Judy Greer and Daniel Doheny perform in RCFF’s premier screening, Adventures In Public School. Submitted photo

Reel Canadian Film Fest almost here

This year's lineup features comedies, dramas, documentaries, historical and French-language films.

The Elk Valley will get a chance to view the best of the best in modern Canadian cinema, during the 10th annual Reel Canadian Film Festival, in Fernie January 26-28.

Whatever your taste in films, the festival is guaranteed to accommodate it. This year’s lineup features comedies, dramas, documentaries, historical and French-language films.

During the opening night at the Vogue Theatre on Friday, January 26, a screening of Adventures in Public School will be followed by a reception at The Arts Station. Here, special guests Siobhan Williams (Anastasia, Adventure in Public School) and Flo Barrett (clothing design) will sit down for a Q&A, accompanied by complimentary beverages and appetizers.

Judy Greer takes on the role of an overprotective home schooling parent, Claire, to teenaged Liam (Daniel Doheny), a socially awkward wannabe physicist who is about to head off to Cambridge. At the equivalency exam he spots Anastasia, a strikingly attractive peer who lost her leg to cancer. In a quick turn of events, he changes his answers, hoping to flunk and redo his final semester in public school.

Adventures in Public School was written by the creative minds of Josh Epstein (writer, producer) and Kyle Rideout (writer, director). Similarly to Claire and Liam, Epstein was incredible close with his mother, as well as his grandmother. Together Epstein and Rideout wrote this film as a tribute to the great women in their lives. Key moments are addressed in the life of Liam, as he grows in his relationship with his mother, while at the same time struggling with knowing when to break away from his family to create his own identity.

The film encompasses quirky characters, each with their own flaws. Despite this, each thrives in their own atmosphere, in spite of being caught in countless awkward situations.

“Everybody in the movie is pretty odd in their own right, but they’re each lovable,” said Williams.

Claire, while obsessively close and overbearing with Liam at times, still manages to maintain a beautiful relationship with her son. Despite having very little experience socializing in the outside world, Liam manages to survive in public school without sacrificing who he is as a person. And despite losing her leg, Anastasia hasn’t let this stop her from living.

“It’s about knowing your quirks, and seeing them as assets,” Williams said, describing the core theme of the film.

Adventures in Public School recently won Best Comedy Feature Film at the 2017 Edmonton International Film Festival.

On Saturday, the Young Filmmakers contest and NFB Shorts will take place at The Vogue Theatre at 1 p.m., featuring a lineup of films produced by youth aged 14-and-under, as well as a selection of kids shorts from the National Film Board of Canada. Admission to this program is free and all are welcome.

At 7 p.m., Meditation Park will start, featuring Maria (Cheng Pei Pei), who after spending years of her life devoted in marriage to Bing (Tzi Ma), discovers another woman’s thong in his pocket. Having previously turned a blind eye to the prejudices and vices of her husband, she switches gears and ends up engaging in some unintentionally comic sleuthing that not only uncovers clues to Bing’s clandestine activities but also introduces her to new East Van communities and ultimately sets her on a course to self-discovery.

At 9 p.m., the lights will dim for Breath. This film, structured around Tim Winton’s award-winning and international bestselling novel, encompasses the journey of two teenage boys, hungry for discovery. Set in mid-70s coastal Australia, their journey leads them to form an unlikely friendship with a mysterious adventurer who pushes them to take risks that end up having a lasting and profound impact on their lives.

The final day of films will begin with a screening of Expo 67: Mission Impossible at 5 p.m. This eye-opening documentary takes viewers into the world of the men behind the 1967 Universal Exposition in Montréal. After gaining access to over 80,000 documents and exclusive testimonials with key players, light was shed on what went into creating what many call the greatest universal exposition of the 20th century.

At 6:30 p.m., the closing reception will take place at the Vogue Theatre.

At 7 p.m., the final film, Hochelaga, Land of Souls [Hochelaga, Terre des Âmes], will begin. After a sinkhole opens up in the middle of a Montreal football field, archaeologists dive into the history surrounding this place. After much research, they theorize that the sinkhole could lead to evidence of Hochelaga, the place where French explorer Jacques Cartier first contacted Indigenous peoples in Quebec. The study brings to light that the site was the scene of a hard-fought battle between Indigenous warriors in 1267, when many Iroquois were killed.

This subtitled [French and Iroquois] film served as Canada’s official submission for Best Film in a Foreign Language for the 2018 Academy Awards.

Weekend Passes for the RCFF are $50. This includes 5 feature films and 2 receptions.

Opening night passes are $15. This includes the opening night film, and reception at The Arts Station.

Tickets are available at The Arts Station, 601 1st Avenue. Call 250 423 4842 to reserve/pay by credit card, or purchase at the door, subject to availability.

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