by Kimberly, Johnston, Tofino
A tenth anniversary is a great occasion for change. In its tenth year, the Tofino Film Festival is under new leadership.
Festival founder Joe James has hired coordinators KK Hodder and Dawn Batenchuk to organise this year's event. James had been living in Florida the past few years and now in Vancouver, and the logistics of organising a festival became difficult. Hodder says, "He's giving the festival back to the community of Tofino allowing it to be more grassroots. But he's still very much involved in the organisation of the festival." Hodder is excited to be a part of the process. "I was really flattered when he asked me, but I also love film and I love to be involved in the community." Batenchuk is equally excited; and their combined energy is giving birth to a very creative film line-up. Both women have innovative ideas for the festival: panel discussions, director/actor guest appearances, and an art show.
Though the films will magically appear before Tofino's eyes; the business of acquiring these films is no small affair. Film rights are often too expensive, or have been otherwise allocated to other venues. Some films may still be on 35mm which is not viable for community theatres: Hodder tried to procure a film which would only be available on dvd shortly after Tofino's festival was over. Fortunately, the challenges were met with great results.
Last month's film festival fundraiser was a huge success. The event was made possible by the support of Tofino's local businesses and community support. "I was continually surprised by local generosity and kindness," says Hodder. The fundraiser was significant because it generated much needed revenue for the festival. "We are in the process of applying for non-profit status so that we'll be eligible for grants, but the grants won't kick-in until next year. This year we were entirely dependant on local sponsorship, donations, and fundraising." All funds raised by the festival will be funnelled back into The Tofino Film Festival Society. The organisers say it's important for the account to grow so that they can add to the community theatre.
With the fundraiser over and only 10 days to go, Batenchuk and Hodder are able to put more focus on the upcoming films. "They are fiery," says Hodder. The films are provocative and moving; sure to generate a lot of interest. "I think it's a good opportunity for people here to see the same films that are in international competitions. We are bringing in films that have won awards in L.A., Vancouver, and Toronto. Even though our festival is smaller, the films are just as good." Hodder is careful not to appear pedantic. "I don't want to sound as if we are trying to educate the people of Tofino. The whole time I am watching the films I am thinking, 'What drives people in Tofino? What interests us?' Hodder promises that there is something for everyone in this year's festival. "We have worked really hard to bring in films that are relevant."
Visit the Tofino Film Festival page in our Tofino festival section for more information or visit www.tofinofilmfestival.com
Tofino film festival 2007 - now in it's 10th year, the Tofino film festival takes place from October 11-14, 2007 this year. Events take place at the Clayoquot Community Theatre in Tofino.