2023/24 Best of the Fests

SWAN SONG

Wednesday November 15th at 7:30 pm at ArtSpring

Following a sensational 1971 debut in Swan Lake, Karen Kain was promoted to Principal Dancer of the National Ballet of Canada, achieving international fame as one of the great classical dancers of her era.

Named Best Canadian Documentary at the Calgary International Film Festival, SWAN SONG immerses viewers behind the scenes as Kain directs a legacy-defining 2022 production of Swan Lake on the eve of her retirement as Artistic Director, after a two-year pandemic delay.

With an intimate, character-driven approach, filmmakers Chelsea McMullan & Sean O’Neill closely follows Kain and a dedicated group of young ballerinas, interweaving the dramatic creation process with scenes from their personal lives, through challenging setbacks, creative conflicts and devastating injuries.

Contentious racial politics and a pointed push for equity are deftly explored, as some of the strongest emerging ballerinas are young women of colour, challenging ballet’s Eurocentric ideals of beauty, perfection and conformity.

THE ROAD TO PATAGONIA

Wednesday November 29th at 7:30 pm at ArtSpring

Join handsome and adventurous Australian Matty Hannon on what begins as an incredible solo challenge, to surf the entire West Coast of the Americas, traveling 50,000 km by motorcycle from the top of Alaska to the tip of Tierra del Fuego.

When Hannon’s audacious plans unexpectedly fall apart right here in BC, he meets the woman of his dreams, Heather Hillier, who throws caution to the wind, sells her home, buys a motorcycle of her own and follows Hannon south.

Meeting Zapatista rebels and learning from the wisdom of Amazonian shamans and Mapuche leaders, Hannon & Hillier opt to reduce their carbon footprint by continuing through South America with their surfboards on horseback.

Experience the romantic adventure of a lifetime from the comfort of your theatre seat with the International Premiere of this award-winning, uplifting and visually stunning celebration of how our love for the people we happen to meet on life’s journey can inspire and inform our love for the planet we all share.

THE LAST WALTZ

Wednesday December 6 at 7:30 pm at ArtSpring

Don’t miss this very rare opportunity to see the greatest concert film of all time on the big screen, now with HD video quality and remastered 5.1 audio!

On the 45th anniversary of Martin Scorsese’s 1978 masterpiece of music cinema, THE LAST WALTZ is being re-released across Canada to celebrate the life of the legendary Robbie Robertson, who died in August at the age of 80.

Widely considered one of the greatest bands of all time, The Band called it quits with a lavish farewell show at San Francisco’s Winterland Ballroom on Nov. 25, 1976.

Captured for posterity by László Kovács & Vilmos Zsigmond using 7 cameras, this intimate & immersively cinematic experience features standout performances by such music legends as Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Van Morrison, Emmylou Harris, Ringo Starr, Eric Clapton, Neil Diamond, the Staples Singers & Muddy Waters, as well as interviews tracing The Band’s history, substance use and the challenges of life on the road.

Co-presented by Gulf Islands Radio.

PHYSICIAN, HEAL THYSELF

Wednesday, January 24th, at 7:30 pm at ArtSpring

One of the world’s most influential thinkers on trauma, addiction and mental health, Dr. Gabor Maté is widely admired as the author of such bestsellers as In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts, The Myth of Normal and When the Body Says No.

In this engaging and painfully honest review of his life’s work, Dr. Maté shares not only his professional theories, but also his personal story: his difficult upbringing in a Jewish family in post-war Hungary, his experience as a student journalist for the Ubyssey, his early reputation as an infuriating contrarian and his work with marginalized communities.

Winning an Audience Award when it premiered in October at VIFF, first-time filmmaker Asher Penn’s PHYSICIAN, HEAL THYSELF encourages us to own our failings, accept our imperfections and prioritize our mental health.

Candidly discussing his own struggles with addictive behaviours, ADHD and fractured relationships, Maté admits: “Part of the problem was that I believed in everybody’s healing but my own.”

20,000 SPECIES OF BEES

Wednesday, February 7th, at 7:30 pm at ArtSpring

What if your child is not the child you think you know?

Over the course of an idyllic summer vacation in the beautiful Basque countryside, a sculptor grapples with her identity as an artist in this intimate and understated Spanish film, as she gradually becomes aware that her youngest child is also in emotional turmoil.

Eight-year-old Aitor initially insists on using the gender-neutral name Cocó after it becomes clear that being referred to as male elicits distress. Growing more withdrawn, the child’s only respite lies among the family’s beehives, where Cocó slowly begins to confide in family & friends.

This unforgettable, heart-wrenching story of transition, familial love and acceptance has won multiple awards at film festivals around the world.

Newcomer Sofía Otero, the youngest-ever winner of the Berlinale Silver Bear for Best Actor, headlines an ensemble of astonishingly believable performances in Basque director Estibaliz Urresola Solaguren’s surprisingly assured début feature.

Co-presented by DAISSI and Haiti Beekeepers Society (formerly Hives for Haiti).

CALL ME DANCER

Wednesday, February 21st, at 7:30 pm at ArtSpring

In the bustling and competitive streets of Mumbai, a self-taught acrobatic dancer named Manish defies his working-class parents’ insistence that he follow a traditional path. “Dancing is a hobby for rich kids,” his cab-driver father tells him, counting on his only son’s future financial support.

Neglecting to tell his parents that he has dropped out of business school and used the tuition to pay for dance classes at an inner-city school, Manish is taken under the wing of a curmudgeonly Israeli instructor, who sees his potential and pushes him to new heights.

Ambitious & naturally talented, Manish is determined to succeed as a professional dancer on the world stage, but the odds are stacked against him. His improbable journey will make you stand up and cheer.

Co-directed by a former professional dancer and filmed in India, Israel, the UK & the US, this crowd-pleasing story of hope, heartache and hard work has won multiple Audience Favourite Awards at film festivals around the world.

Co-presented by Dance Your Ability.

Monday, October 2 2023 at 6:30pm

Free Film at ArtSpring!

Still Working 9 to 5

Camille Hardman & Gary Lane, USA, 2022, 96 min.

In cooperation with the Salt Spring Film Festival, this must-see film is presented by the Salt Spring Community Response Network and Island Community Services as a celebration of the United Nations International Day of Older Persons, which highlights the value older adults bring to society.

Seniors and young people attending together will receive a special gift at the door, symbolizing the United Nations’ theme of “Across Generations.”

Everyone is encouraged to wear either orange to mark Truth and Reconciliation Day (Sept. 30) or purple for International Day of Older Persons (Oct. 1).

Directed by Camille Hardman & Gary Lane, STILL WORKING 9 TO 5 was selected as the Opening Night Film of the 2023 Salt Spring Film Festival, where it was extremely well received by a record-setting audience of over 300 people.

Released in 1980 alongside Dolly Parton’s catchy theme song, “9 TO 5” became one of the highest-grossing films of the year, shattering the long-held belief that only men could headline a financially successful buddy comedy. The new documentary revisits and re-examines the original comedy to shine a light on how much – and, unfortunately, how little – has changed for women in the workplace over the past 43 years.

Featuring interviews with Dabney Coleman, Rita Moreno, Allison Janey and many others, this empowering and unapologetically feminist crowd-pleaser was named Best Domestic Feature by the jury of the American Documentary Film Festival and Film Fund and won the Audience Choice Award at the Nashville Film Festival.

The screening will be accompanied by a presentation on the value of inter-generational relationships in empowering older adults to combat ageism and abuse.

No tickets or assigned seats are involved as this is a free screening. ArtSpring will be open an hour before the event starts, so please arrive early to avoid disappointment. We look forward to seeing you there!