RMR marketing director Ashley Tait joins Friends of Mount Revelstoke and Glacier executive director Neills Kristensen at the Roxy Theatre to announce the grand prize winner of the Revelstoke Mountain Roots Film Festival on Feb. 13

RMR marketing director Ashley Tait joins Friends of Mount Revelstoke and Glacier executive director Neills Kristensen at the Roxy Theatre to announce the grand prize winner of the Revelstoke Mountain Roots Film Festival on Feb. 13

Fold and Unfold wins grand prize at Mountain Roots film fest

Fold and Unfold, directed by Rob Buchanan (Parks Canada) and Francois Desrosiers, won the grand prize at the first Revelstoke Mountain Roots Film Festival on Feb. 13.

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Fold and Unfold, directed by Rob Buchanan (Parks Canada) and Francois Desrosiers, won the grand prize at the first Revelstoke Mountain Roots Film Festival on Feb. 13.

The film chronicled community efforts to fold over 17,000 paper cranes to commemorate the victims of the 1910 Rogers Pass avalanche disaster.

The festival was hosted by The Friends of Mount Revelstoke and Glacier.

“Filmmakers from around Canada showcased mountain culture, adventure and life. Strong community support made for a great first year and we look forward to next year!” Neills Kristensen, Executive Director of the Friends and Festival Coordinator. “We promised a great festival and we delivered. I think everyone will be inspired to start creating films.”

Kristensen said the first event was a learning experience, and that the Friends had identified many ways to build on the festival next year. He listed big items, like getting planning going earlier on, and networking with local film talent. He also pointed to smaller details, like calling the final show a “best of the fest” instead of an awards gala — a word he felt might have thrown some off. He’s also working on ways to include the sponsors more in the show.

On the up side, Kristensen says he was “amazed” at the level of talent out there, and especially the hidden talent. Local film enthusiasts would’ve recognized a name like grand prize co-winner Francois Desrosiers, but there were many more unknown talents amongst the newcomer crowd, and many more budding amateurs.

The award winners include the following:

Best Feature-length Mountain Culture Film: 2 Frogs in the West directed by Dany Papineau

Best Professional Film: La Vie de Guy Lacelle directed by Alex Lavigne

Best Short Mountain Culture Film: Our Bus directed by JoAnne Alaric

Best Novice Film: Squatter Man directed by Glen Kaleka

Best Youth Film: Stopping to Smell the Glacier Lilies directed by Alex Burr, Parks Canada

Best Short Film: Extreme Tobogganing directed by Florina Beglinger

People’s choice Film: Our Bus directed by Joanne Alaric

Jury Special Mention:

The Fallen Feather directed by Randy Bezeau & Jannica Hoskins

Flying Without Wings directed by Rob Buchanan, Parks Canada

All Things Go directed by Kaleb Weston & Cam Kaegi

Some brief reviews and links to the films

I got a chance to take in two of the showings over the weekend. Here’s my brief impressions of the films, as well as links to the ones that I could find online. If I missed your link, please let me know.

Festival grand prize winner, Fold and Unfold, directed by Rob Buchanan and Francois Desrosiers

The film was one of two in the festival chronicling 1910 Rogers Pass avalanche disaster centennial commemorations in 2010. This local documentary blended an earlier promotional video encouraging residents to fold Japanese paper cranes for the event with documentary footage from the ceremonies.

Ever read a novel based in your hometown, or seen a movie filmed near home? Watching this documentary gave you that same feeling: lots of familiar faces and places, and a nice summary of the 1910 avalanche memorial events.

Best Feature-length Mountain Culture Film: 2 Frogs in the West directed by Dany Papineau

This feature-length drama followed Quebec transplants in Whistler as they worked their way through experiences in their new world. I’ll admit I missed about half of the movie while out in the lobby talking with Neills — because of a looming deadline, not because it wasn’t interesting. The Whistler youth rite-of-passage/ski bum experience is well documented. They’ve had an MTV reality series (Peak Season) and a fictional TV series (Whistler) that explores the lives of its residents and seasonal visitors. 2 Frogs in the West puts a Quebec spin on the experience by following a newcomer as she makes here way through the season, including the many predictable hurdles — employment, housing — that they face. Revelstoke continues to establish itself as a winter ski resort, and at least has plans for some of the lifestyle downsides that entry-level service employees will face, such as a lack of housing driving renters into slumlord-run substandard housing (main character lives in a closet), employment woes (exploitative employers) and other issues.

If you don’t leave Revelstoke with good things to say about the snow, then clearly you’ve got a problem. But what about those who are leaving here with bad things to say about their experiences in town? This film made me wonder what the seasonal employees will be telling their friends about Revelstoke when they get home.

Don’t get me wrong — this is a feature-length drama with some adult themes. For me though, it served as a reminder we should be refocusing work on these issues, ones that factored so prominently in planning for a resort, but haven’t seemed to occupy a lot of focus from the city in recent years.

Best Professional Film: La Vie de Guy Lacelle directed by Alex Lavigne

For me, the message of this short documentary was clear. Guy Lacelle may have been notable for his superhuman feats as an ice climber, but he’ll be remembered for the way he lived his life and the path he forged as a human being, or as it’s put in the film, he’s “a perfect role model of how to be real.”

The documentary was made by local Alex Lavigne, as is certainly worth checking out.

“La vie de Guy Lacelle” Official Trailer from chris Alstrin on Vimeo.

Best Short Mountain Culture Film: Our Bus directed by JoAnne Alaric

JoAnne Alaric’s short Our Bus chronicles the roughly three-hour round school bus trip students do on a daily basis between Edgewood, B.C. and Nakusp. The short is slowly-paced and features lots of carefully-composed still videography. The storytelling is slow and rhythmic, driven by the characters’ voices. It’s a nice portrait of the students’ lives as we experience their rituals, hierarchies and personalities. It does a good job of framing a story that could easily have been overlooked. Overall, Our Bus matches the rhythms of the subject matter and the composition.

Best Novice Film: Squatter Man directed by Glen Kaleka

A friend of mine hates the mockumentary TV series Trailer Park Boys, and he really hates the film FUBAR. I figure his dislike arises from his upbringing — the characters and themes cut too close to the bone for him.

I had a similar reaction watching Squatter Man, probably because I spent a cold, wet few days camping in Tofino in the fall a couple of years ago and still feel that damp chill. Watching the protagonist squat through the cold and wet in Tofino made me feel cold again.

Squatter man is a light comedy, and certainly got the most laughs of the shorts I saw at the festival. Although it’s set in Tofino, it was made by Revelstoke resident Glen Kaleka.

Best Youth Film: Stopping to Smell the Glacier Lilies directed by Alex Burr, Parks Canada

Alex Burr spent a summer doing an internship with Parks Canada, and produced this documentary work exploring some of the personalities behind the work and experiences available in Glacier National Park.

The short is a tightly-scripted, well-shot exploration to some of the storylines behind to monumental vistas of the park.

Best Short Film: Extreme Tobogganing directed by Florina Beglinger

A fun look at tobogganing on traditional Swiss sleds, and a poke in the ribs at those who take themselves and their winter pastimes a little too seriously for their own good. This one was also a crowd pleaser, getting lots of laughs.

People’s choice Film: Our Bus directed by Joanne Alaric

See above.