Recent History – 2003
June 23, 2003 — By Jamie Dirom, Daily News Staff
The South Peace Arts Council is working to bring movies to the big screen in Dawson Creek that otherwise might not play here. Starting in September, the council is planning to feature a series of critically acclaimed movies on the big screen at Center Cinema.
Arts council members met with representatives from the Toronto International Film Festival Thursday to discuss the addition of Dawson Creek to the festival’s film circuit. Movies that have played on the circuit recently include the likes of Bowling for Columbine, Frida and Rabbit-Proof Fence.
“We’re quite excited about it,” said arts council chair Calvin Kruk. “There is an appetite for it in our community (for these sorts of films).”
The plan is to hold film showings at the local theatre once a month. In the first year, the arts council hopes to host a series of 10 films. Kruk said the council is planning to sell advance subscriptions to the series. He expects the cost of admission for film circuit shows to be “right around what regular admission at the theatre is.”
Film circuit associate director Blair Haynes said the Toronto International Film Festival started working with smaller communities 12 years ago in Northern Ontario. Haynes said the movies that were showing at theatres in those first communities were popular, but there were many well-known movies that never made it.
“(Award) nominated films in particular were films that almost never made it to those communities,” he said.
Since it started, the circuit has expanded to include 120 communities across the country. Last year, attendance at film circuit shows across Canada was roughly 350,000, Haynes said.
“The project has an extraordinarily high success rate – almost 95 per cent.”
Haynes noted that in all film circuit cities, the decision about what films come are made locally – not by the film festival. One of the benefits of the circuit is that it can often get people who are looking for something other than the major releases out tothe local theatre, Haynes said.
“It’s a way to bring back a segment of the population that has been left behind,” he said, noting that the circuit’s films generally appeal to viewers in their thirties – typical Hollywood movies aremade to appeal to viewers in their teens and early twenties. Haynes said the circuit was originally developed to help Canadian films and the Canadian film industry. It has since expanded to include international films.
“The same plight that the Canadian film has is the same plight that the international independent film has,” he said. “This is the first time Canadian films can be seen in their own country by their own people.”
This article is taken from the Peace River Block Daily News, Dawson Creek, with the permission of the publisher. The Daily News retains all rights relating to this material. The information in this article is intended solely for research or general interest purposes.