This year’s Hornby Island Film Festival will close with the film Wajd: Songs of Separation.

Hornby Island Film Festival set for end of March

Submitted by Rachelle Chinnery

Special to The Record

Representatives from five new Canadian films will present their work at the third edition of the Hornby Island Film Festival.

Presented by the Hornby Island Arts Council in partnership with filmmaker Scott Smith, this year’s festival will take place at the Hornby Island Community Hall, March 27-29.

The event kicks off Friday evening at 7 p.m. with the multi-nominated The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open (directors Elle-Maija Tailfeathers and Kathleen Hepburn). The story is of a chance and contrasting encounter between two Indigenous women: one finding the other barefoot and crying in the street. It was filmed in one shot – the relationship unfolds in real time on the streets and taxis of downtown Vancouver. Associate producer Alysha Seriani will be in attendance for the screening.

The rest of the lineup sets a course with Krow’s Transformation (director Gina Hole-Lazarowich) which follows a successful formerly female model’s three-year gender transition as Krow Kian sets out to re-enter the modeling industry he left behind. Director and Hornby Island resident Gina Hole-Lazarowich along with documentary subjects Kas Baker and Emily Seal will be present.

Next comes Giant Little Ones, presented by director Keith Behrman. “GLO” is a powerful coming-of-age story that centres around the relationship of two teen boys who have been friends since childhood, and the incident that changes things forever.

Sunday is a documentary day and begins with a film for our times: The Whale and the Raven. Director Mirjam Leuze takes viewers on a cinematic tour of the Great Bear Rainforest for a look into the decisions facing the people of this remarkable ecosystem under pressure from the gas industry. Producer Andrew Williamson will be on hand for the Q&A.

The festival will close with Wajd: Song of Separation (director Amar Chebib). In 2010, Chebib went to Syria to make a film about sacred Sufi music. Six months later, the largest humanitarian crisis of our time erupted into a cascading and enduring tragedy, and his musician subjects were scattered across the continent. The film becomes about how these musicians, now refugees, use their love of music to find meaning in their forever changed lives. Director Amar Chebib will present his stunningly beautiful and sobering film.

This year the content is particularly salient and relevant.

“We are presenting five wildly different films, but with perhaps the strongest thread connecting them all as we’ve ever had,” said Smith. “These five films are about the marginalized and endangered, pure and simple.”

The little up-coming festival continues to serve up some serious conversation around some of the more profound social issues of our times, as seen through some exquisite filmmaking.

If you’ve ever been to Hornby Island, you’ll know that it has a disproportionate number of artists, academics, and activists. Here, filmmakers find not just the famous cliffs and beaches, but an audience who take on Q&A like a public dissertation. Informed questions and queries come thick and fast, making for a rich post-screening dialogue. Half the experience of this Film Festival comes after the movie is over. It’s deeply satisfying.

This year the festival is proud to add the Director’s Guild of Canada BC Division as a Platinum Sponsor, joining The Hornby Island Coop, BC Arts Council, Destination BC, The Union Bay Credit Union, Margaret Rabena & Pemberton Holmes Realty, The Hornby Island Bakery & Pizzeria, and BC Ferries in bringing the festival to the island.

Passes available at

Follow Hornby Film Fest on Facebook.

For further information, contact Andrew Mark, HIAC executive director at or 250-335-2070

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