January 22nd, 2021

International Film Festival celebrating 35 years

By Sulz, Dave on March 7, 2020.

Dave Sulz

lethbridge herald


Another strong lineup of films from near and far will be featured when the Lethbridge International Film Festival returns for its milestone 35th year next week.

The festival originated with a former organization called the World Citizen Centre, whose mandate included educating the public about the developing world. This year’s festival lineup will do just that on several different fronts.

Headlining the event which starts Monday at the Lethbridge Public Library is “Honeyland,” which was nominated for two Academy Awards – Best Documentary Feature and Best International Feature Film. Set in northern Macedonia, the film tells the story of how one of the last female bee-hunters is losing her livelihood to a newer way of making money from honey.

“Honeyland” was a triple award winner at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival, said Carol Darmody, vice-president of the Lethbridge International Film Festival Society board.

“It’s a unique film and I think it will draw people,” Darmody noted, adding it took three years to film.

“Honeyland” is scheduled to be screened March 11 at 6:30 p.m. in the library’s Theatre Gallery, and will be followed the next night by “Need To Grow,” which highlights cutting-edge techniques used in Montana to localize sustainable food systems and regenerate Earth’s dying soils. The film will be presented by Montanan Michael Smith, the principle character in the film.

“He’s doing exciting things with biochar and aqua algae,” said Darmody.

Kicking off the festival on Monday at 6:30 p.m. is “Intent to Destroy,” a film about the Armenian genocide. “Netizens,” a film dealing with the fight against online harassment, unpoliced misogyny, cyberstalking and pornography,” is up Tuesday at the same time.

The festival will also feature “The Whale and the Raven,” which will be shown Friday at 6:30 p.m., and deals with the impact on wildlife and a pristine environment in northwest B.C. by the impending arrival of a natural gas export plant. The festival wraps up March 14 starting at 2 p.m. with two short films, “Guardians of the Grasslands” and “Avian Summer, both of which are set in southern Alberta. The first, filmed on the Waldron Ranch Grazing Co-operative near Longview, deals with the role cattle play in preserving the Great Plains Grasslands. The second film, by local filmmaker Rick Andrews, looks at a variety of migratory birds that fly into southern Alberta each spring, find a mate and raise the next generation before flying south again in the fall.

Admission to the festival is free but donations are gratefully received.

Most of the films will be followed by an audience discussion led by a knowledgeable discussant.

Darmody, a festival volunteer since returning to Lethbridge from Vancouver in 2006, relishes being part of the effort to bring films to local residents that entertain as well as educate.

“It’s been rewarding as a volunteer,” she noted. “I get to see these interesting movies.”

Bringing in the high-quality films organizers strive for is an increasing challenge these days, but “it’s exciting when it comes together,” said Darmody.

More information and the complete lineup of films is available online at liffs.org.

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