Monday nights at the movies just got a bit more stimulating, thanks to the combined efforts of two local groups: Late and Unique Nighttime Alternatives (LUNA) and the Squamish Lil'Wat Cultural Centre (SLCC). LUNA's winter activities got off to a bit of a late start this year, but now, they're kicking things off in a big way, launching a regular outdoor movie night with the support of the SLCC.
While LUNA typically organizes the LUNAFliks outdoor film series each summer, LUNA's Coordinator, Kiran Pal-Pross, has wanted to organize a series that focuses more on political and social issues for a number of years. But they weren't able to make the idea a reality until LUNA recently joined forces with Cinema Politica, a non-profit, volunteer-run media arts project that coordinates political film screenings throughout Canada and other countries.
Unlike the full-length feature films LUNA screens during the summer months, Cinema Politica films are independent documentaries intended to provoke thoughtful dialogue about important issues. And because the outdoor movie screenings are open to all ages, not just young adults, Pal-Pross said they hope it will be an intergenerational discussion.
"These films shed light on Canadian and international issues that are underrepresented by world media. I hope that the screenings and discussions will empower the viewers to keep up the dialogue with their friends, family and co-workers beyond the event," Pal-Pross said. "It's important to talk about peace, freedom, environment and sustainable development. We're very lucky to live in Canada, and our citizens, especially our future leaders, should be able to protect those things."
The Monday night outdoor movie series will run until the end of April.
Gwen Baudish is the events coordinator for the SLCC. She explained that when LUNA approached them with the idea for the film series, she was quick to jump at the opportunity, as they had been looking for a way to show aboriginal films to audiences. Now, on the third Monday of each month, Cinema Politica will screen an Aboriginal-themed film and bring a guest speaker in to help lead the discussion afterwards.
On Monday, Feb. 16, they plan to screen Kiviaq vs. Canada, the story of Canada's first Inuit lawyer, with guest speaker Roland Rudkowsky of the Gwich'in Nation, who also happens to be a staff member of the cultural centre.
The SLCC also saw the movie series as a great way to introduce people to the centre, which opened for business last July.
"I hope it entices people to visit the cultural centre and helps to retain the value of our roots in the community," Baudish said.
Both Baudish and Pal-Pross were pleased with the turnout at the first screening, which took place on Monday, Feb. 2. More than 40 people showed up for the film, and afterwards, the discussion with Guy Patterson and Bob Deeks led to interesting thoughts about green building in Whistler.
"I think people left that room with a lot of good ideas," Baudish reflected.
This week, they plan to screen two films: Bevel Up: Drug Users and Outreach Nursing, and Carts of Darkness, with the help of Jackie Dickinson, a drug prevention and education worker, and Murray Siple, filmmaker and creator of Carts of Darkness.