Penticton’s Snakebite Film Festival is hoping to draw audiences for a second a year.
Carl Meadows, one of the organizers of the four-day film festival kicking off Jan. 31, said each film’s objective is to reflect different facets of the community while being thought-provoking and evocative.
“The Snakebite is a variety of stories not told on the main screen, but that elevate stories of diversity. Our community has such diversity and that’s not something you’re always seeing reflected in the arts. Some of the films this year really mirror a lot of our community,” he said. “What I say about Snakebite is if you’re watching a movie and you don’t recoil, you’re probably dead.”
The festival has partnered with the Okanagan School of the Arts this year with proceeds going to ensuring the festival continues.
Last year, the festival was part of ArtsRising, but Meadows said with so much going on it “got lost” and attendance wasn’t as high as expected.
To ensure the festival is accessible as possible, free tickets are offered through an honour system for the underemployed or students. There will also be an American Sign Language interpreter at Saturday’s films.
First up, on Jan. 31, is Canadian short documentary, My Name Was January by filmmakers Lenee Son and Elina Gress.
The 25-minute doc features the life of a metro Vancouver trans woman of colour by the name of January. January Marie Lapuz was a 26-year-old woman who was stabbed multiple times in her Westminister apartment in September 2012 and later died in hospital.
Also playing Thursday night is Drunktowns Finest by U.S. filmmaker Sindey Freeland. The film follows the lives of three young First Nations people — an adopted girl, a young father-to-be and a trans woman who dreams of being a model — who are striving to escape the hardships of life on an Indian reservation.
“We hope people step back and think how does this relate to our Indigenous community in Penticton,” he said.
On Friday, Short Film by Maddison Tebbutt and Kimberly Billinton kicks things off. The 11-minute film explores the dark side of social media with a twist that sees one of the characters head into the forest for a night of partying and ends up walking into her own execution.
Alaska is a Drag by Shaz Bennett tells the story of a tough aspiring drag queen named Leo, who is stuck working in a fish cannery in Alaska. Leo and his twin sister are trapped in the monotony of fist fights and fish guts.
Saturday includes Hello Destroyer by Kevan Funk, following the life of a junior hockey player struggling to find reconciliation and a sense of identity after being seriously injured during an act of violence during a game.
The second film, When the Ocean Met the Sky by Canadian filmmaker Lukas Huffman, centres on three estranged brothers take a wilderness trek to get their inheritance. During the trek, they learn family secrets that change their lives.
On Sunday is Sgaawaay K’uuna (Edge of The Knife) by filmmaker Helen Haig-Brown. Set on the islands of Haida Gwaii, two extended families reconnect at their annual summer fishing camp. Conflict arises and a tragic incident.
Full festival passes are $40 or single night showings are $10 and can be bought through eventbrite.ca.
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