From the full house, to the celebration of a 99th birthday, and many of the protagonists being in the house, the first annual Cariboo Chilcotin Film Fest can be reeled in as a great success.
“Tihol and I were overwhelmed by the response,” says Krista Liebe, who spearheaded the event with her husband, Tihol Tiholov, who worked with Ken Marshall on the technical end to keep the films rolling.
“So many people, not quite sold out, but still packed,” Liebe said. “The atmosphere was great. It was what I had hoped for, a fest, a celebration of talents and sights of the Cariboo Chilcotin. It was a community affair.”
The film fest held Friday evening, March 10 at the Gibraltar Room featured two films showcasing local musical talents of Juno Award winners Pharis and Jason Romero and young rappers Beka Solo and Rich MacDonald.
Another little film created by five young students of local director Trevor Mack got its name during the eventing for its content which seemed to be saying Listen to Your Elders.
The Chilcotin Ark: A Photographer’s Journey by photographer Chris Harris with music by Ken Marshall, four short environmental films by Jeremy Williams, and the 1974 full-length film The Bears and I, that was filmed in the Chilcotin with many local actors, highlighted the beauty and natural resources of the Cariboo Chilcotin region and promoted the need to protect these resources for future generations.
Adding to the festive atmosphere the Museum of the Cariboo Chilcotin had a display of various vintage and antique items and asked people it they could identify their use.
Authors Harris, Judy Alsagar and Sage Birchwater also had books for sale, and each author threw the “mushy heart” out to the audience to give one of their books away as a door prize.
During the break volunteers brought out a cake and the crowd sang happy birthday to Ruth Lord, a life member of the Williams Lake Film Club, who celebrated her 99th birthday on Feb. 27.
“She told me afterward that she should have put me over her knees for pulling this surprise stunt without her knowledge,” Liebe says. “But if I would have told her she would not have come.”
Adding to the fun, Liebe made copies of pictures she has taken of people and places in the region over the years and posted them on the doors. At the end of the evening people were invited to take home pictures they saw of themselves.
The Williams Lake Film Club sponsored the film festival and uses funds it raises to hire tutors to assist students with learning disabilities. The tutoring takes place at the Cariboo Chilcotin Child Development Centre.
After expenses, Liebe says the film club will definitely have the funds to cover the cost of tutors and office expenses until the summer.
But Liebe adds there is a shortage of tutors to meet the needs of all the students who need help with their studies.
“We desperately are looking for tutors, preferable with teaching experience,” Liebe says.
People interested in tutoring can reach Liebe at 250-398-9149.
Liebe says the only disappointment in the evening was learning the next day that the washrooms adjacent to the Gibraltar Room had been locked at 10 p.m., an hour before the festival ended.
But most of all she said she will remember the excitement and all the smiling, happy faces.
“Oh yes, we will do it again next year.”