Adventures in Powell River: Feeding love of film through volunteering at festival
When I was little I wanted to be a movie star. I wanted to see my name in lights and be rich and famous. I wanted to forever play make-believe, travelling the world making films.
Hmmm, so maybe things didn’t quite work out that way — besides doing some acting in school, the closest I got was a little work as an extra. The hours on set were long and boring, and I was too practical to pursue acting beyond that.
Still, I love the movies. Pretty much any kind — documentaries, comedies, sci-fi, historical, zombies. Love ’em all. I love the escape and the magic, and that feeling of emerging as if from a dream as you step out of the theatre after a film. Everything is different somehow and a good film will linger with you for days, weeks, maybe all your life.
And so, of course I love film festivals.
Lucky for me and a lot of other people, every year for the last decade and a half, Powtown has been home to the Powell River Film Festival. Film festivals are so incredibly exciting because you get to see films you may not otherwise see, and the Powell River Film Festival does an exceptional job of screening local, Canadian, and international films.
Even better, there’s the Adventures in Film Camp and the 5-Minute Film Contest, both aimed at youth. It’s really impressive what the students produce under very tight time constraints. Powell River has such a wealth of natural, heritage, and haunted film locales, it’s hard not to be inspired though. Often surprising, sometimes hilarious and spooky, and always, always creative, the youth films are a highlight of the film fest.
When possible, I’ve bought a festival pass and watched every single film shown. I’ve taken vacation time to do it, ’cause that’s what film junkies do.
And then last year, I signed up to be a volunteer driver, providing transportation to students and three filmmakers from Vancouver. Ross and Maria Munro were screening their film “Broken Palace,” about the destruction of vintage movie houses, lost sisters to Powell River’s own Patricia Theatre. And Julia Kwan’s film “Everything Will Be,” is an insider’s view of Vancouver’s Chinatown and how it’s changing and threatened by development. Excellent films both and the time spent with Ross, Maria, and Julia was a treat. They even kept me up way past my bedtime at the Film Fest wind-up party. Crazy good fun with, dare I say, crazy good people.
Events like the Film Fest rely heavily on volunteers. Everything from ushers, to will-call attendants, to billet families, to drivers, like me and Bob! It literally takes an army to host an event like this.
This year, we were drivers once again, delivering food and providing transportation for students. You’d think we were members of the Hollywood elite by the reception we got when we arrived at the Rainbow Room. Bring food and you’re everyone’s new best friend.
And it brings to mind why Bob and I moved to Powell River. Back when we lived in Victoria, we didn’t have the time nor the energy for much more than work. We really felt like drones, plodding along through life when all we wanted was to be involved in our community and have adventures. So, one of the first things we did once we got settled in as new Powell River residents was to volunteer. And as a result, we’ve met a lot of great people while doing some good, worthwhile work.
So now, instead of marking our time in terms of work schedules, we’ve got a life more balanced. There’s work yes, but there’s also more time for friends and family, volunteering and other leisure activities, and still after all that, there’s even time to go to the movies. And I’m pretty sure that little girl who wanted to be a movie star would be good with that.
For more information on volunteer opportunities in Powell River, visit Powell River & District United Way.
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