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Victoria Film Festival brings magical escape through cinema

10-day festival kicks off on Friday and includes 86 features, about 20 shorts

Movie lovers, film buffs and anyone looking to be swept away in the cinema can attend the Victoria Film Festival starting Friday.

The 10-day festival will see 86 feature films and about 20 shorts screened across the city, both in-person and online, from Feb. 4 to 13.

“Watching in the theatre sets up this kind of magical escape,” said Kathy Kay, the festival’s director. “It takes you into another world and I think it takes you away from some of your worries and concerns.”

The Danish film Wild Man, where middle-aged Martin leaves civilization to live as a Viking in the woods, will open the festival Friday evening.

“There’s compassion but there’s just so much acknowledgement of what society is like,” Kay said. “It’s just so funny, I just love it to death.”

Even though theatres are limited to half capacity, the festival gets to return to in-person screenings this year after the pandemic forced the entire event online last year.

“We feel that’s an important piece of feeling like you’re at a film festival, to experience the movies in-person at a theatre,” Kay said. “We wanted to get back to that.”

Victoria Film Festival organizers realize some people might not be comfortable with in-person events, so most of the films can also be streamed online.

On Sunday, a live talk with Emmy-winner Tom Skerritt will precede a showing of East Of The Mountains. The film follows Skerrit, the lead, playing a retired heart surgeon who decides against telling his daughter about his terminal cancer diagnosis and opts instead to make one last journey to his childhood stomping grounds in Washington State.

READ: Tom Skerritt—live!

From Feb. 7 to 10, a section called Cinema Onboard will show a series of short films from a whale-watching boat, located at 812 Wharf St. The Inner-Harbour location will also host a talk on augmented reality aboard the boat on Feb. 9.

Ticket sales have been a little quiet so far, but Kay is hopeful as she spoke with counterparts from the Vancouver International Film Festival who said they experienced the same thing recently, but the festival popped off once the event got underway.

“We’re always hoping people will love the cinema as much as we do,” Kay said.

One of her favourites in the lineup this year is the documentary Twinkle Dammit!

”If you’re down in the dumps, this is the film for you,” the festival director said.

The wide array of Canadian and foreign works represent every genre, but Kay said they all give a “wonderful insight into the world.”

More information and show tickets can be found

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Jake Romphf

About the Author: Jake Romphf

In early 2021, I made the move from the Great Lakes to Greater Victoria with the aim of experiencing more of the country I report on.
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