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New West Film Fest showcases variety of genres at this year’s in-person festival

In-person festival returns in 2021
New West Film fest
In Their Honour is one of the selections featured at the New West Film Fest 2021, running Oct. 22 to 24 at Landmark Cinemas 10 New Westminster.

The New West Film Fest is shining a spotlight on films from a variety of genres at its 10th festival – including some with close connections to New Westminster.

The 2021 New West Film Fest runs from Oct. 22 to 24 at Landmark Cinemas 10 New Westminster. Last year’s festival moved online because of the pandemic.

“The big news is that people can go in person. We are back at the Landmark. Last year it was virtual,” said Andree St. Martin, a member of the festival’s planning committee. “We were glad to have it virtual, but there is nothing, certainly for the filmmakers, like seeing their work up in a cinematic theatre, with the sound system, the screen size. There’s nothing that can compare with that.”

New West Film Fest 2021 is presenting 16 short films and seven feature films created in 2020 and 2021, as well as sessions where filmmakers and film-goers can discuss what goes on behind the scenes. Out of 117 submissions, organizers selected 23 films from around the world, including B.C., that share provocative, funny and meaningful stories. 

“We do have some very interesting and heartfelt stories, and opportunities to engage with the people who have created these works,” St. Martin said. “We have got such a diverse range of subjects – labour rights, creativity, the LGBTQA community rights, Indigenous experiences. It’s including animation, some documentaries and Sci-Fi.”

Full details about all of this year’s offerings and tickets are available at Although some films are already sold out, tickets may be available at the door because people who buy festival passes may not attend all screenings.

“We hope everyone will arrive at least five minutes before, and then we can still sell the seats that are empty,” St. Martin said. “We do a count and then we can sell the seats for people that are no-shows.”

Blue Hour and the opening night gala are sold out, but tickets are still available for Friday night’s showing of Placebo at 7 p.m.

Saturday’s lineup kicks off with a panel discussion with Emmy- and Gemini-nominated digital artist and a VFX supervisor Nick Boughen (director of education at CG Masters School of 3D Animation and VFX in New West), who will be sharing his knowledge of VFX (visual effects), what they are and how they are made. He will also be showing work from CG Masters’ alumni at his 1 p.m. talk.

Emergence: Out of the Shadows will be showing at 5 p.m., but it’s already sold out. The filmmaker received a grant from the City of New Westminster to make this film, and some filming took place on the city’s waterfront.

Swamper, a coming-of-age story, will be screened at 3 p.m. on Saturday, preceded by the short film, RKLSS.

On Saturday night, Ça Tourne À Saint-Pierre Et Miquelon, as well as the short film The Last Audition, will be shown at 7 p.m.

After Dark Shorts takes to the screen at 9 p.m. on Saturday.

“This year’s After Dark program will feature short films that caught our imagination, made us think, and maybe even made us a little more afraid of the dark,” said a New West Film Fest write-up about the short films, The Child With No Name, The Valravn, From The Interrogation Room, Green Thumb, Cayenne and Audionomie.

Sunday’s lineup includes the feature film, The Issue with Elvis, at 2 p.m. More short films – Janet, Baggage, Solstice d’un Cœur Brisé (A Broken Hearted Solstice), CooPURRation, Eddie Goes to Space, Cry Harder and iDorothy, as well as a question-and-answer session with creators of these local short films – is on Sunday at 4 p.m.

Closing out this year’s festival is a screening of In Their Honour, a film that pays tribute to three parents of young murder victims, including Ray King, whose son Ray King Jr. was murdered by a serial killer while they were living in New Westminster. It’s the passion project of Ben Doyle, who was born and raised in New West, who was inspired by those parents after the murder of his childhood friend, Angie Richards.

“It is a great honour indeed to be part of the upcoming New West Film Fest. Congratulations to all participants and the organizers, as I know a lot of work was required,” Doyle said in a statement to the Record. “New Westminster is not only my hometown, but also has a connection to each victim and story in the film. Angie Richards and Ray King Jr. were from New Westminster, and went to school here. The courthouse on Carnarvon Street is where trials were held in prosecution of the killers of Angie, Sian Simmonds and Kenny Turcotte. Those events alone are worthy of a film.”

St. Martin said some of the filmmakers will be attending the screenings at Landmark Cinemas.

“We thank everybody for supporting us through this. The support is very much appreciated for supporting young filmmakers. It’s so important,” she said. “Plus, when you support a movie-maker, you are supporting all the fine arts. The sets have to be painted. The music has to be written. The scripts have to be written. So you have all the fine arts all on the screen, and we really, really appreciate people’s support.”

Follow Theresa McManus on Twitter @TheresaMcManus