Ryan Cashin of The Prodigal Dad.

Maple Ridge Festival of BC Film this weekend

The Act hosts event highlighting films created in B.C.

The Maple Ridge Festival of BC Film opened on Friday night at The ACT Arts Centre, with the feature film The Prodigal Dad and the short film No Reservations.

Opening night saw B.C. producers, directors, actors and supporters of the film industry come out to support the growing festival.

The ACT and The Ridge Film Studios, with the support of the City of Maple Ridge, are presenting the second edition of the festival, which is highlighting films created in B.C. There are more films scheduled Saturday and Sunday.

Maple Ridge’s own Talbot Twins, cinematographers Graham and Nelson, who had two films they worked on in this year’s festival – their first feature film Primary, which they shot in 2013, and Drone.

“It’s a good community thing,” said Graham of the festival, “and it can be tough to get your film seen by people.”

The Talbots are presently working on a documentary about a U.S. doctor who is getting Nobel Prize consideration for his work in cancer research.

Robert Wenzek, director of The Prodigal Dad, said the film was just finished in time for the Whistler Film Festival at the end of November. He enjoys the local flavour at the Maple Ridge festival.

“I love it. We were honoured to come – it’s all local B.C.,” he said. “To play a Lower Mainland venue is fantastic.”

Festival publicist Teresa Trovato noted Wenzek is also a film instructor at the Art Institute of Vancouver.

“He’s bringing up the next generation of film makers,” she said.

No Reservations producer Ben Mallin and writer/director Trevor Carroll were both on hand for the airing of their short film, which was entirely filmed in Maple Ridge. Mallin said he has shot numerous times in the city, on projects with Hallmark and Lifetime.

“We shoot literally right here,” he said, looking out the windows of The ACT to Memorial Peace Park.

“I’m thrilled with seeing something like this (festival).”

Debra Sears, the producer and an actress in Scattered, has visiting the Maple Ridge festival for the first time, and her film is also at the Nevada Women’s Film Festival this weekend.

“It seems like a lovely event,” she said of the local festival. “Nice focus on B.C. – it’s fantastic.”

“The Ridge Studios supports a talented and thriving local film community. We are very pleased to collaborate with The ACT Arts Centre and introduce these remarkable films to the public,” said The Ridge Studios’ John Wittmayer. “It’s important to create a strong Canadian film industry.”

Tickets are available online at www.theactmapleridge.org, by phone at 604.476.2787, or in person at The ACT Arts Centre at 11944 Haney Pl. Ticket prices range from $10 for single film and $50 for a festival pass.

The festival kicked off with an opening reception on Friday, and features a total of six shorts, four feature films, and one documentary over the course of three days. The lineup:

At 5 p.m. on Mar. 24, the 2014 thriller called Primary will be screened. Filmed in Vancouver, the feature film is about an insurance executive, seen simultaneously in the future and the present, who is betrayed and left penniless and who has to battle his friends to get his life back in order.

Following the feature will be The Prince, a 2017 short filmed in Vancouver about a young tap dancer names Olivia and her uncle Amir, an actor, who struggle with what it means to be Middle-Eastern Canadian in a racially divided world.

At 7:30 p.m., Drone, a 2017 drama/thriller filmed in West Vancouver, Langley and Mumbai, India, will be shown. It tells the story of a military drone contractor who meets an enigmatic Pakistani businessman that results in the collision of ideologies with fatal consequences.

Next will be the 2017 short film Cypher that was filmed in Burnaby and Vancouver. This story takes place in 1997 Los Angeles, where tensions still linger between the Korean-American and African American communities that came to a head during the 1992 riots. Jay, a Korean-American high school student, finds himself pulled into L.A.’s underground hip hop scene after an incident in his father’s restaurant.

On Mar. 25 at 5 p.m., Hello Destroyer, a full length 2017 feature filmed in Prince George and Vancouver, will be screened. This story is about a young hockey player whose life is turned upside down by an act of violence during a game. As he struggles to come to terms with what happened and the repercussions of the incident, his journey ends up illuminating systemic issues around violence in the sport.

The United Guys Network, a 2016 comedic short filmed in Vancouver, follows a newlywed man who is putting his neighbours to shame until the United Guys Network steps in to teach him how to be a ‘real’ husband.

The only documentary at the festival will be screened at Mar. 25, 7:30 p.m. and is called Primeval: Enter the Incomappleux. Award-winning documentary filmmaker Damien Gillis, in partnership with the Valhalla Wilderness Society, tells the story of the majesty, magic and endurance of one of the world’s last truly ancient inland temperate rainforests in the Selkirk Mountains.

The festival ends with two shorts. The first, called Send Us Smokes, is a 2017 fantasy filmed in New Westminster and Mission and is about a seven-year-old girl who tries to send a care package of cigarettes to her father serving on the front lines during the First World War.

When she finds out that they won’t be delivered to him she sets out on a fantastic adventure to get the package to him herself.

Finally, the 2017 comedic short called Scattered filmed in North Vancouver will be screened. It’s about two women who venture into the woods to scatter their friend’s ashes and fumble for a way to say goodbye.

Tickets to the festival range from $10 for singles and a festival pass is $50 and includes tickets to every film over the three-day event.

All films will be screened at the ACT Arts Centre, 11944 Haney Place in Maple Ridge.

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Maple Ridge cinematographers Nelson and Graham Talbot who worked on two films at the festival, Drone and Primary.

Robert Wenzek (second from left), the director of the Prodigal Dad which was the festival’s opening night film on Friday.

Debra Sears (right) the producer and actress in Scattered with the film’s writer Audrey Martin (left) and guest Lorene Stuart.

No Reservations short film writer and director Trevor Carroll and producer Ben Mallin. No Reservations short film writer and director Trevor Carroll and producer Ben Mallin.

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