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Organizers hope 2023 New West Film Fest can create 'meaningful discussions'

There are 44 films, shorts and documentaries are on the marquee for the annual event at Landmark Cinemas in New Westminster.
getty images movie night
The 2023 New West Film Fest is set to feature six shots and four documentaries Oct. 20 to 22 at Landmark Cinemas. | Getty Images

The New West Film Fest is featuring a series of diverse stories for 2023, organizers say, who are also hoping the screenings can lead to impactful and life-changing conversations.

Themes of BIPOC and Queer community struggles, as well as the day-to-day lives of disabled and neurodiverse people have inspired 44 films on the annual independent event's slate that begins Friday, Oct. 20.

"The New West Film Festival is not only bringing international and local cinema to New Westminster, but also addressing important societal issues and fostering a sense of community engagement," said spokesperson Tara Shushtarian in a statement to the Record

"Attendees have the opportunity to explore a wide range of films and participate in meaningful discussions."

The film fest will have 10 screenings over three days, including shorts and documentaries, comedies, dramas and thrillers

In addition to New Westminster- Lower Mainland-, and Canada-based productions, countries represented are the United States, Iran, Australia, Botswana and France.

The New West Film Fest takes place Oct. 20 to 22 at Landmark Cinemas — located SkyTrain level at 390-800 Carnarvon St.

For more information, you can visit the event's website.

Featured films

Oct. 20, 7 p.m.

When Hope Breaks Through / Lanterns Flicker = Oct. 20, 7 p.m.

  • From award-winning director Matthew Wagner comes When Hope Breaks Through, the inspiring story of Mike Shoreman, a disabled paddleboarder who attempts to become the first person with disabilities to cross all five Great Lakes. Shown with short documentary Lanterns Flicker, directed by Yoni Collins. A Canadian veteran who served in Afghanistan turns to music to help him in his battle with PTSD and to raise awareness of veteran suicide and mental health.

Oct. 21, 12 to 2 p.m.

Social Justice At High Noon: The Work for Change

  • Hate Can Kill director Imtiaz Popat looks at the community response to the murder of Nirmal Singh Gill, a caretaker at the Guru Nanak Gurudwara in Surrey, B.C. by five white supremacist skinheads in 1998. Tied to a Lie is Mia Golden's powerful documentary short looking at the impact of sexual exploitation, sex trafficking and gang recruitment on today's youth.

Oct. 21, 2 to 3 p.m.

Short Takes On Navigating The Way

  • Life's most challenging experiences of grief, trauma, and tragedy, as well as forgiveness, grace and hope. Afterimage, Directors Robyn MacIntosh, Serin Chun; Portmore Park, director Ezra King; Archipeligo, director Clayton Moss; Two One Two, director Shira Avni; Cherry Blossoms In March, director Riley Rheyan; For Them That Prey, director Mmakgosi Anita Tau; The Last Judgment of Dogbone, Saskatchewan, director Joel Brandt; A Beautiful Peace, director Mia Golden

Oct. 21, 5 p.m.

Kim's Video

  • Kim's Video, directors Ashley Sabin, David Redmon. Playing with the forms and tropes of various cinema genres, the filmmaker sets off on a quest to find a legendary lost video collection of 55,000 movies in Sicily.

Oct. 21, 7 to 9 p.m.

Short Takes on Toil / Trouble

  • Zombies, Horror, Twists, Turns, Human Struggles, The Unknown, Oh My… Toadal Take-back: Road to Hoppiness, director Celina Doubleday; Wish Me Luck, director Ezra King; Vale, directors Kyle Brewis, Josh Klaassen; The Plastic Soldier, director Manolo Queijeiro; This Modern Love, director Tyrel Lougheed; Choose Your Death, director Peta Huang; Somewhere to Stay, director Amirhossein Hatami; Beware of D..., director Warren Dean Fulton; The Housekeeper, director Marc De Vinci; Sincopat, director Pol Diggler

Oct. 21, 9:30 to 11 p.m.

tOuch, directed by Todd "Max" Carey

  • A documentary film journey into the secret world of pleasure, pain, and power. Told through the interweaving of four main stories; Grace, an all-American soccer mom, learns to "Awaken the Goddess" inside her as she makes her nervous first foray into the realm of being a Dominatrix. Mistress Evilyne, a British Dominatrix on a cultural mission, is outed to the tabloid press and harassed by the British establishment. Robin, the fearless Kinkster and good old boy from Texas, who just happens to be a slave and property of a Dominatrix. January Seraph, the mercurial muse, guide, and inspiration behind understanding the secret power that all possess, but few truly realize, is revealed to those brave enough to "tOuch Kink”. Director Biography - Todd "Max" Carey is a first-time, Queer+ identifying director based in Montreal. "Throughout my life, I've had the privilege of wandering, working, and living in 137 countries over the past 30 years, collecting experiences along the way."

Oct. 22, 12 to 2 p.m.

Social Justice At High Noon: On The Water’s Edge

  • Neighborhood, director Jack Cochran, Pamela Falkenberg; Canoe Connections, director Reeva Billy; Belle River, directors Guillaume Fournier, Samuel Matteau, Yannick Nolin; Water In the Desert, director Andie Madsen; Imalirijit, director Vincent L'Hérault, Tim Anaviapik Soucie

Oct. 22, 2 p.m.

Short Takes On Life With Laughter

  • Life Can Be Both Funny Peculiar And Funny Ha Ha Gustov, director Warren Dean Fulton; The Father, The Son and The Rav Kalmenson, director Dayan D. OUALID; The Rose, director Talon Boggess; Don't Pick Up, director Melanie Kaklamanis; Love Tap, director Josh Cromarty-Bradford; If Walls Could Talk, director Aleisha Anderson

Oct. 22, 5 to 7 p.m.

Short Takes On Being Human

  • Identity, Life Choices, Grief, Grace, and Breaking Through Len and His Spitfire, director Noelle Duddridge; The Line (La ligne), director Myriam Guérin; Confluence, directors ETA, Shanhuan Manton; Running Cables In the Dark, director Noah Penner; Water Roots, director Meng Li; Pass, director Elika Abdollahi; For Roy, director Vivian Cheung

Oct. 22, 7:30 to 9 p.m.

Only Roundup Remains / The Wild Goose

  • In central Montana, the Highwood Cattle Roundup has been happening exactly this same way since 1912. As the world changes and modernizes, this proud iconic American culture struggles to preserve its way of life. Through the perspective of an aging father, his two sons, and their extended family of Montana cowboys, Only Roundup Remains provides a rare and intimate glimpse into the disappearing lifestyle of proud generational ranching families, their tradition, hard work, honor, and what might be their final roundup. BRIAN LIU (director / cinematographer) has over 25 years of experience as an independent filmmaker, photojournalist, designer and art director. His documentary film works have been sociological explorations, frequently focused on subculture, humanitarian work, and live music. Brian is the founder/creative director of ToolboxDC, an award winning creative agency in Washington, D.C. With animated musical short, The Wild Goose.