Alyssa Amarshi: Her Tribal Roots

An Ambassador for the 2021 B.C. Culture Days, Alyssa Amarshi is an artist, creative director and activist for inclusivity in the arts. Through her collective, Her Tribal Roots, Amarshi is championing diversity and the importance of creating opportunities for artists from all walks of life, allowing them to express themselves without any barriers or discrimination. Her…

Ed Hill – asking the right questions through comedy

“What comedy brings is the ability to ask the right question. I don’t have the answers, I just have the stories, but I think people will find the answers through these stories,” says comedian Ed Hill. This year’s Vancouver Taiwan Festival will host live comedy for the first time as part of its programs. The…

Queer craving: a cinema of challenging narratives and stereotypes at VQFF

Anoushka Ratnarajah, artistic director of the 33rd Annual Vancouver Queer Film Festival, indicates that this year’s event can be a special place for learning and growth through experiencing art. She argues that because stories create profound opportunities for connection, it becomes important to have spaces for queer folks to experience that bond, to understand their…

Growing Pains: regular rules of childhood simply do not exist

A child going the opposite direction of their parents is not a new theme in storytelling, and Quebec filmmaker Miryam Bouchard draws from her own life experience with her debut film My Very Own Circus (Mon Cirque à Moi). My Very Own Circus, a French-language film with English subtitles, is one of many Canadian films…

Let’s go: Skoden Indigenous Film Festival

Carr Sappier, SFU School for the Contemporary Arts (SCA) film grad, says the Skoden Film Festival revolves around the Truth and Reconciliation Act but that there are also a variety of themes beyond that. “What is special about the Indigenous cinema is that there is no boundary, there is no such thing as genre; it…

Vancouver Short Film Festival celebrates immigrants’ stories

The 11th annual Vancouver Short Film Festival, dubbed “watching together, staying apart” this year, opens Jan. 22. There are 61 features to discover from emerging and established Canadian West Coast movie and animation artists. As is the Festival’s practice, several titles celebrate Vancouver’s diverse communities and the theme of identity. Frequently omitted in stories about…

What’s your 20 in 2020?

Perhaps there is no better phrase to capture the spirit of 2020 than “what’s your 20?” – a film industry vernacular meaning ”what is your location.” Expanding on the meaning of this special theme, the 24th Vancouver Asian Film Festival (VAFF) hopes to explore issues related to people’s physical and mental states while shedding light…

VSAFF – Good Hope – Inspiring South Africa’s next generation

After ten successful years, the Vancouver South African Film Festival (VSAFF) returns in a new format. Due to COVID-19 and to constraints around in-person gatherings, VSAFF has partnered with the Toronto South African Film Festival in 2020 to host one online event that spans across Canada. The renamed South African Film Festival runs Nov. 1–12,…

The Vancouver Fringe Festival goes virtual and more equitable

Rohit Chokhani, executive director of the Vancouver Fringe Festival, led the shift to all-virtual organizing while he was quarantined in India. He talks about the unexpected benefits of planning the theatre festival remotely, ongoing changes in response to the pandemic and how the festival is supporting its Black, Indigenous, and people of colour (BIPOC) artists…

A conversation on social justice at the Central Library

The Hate Speech, Freedom of Expression, and Transgender Human Rights speaking event by human rights lawyer, Adrienne Smith, was scheduled to take place at the Central library but is now posponed. Yet, here are their words. Working for others Smith, a Vancouver native, is a fixture in the transgender rights community and has been involved in many…

Decolonized voices: celebrating Canadian Black HERstories

Contributions through academic and artistic performance are celebrated at UBC’s Museum of Anthropology with the Black Canadian Women, a series with poetry, discussion and music for Black History Month (Feb. 6). “If they are reaching out to shift this paradigm of race and culture in this city, I’d love to be part of that support,”…

Skyborn: a land reclamation odyssey

The Cultch and PuSh International Performing Arts Festival present Skyborn: A Land Reclamation Odyssey, a world premiere by Musqueam playwright and performer Quelemia Sparrow. Produced by the Savage Society, performances will be held at the Historic Theatre, Jan. 23–Feb 1 and at the Gateway Theatre Studio B, in Richmond, March 19–28. The 90-minute long, no intermission,…