Culture festivals: exciting arts celebrated

BC Culture Days is back with a feast of choice to savor.

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British Columbia Culture Days 2021

When: 24 Sep 24 Oct 24


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Or: Various locations in person and online, different dates and times.

Tickets and info:culture

The 12th annual BC Culture Days is back for another month-long list of activities, from online virtual art exhibits focused on accessibility to online dance workshops. person and much more. This year’s theme is RE: IMAGINE, with an upbeat focus on emerging as a post-pandemic province celebrated through creative expression.

The recent news on the COVID-19 case may make it seem like you are looking at the photo through very pink glasses. But it is undeniable that the past 18 months have made the appreciation of artistic endeavor all the more meaningful.

Culture Days events across Canada all tackle public health recommendations head-on and steer events toward all different levels of personal COVID comfort. It was a lot of extra work on top of an already demanding event to present.


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“We have had a large percentage of in-person events registered this year and last year and the organizers are doing everything to adapt to changing guidelines and be flexible,” said Nazanin Shoja, BC program director. . “That’s part of the reason that Culture Days last year was extended from three days to one month, and we’ve had such positive feedback about it that it has continued. The event has become more inclusive with the dates extended so that other events that would not normally have been able to fit into the timeline can also register, so it’s a win-win across the board.

Nazanin Shoja is the program director of BC Culture Days.

There is no doubt that the three-day format of yesteryear has at times hampered the appreciation of the myriad of events and experiences available to audiences to participate in across the province. The portion of choice can sometimes seem as overwhelming as choosing what to put on your plate at an all-you-can-eat buffet. By extending the deadline, Culture Days becomes much easier to explore. There is a lot to savor.


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Shoja says the volume of artist submissions after the call for participants was exceptional this year. So much so that choosing the nine Culture Days ambassadors to set up projects around the festival was a challenge.

“We are looking for emerging artists to present projects around the general theme of Culture Days, targeting a variety of disciplines, activities and community engagement,” she said. “Finding community, bonding and inspiring creativity is key, and we really have a great group. We are very happy to see so much diversity among the nominees this year as well, with a large number representing marginalized communities and doing an incredible job within their own. “

From the Secwepemc Nation storyteller Thomas kenthen highlighting ancestral stories connecting the public to Earth, life and humanity to the Indo-Ismaili movement and the intermodal artist Alyssa amarshi sharing her liberating dance concepts with Its tribal roots Taiwanese-Canadian collective and artist, author and illustrator Jeni Chenof work promoting artistic expression among young people, the ambassadors are planning very fun projects.

Director of documentaries on the environment Carter Kirilenko has made the climate crisis and human health the work of his life. His first documentary, titled Your Palm, revealed the connection between Indonesia’s haze crisis and the domestic palm oil industry and was screened at festivals across North America. His latest film, Leuser: The Last Place on Earth, follows a dedicated team of rangers trying to protect the Leuser ecosystem in Sumatra, an area of ​​2.6 million hectares home to one of the most rainforest ecosystems. diverse in the world, but the least known. .


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The use of films to present scientific solutions to climate change is presented in the Climate Solutions Film Festival that Kirilenko will be the Culture Days commissioner. Among the topics he will likely address will be the challenges and frustrations that come with young people struggling to convince those who don’t care to consider future generations. He arrived in the cinema after having worked for the change of corporate structures that did not suit him.

“Every movie that I make, I try to start with a problem or problem that exists, define it, and then reverse engineer it to find the people who really solve the problem or who really move the problem forward,” Kirilenko said. “Sharing their stories can inspire others and expand understanding of the topic. There is enough catastrophic recognition around climate change and a tendency to drown you in data, facts and figures. I think it’s better to go beyond that and share the solutions that people can join or support.


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He doesn’t deny that showing the films he makes can be difficult. Unlike the men in tights who fight interdimensional invaders, the documentary market is limited, even more so for environmental-themed documentaries.

“I am happy that Leuser is broadcasting on the Water Bear Network, which is a video-on-demand platform where you can watch an assortment of climate-focused films that are reaching a global market, ”he said. “It’s a place where you can get inspired and really stand up for the movement to change the system when it comes to climate change and environmental issues. “

His emphasis on films shot in other countries where he lives has been greatly boosted by his involvement in Culture Days. Applying his method to stories in his own garden has proven to be inspirational, and he is eager to share with others.


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“My Climate Solutions Film Festival presents two short films,” he said. “One is about a gardener at the Strathcona Community Garden, drawing attention to the importance of food production in city centers and the other is called Salmon Parks and is looking at a program to protect wild salmon populations. led by three nations in Nuu. Chah-Nulth Territory in Nootka Sound. The aim is to show how this kind of program should be in the hands of local First Nations. Every time I make one of these movies it’s a learning process and a way to inspire others to seek out stories where they are as well. “

By focusing on diverse and representative events, Culture Days may very well be the catalyst that inspires yet unknown young creatives to RE: IMAGINE their own environments and stories, and share them with the rest of us. we.

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