Just in front of the Oscars, Grand Forks’ No Boundaries Film Club will be screening the Traveling World Community Film Festival at the GFSS auditorium.
The festival opens on Friday, Feb. 26 with a 7 p.m. showing of Aina, which is directed by Dave Mossop and former Boundary resident Josh Thome. The festival continues on Saturday, Feb. 28 and wraps up on Sunday, March 1 with Landfill Harmonica, which is about a musical youth group from Paraguay who live next to one of South America’s largest landfills and play instruments made of garbage. The festival, which began in 2006, is the 11th annual for Grand Forks.
Board member Mary Ann Westaway said the festival is based out of Comox on Vancouver Island. Grand Forks is one of several different stops on the tour. Westway says the board goes through all the films and narrows it down to a select few for the festival. “We get together and sadly we have to eliminate some of the movies because of time constraints. Also we get input from some of our audience into the movies we choose,” she said. “They’ll send us a list of movies they want to see. They participate.”
Aina is a 23-minute short film about how some of the world’s largest chemical companies use the island of Kauai in Hawaii as an open-air testing ground for pesticides on genetically modified crops. The film highlights some of the pressing environmental and health crises facing the island of Kauai—and planet earth. The focus for the film is on solutions, as well as the beauty of the island and wisdom of Hawaiian culture. The film won the Grand Jury Prize at the Oregon Film Awards.
“We were really excited when we looked at the list and saw Josh Thome’s film there,” said Westaway. “Obviously, we chose Josh’s film. We’ve shown one of his films before. He’s much more well known now. So we’re going to open the film festival up with his film. We thought it just made sense. It’s a short film, only 20 minutes or so and we’ve paired with the film of Greenpeace (How to Change the World). So he’s in good company.”
Other highlights for the festival are How to Change the World (Friday, 7:35 p.m.), which is about the origins of the environmental activist group Greenpeace. The film won a Special Jury Award for editing at Sundance, as well as Food Chains (Saturday, 10:30 a.m.), which is about an intrepid group of Florida farmworkers battling against the global supermarket industry through their own program which partners with growers and retailers to improve working conditions for farm workers in the U.S.
Westaway says that many of the films are about having hope among despair; of underdogs rising up against the odds. “The movies are all very different,” she said. “There is a movie on traditional farming, First Nations history, impact of clothing on the environment. One of the ones that looks interesting (Facing Fear) is about a former neo-nazi skin head bumps into his gay victim who he beat up and almost killed. They ended up becoming friends and working together. That sounds really interesting. Circus Without Borders looks beautiful and really good.”
On hand at the school will be the Boundary Peace Initiative providing coffee and tea as well as serving borscht lunch on both Saturday and Sunday by donation. Tickets for the festival are only available at the door. The cost is $20 for a festival pass (half for low income) or $5 per session ($3 for low income). GFSS students get in for free.
Westaway added that if the club has leftover funds they will purchase DVDs of the films and donate them to the library. She said there are more than 20 films already at the library from previous festivals.