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These 42 films are set to bring the New West community even closer

It’s time to give Netflix a break, and watch a curated collection of movies at the 12th New West Film Festival.
Citizen of Moria copy
Citizen of Moria, a story about a Afghan refugee, is one of the films that will be screened at the 12th Annual New West Film Festival, Oct. 21 to 23.

Ever found yourself full of questions after watching a documentary? What if you had a chance to discuss your thoughts with the exact people who created the movie? New West Film Festival 2022 will provide an avenue for just that. 

At the festival, set to happen between Oct. 21 and 23 at Landmark Cinema, the audience will be able to watch the documentary Love in the time of Fentanyl, and then direct their questions to the film's crew. 

Said Cathy Sostad, programmer of the festival this year, “This is going to be a community event to discuss local issues; and a safe space for people to gather and build community.”

In fact, this year, the festival has also added a ‘social-gathering’ session for a couple of movies just to help filmmakers build their network.

In the past 11 years, the festival, organized by the non-profit New West Film Society, has evolved from one that featured only environmental documentaries (“films about climate action and the environment”) to one that includes features and short films, including experimental, horror, Sci Fi, animation, comedy, drama, and more. 

“It began as a way to bring awareness to the New Westminster community about environmental issues, and then expanded,” said Sostad, who joined the film society two years ago.

Besides the topic of environmental activism, the festival includes films about other issues too — but ultimately, added Sostad, "it's all connected to building a better planet and community.”  

This year, the society received as many as 154 entries (77 were from Canada, seven films from/set in New Westminster) from 22 countries. Forty two of them will be shown at the three-day fest — these include titles such Paper Dreams, an Iranian movie about how a boy deals with being an Albino; Citizen of Moria, a Canadian movie that explores the story of a refugee who survives Europe’s detention camp, Moria; and Fragile Seeds, a Canadian thriller that follows the life of a therapist working with sex offenders, among others. 

While the subjects seem diverse, they all, said Sostad, have one thing in common — they were completed during the pandemic. “I think it's really stunning that people made art through a global pandemic. That's a beautiful thing.” 

And recognizing that people continued to build community though the art of film, the festival's theme was decided as "coming together through creativity," as per a press release. 

From the comedy The Noise of Engines, to a thought-provoking Feeling the Apocalypse (a short documentary about a psychotherapist's struggle with climate anxiety), the festival will include a range of genres that, Sostad said, can get a viewer excited —“You're like, ‘I would never have thought of that story’. And that is so exciting. That’s what celebrating creativity is about. Seeing things that are just not in your spectrum… it's a sharing of ideas.”

You can buy a New West Film Festival pass for $50, or buy tickets for each movie separately from the New West Film Fest website. The screening of Love in the Time of Fentanyl and a panel discussion on The Truth, The Whole Truth, & Nothing But the Truth: Creative Equity & Authenticity is free for all to attend. The films will be screened at Landmark Cinemas (New Westminster SkyTrain station, SkyTrain Level 390, 800 Carnarvon St.).