series is kicking off the new year with a coming of age film exploring the themes of bullying and family relationships.

Porcupine Lake is a romantic drama directed by Ingrid Veninger and starring Charlotte Salisbury, Lucinda Armstrong Hall and Christopher Bolton.

The story takes place in Northern Ontario during the hot and hazy summer where Bea, 13, meets a funny, outspoken, and tough young girl named Kate. Although Bea and Kate appear to be opposites, they strangely fit together. Under Kate’s influence Bea discovers her courage but finds herself having to make the difficult decision of choosing between never squealing or speaking out.

Organizer and host of GEMS, Fred Armstrong, is looking forward to sitting down and watching the film.

“I’ve been trying not to watch the movies ahead of time so that I can kind of enjoy them with the audience. So when we talk about them we are all talking about our shared experience,” he laughed.

“The themes from the movie are really going to be talking about looking at the world through the lens of young people who are on the verge of adulthood,” explained Armstrong who has a 17-year-old son.

“The movie explores themes about bullying, relationships, what’s the relationship the parents have in this modern world with regards to their kids,” he continued.

“Certainly we are dealing with all of the issues that as parents we are confronted with the reality that kids have their own opinions, they form their own views of the world and, rightly or wrongly, how we react to situations as parents feeds into that,” he added.

Armstrong believes that this film is a great one for parents to enjoy with their teenage children.

“The film may create a catalyst for some interesting conversations that we inevitably have with our kids when they look at us one day and say, look, I can make my own decisions or I don’t agree with your perspective on this. All of a sudden you are confronted with the reality that you poured your life into this human and again, for better or for worse, you have to respect what the result was,” said Armstrong.

As for himself, he wants to compare the film to what growing up was like for himself in the 1970’s, like how bullying was addressed in the schools compared to now and how gender identification is addressed.

“Kids today talk more about gender identification than we ever did in the 70’s. Relationships across genders it’s a different world. I think parents will get a lot out of it,” said Armstrong adding that the film was very well reviewed and received by audiences.

“Women, who are the essential focus of the film, from all accounts their performances really connected with audiences and left people at the end of the film, thinking very deeply about those relationships that we have,” he said.

Special guest Tony Cotroneo, who helped build the Youth Centre programming for the City of Maple Ridge, has been invited as a resource during the post-screening discussion. The film is rated 14A.

Porcupine Lake is the first of three films to be screened this year at GEMS.

The second film in the GEMS series is The Breadwinner that will be screened on Feb. 25. From executive producer Angelina Jolie the animation tells the story of Parvana, a 12-year-old girl growing up under the Taliban in Afghanistan. When her father is arrested, Parvana dresses up as a boy in order to provide for her family and along with her best friend Shauzia, risks being discovered as she attempts to find out if her father is still alive.

The Breadwinner is directed by Nora Twomey and stars Saara Chaudry, Soma Chhaya and Noorin Gulamgaus.

Finally on Mar. 25, The Trip to Spain will be screened. Directed by Michael Winterbottom and starring Steve Coogan, Rob Brydon and Marta Barrio, this comedic drama tells the story about two men who embark on a culinary trip to Spain, sampling the best of the country’s gastronomic offerings in between rounds of hilarious off-the-cuff banter.

The Breadwinner and The Trip to Spain are each rated PG-13.

Each film will be screened at the Mainstage at the ACT Arts Centre, 11944 Haney Place, followed by a post-screening, half hour discussion with special guests in the lobby with complimentary refreshments.

“The goal is just to try to promote and connect people that have an interest in film,” said Armstrong.

Tickets for each of the films are $14 for general seating or $36 to see all three.

For more information or to purchase tickets call 604-476-2787 or go to theactmapleridge.org.

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