New West Film Fest brings the world to New Westminster

The New West Film Fest invites community members to enjoy a diverse and inspiring lineup of films at this year’s festival.

The film festival takes place from Friday, Oct. 19 to Sunday, Oct. 21 at Landmark Cinemas in New West. The festival’s board of directors and volunteers have put a lot of time of preparing for the event and pre-screening more than 3,000 submission from over 80 countries.

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“What we are looking to do is be the filmmakers’ film festival,” said programmer Craig Hopkins. “Previously, I produced short films and been on the other side of the film festival process. What I found was it was difficult to get in, especially for Canadian festivals, and it was expensive. This year we have reduced submission fees to zero dollars. That increased our submissions to over 3,000.”

By allowing filmmakers to submit films at no cost, organizers believe it opens the door to people in places who may not have access to funds to reach out and apply to be in the festival.

“I think we are putting New Westminster on the map,” Hopkins said. “I am really excited about that.”

The New West Film Fest kicks off on Friday, Oct. 19 with Talk!, a documentary by local filmmaker George Orr about talk radio in New West. Opening night also includes guest speakers and a post-screening party.

“We’re excited to share a new uniquely New Westminster film with our audiences,” Hopkins said of Talk! “This is a piece of the New Westminster story that needs to be shared.”

Saturday’s lineup includes Truth Detectives, a documentary about how new technological developments are helping to bring to justice those who violence human rights, as well as Detainee X, a drama about a Muslim-American teenager who is unlawfully arrested and taken to a secret prison where he is tortured for information on a pending terrorist attack he claims to know nothing about.

“It’s definitely not one to bring the kids to,” Hopkins said. “It’s an important film. It feels very current.”

The short film showcase, featuring local and international films, returns by popular demand on Sunday, Oct. 21. Filmmakers have been invited to attend the screening, which will be followed by a Q&A.

Being Rachel, a Canadian documentary about youth with developmental disabilities who are struggling to mount a play about their lives, closes the festival.

“It’s a powerful film. It’s an excellent film,” Hopkins said. “We are really proud to be showing this film.”

For more information and tickets, visit

The crew at the New West Film Fest is hard at work on this year’s film – and already looking forward to next year’s event.

“Next year is going to be our 10th anniversary,” said Chris Dabrowski, a director with the New West Film Fest. “We are really going to try and put on a really good show.”

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