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Whistler Film Festival screening two films for free on National Canadian Film Day

Portraits from a Fire and Before They Fall screening April 20 at Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre
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William Magnus Lulua stars in the coming-of-age film, Portraits from a Fire, which screens for free this Wednesday at the SLCC.

The Whistler Film Festival (WFF) is marking National Canadian Film Day this week with two free screenings of past festival favourites at the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre.

In its ninth year, National Canadian Film Day celebrates all things Canadian cinema through screenings, events and panel discussions held both online and off across the country. Set for this Wednesday, April 20, the WFF is screening two past festival entries at Whistler’s First Nations museum: Trevor Mack’s Portraits from a Fire at 6 p.m., followed by Cam MacArthur’s Before They Fall at 8 p.m.

Starring Nathaniel Arcand, Asivak Koostachin and William Magnus Lulua, Portraits from a Fire is a coming-of-age film that follows eccentric teenaged loner Tyler as he spends his days filmmaking and vlogging from his Indigenous community. Encouraged by a mysterious, charistmatic figure he meets named Aaron, Tyler sets about making his most personal film yet, about his mother’s disappearance from the community. This leads to “a reckoning between past and future, life and death and father and son,” the WFF described in a release.

The screening—which can be viewed in person at the SLCC or online—will be followed by a Q&A with producer Rylan Friday, hosted by the WFF Indigenous Filmmaker Fellowship participant Miranda Currie.

Before They Fall is a powerful short documentary produced by Whistler’s own Ecologyst Films about the Fairy Creek blockades against old-growth logging that captured international headlines last summer. But of course the fight to protect B.C.’s ancient forests has been decades in the making, and the film meets with conservationists, Indigenous groups and scientists about the effort, particularly on Vancouver Island. MacArthur and his crew also captured the rising tension at Fairy Creek between forest defenders, the RCMP, and logging company Teal Jones as the protest grew into the largest act of civil disobedience in Canadian history. The film is only available to view in-person. 

Both screenings are free, but require pre-registration. Learn more, and reserve your tickets, at whistlerfilmfestival.com/365-events/national-canadian-film-day.