Film fest contains ‘hidden gems’

One of the interesting aspects of the World Community Film Festival is watching documentaries that are “off the beaten path,” says Wayne Bradley, a World Community board member and a programmer of the 27th annual festival that runs at four venues in downtown Courtenay Feb. 2 and 3.

“There’s some wonderful stuff you’ve near heard about,” he said of the 30-plus films that cover a variety of social justice topics.

The Oscar-nominated 116 Cameras is about a project to transform Holocaust survivors into 3D digital holograms that will interact with future generations. The Forger, set in 1944 occupied Paris, tells about members of a Jewish resistance cell who create false passports for people bound for concentration camps.

“It’s one of those tiny stories I’m sure has never crossed any one’s path,” Bradley said of the latter.

Saturday screenings feature an assortment of ‘hidden gems’ recommended by other festival programmers. Gordon Darby picks Denial, a unique film that follows David Hallquist, a Vermont Utility CEO who grapples with issues around climate change. The story takes a twist when Hallquist comes out as a trans-woman.

“I highly recommend this wonderful, informative and often humorous film that celebrates the complexity of modern life,” Darby said in a news release.

Ardith Chambers was touched by the short film, Children of Redress, by local filmmaker Greg Masuda.

“My parents’ close neighbours were part of the dispossession and displacement of Japanese Canadians in 1942,” Chambers said. “Before leaving, the woman gave my mother a valued possession, her sewing machine.”

Janet Fairbanks recommends Finding Kukan — a quest to discover more about one of the first Oscar-winning feature documentaries, and the gutsy Chinese-American woman behind the film.

Bradley also likes Evolution of Organic, which looks at the organic food movement, and sustainable and regenerative agriculture.

“The next stage is evolving to a more complicated system,” he said, noting a similar-themed gem in the 16-minute, The Hands that Feed Us.

Opening night Friday features Meet Beau Dick, Maker of Monsters, a portrait of the late Alert Bay carver/social activist. In 2013, Dick organized a journey from Quatsino to Victoria for a copper-cutting ceremony to illustrate the cleaving of a relationship between First Nations and the former B.C. government.

Bradley had a chance to meet Dick, who passed away last March.

“He was intense and personal,” Bradley said. “I chatted with him for five minutes. I was stunned by his response. All of a sudden he’s talking to me. He was a genuine guy.”

The festival closes Saturday night with Dolores, a profile of Dolores Huerta who, along with Cesar Chavez, co-founded the first American farm workers’ union in 1962. Huerta is still going strong at age 87.

Film descriptions and trailers are at

Tickets are available at (250) 338-2430 or


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