For five years Nanaimo’s Hub City Cinema Society has been giving Vancouver Island filmmakers a place to screen their work at its annual one-day Cinema Showcase.
This year for the first time the event will span two days and feature more films that ever before. The rebranded Hub City Cinefest heads to Vancouver Island University’s Malaspina Theatre on Nov. 17 and 18.
“We have a really talented community of filmmakers here on the Island and this festival is a celebration of that and an opportunity to present this talent to our community,” said Zachary Tannar, Hub City Cinema Society executive director.
“This year it’s grown to the point where we decided, OK, we can do two nights and then we also had a couple local filmmakers who had just finished feature films, so we thought let’s also add those in as well. So that’s how it became this giant two-day actual full film festival.”
Tannar said he is certain that this year’s collection of films is the most diverse crop yet, featuring 31 films ranging from one-minute shorts to hour-and-a-half features. He said future plans for the festival may include an afternoon youth showcase composed of the work of filmmakers under the age of 19.
Unlike a conventional film festival, Cinefest was not open to submissions from around the world. Tannar described it as more of a “scouting process.”
“I’m very involved with the film community. I know pretty well all the filmmakers here, so I know what movies have been made and so it’s very simple for me to be like, ‘Alright we need to have this film,’ and so for the most part we have everyone’s film in the festival,” Tannar said.
He said one goal of this process is to encourage filmmakers to submit to other festivals so Hub City can make a bigger deal when the films come to Cinefest. An example of that is director John Gardiner’s film Reproductive Cycles, which was shown at the Vancouver Island Short Film Festival, Just For Laughs Northwest Festival in Vancouver, IndieFest in Kelowna and the Pacific Rim Film Festival in Victoria.
“Now we’re showing it in our festival and we can make some noise about that,” Tannar said.
Hub City’s Cinema Showcases have always been small, said Tannar, usually attracting around 100 attendees. He said this year, “We’re aiming to go big.”
“It was always quite small before, but this is a big step,” he said.
“With the smaller screenings it was very much the film community, the arts community, but this time we’re hoping to reach out and let all of Nanaimo and Vancouver Island know that, ‘Hey, [this is] what out filmmakers are doing and you should come and check it out.’”
WHAT’S ON … The Hub City Cinema Society’s inaugural Cinefest takes place at Malaspina Theatre at VIU on Friday, Nov. 17 and Saturday, Nov. 18. Individual tickets are $10 for the public, $5 for members and students. Festival passes are $30 for the public, $15 for members and students.