Big issues on the big screen 

Weekly movie screenings meant to encourage dialogue on significant social, political and cultural topics

What: Cinema Politica
When: Every Monday, 6:30 p.m.
Where: SLCC
Admission: By donation

Monday nights at the movies just got a bit more stimulating, thanks to the combined efforts of two local groups: Late and Unique Nighttime Alternatives (LUNA) and the Squamish Lil'Wat Cultural Centre (SLCC).

LUNA's winter activities got off to a bit of a late start this year, but now, they're kicking things off in a big way, launching a regular movie night with the support of the SLCC.

While LUNA typically organizes the LUNAFliks outdoor film series each summer, LUNA's Coordinator, Kiran Pal-Pross, has wanted to organize a series that focuses more on political and social issues for a number of years. But they weren't able to make the idea a reality until LUNA recently joined forces with Cinema Politica, a non-profit, volunteer-run media arts project that coordinates political film screenings throughout Canada and other countries.

Unlike the full-length feature films LUNA screens during the summer months, Cinema Politica films are independent documentaries intended to provoke thoughtful dialogue about important issues. And because the movie screenings are open to all ages, not just young adults, Pal-Pross said they hope it will be an intergenerational discussion.

"These films shed light on Canadian and international issues that are underrepresented by world media. I hope that the screenings and discussions will empower the viewers to keep up the dialogue with their friends, family and co-workers beyond the event," Pal-Pross said. "It's important to talk about peace, freedom, environment and sustainable development. We're very lucky to live in Canada, and our citizens, especially our future leaders, should be able to protect those things."

The Monday night series will run until the end of April.

Gwen Baudish is the events coordinator for the SLCC. She explained that when LUNA approached them with the idea for the film series, she was quick to jump at the opportunity, as they had been looking for a way to show aboriginal films to audiences. Now, on the third Monday of each month, Cinema Politica will screen an Aboriginal-themed film and bring a guest speaker in to help lead the discussion afterwards.
On Monday, Feb. 16, they plan to screen Kiviaq vs. Canada, the story of Canada's first Inuit lawyer, with guest speaker Roland Rudkowsky of the Gwich'in Nation, who also happens to be a staff member of the cultural centre.

The SLCC also saw the movie series as a great way to introduce people to the centre, which opened for business last July.

"I hope it entices people to visit the cultural centre and helps to retain the value of our roots in the community," Baudish said.

Both Baudish and Pal-Pross were pleased with the turnout at the first screening, which took place on Monday, Feb. 2. More than 40 people showed up for the film, and afterwards, the discussion with Guy Patterson and Bob Deeks led to interesting thoughts about green building in Whistler.

"I think people left that room with a lot of good ideas," Baudish reflected.

This week, they plan to screen two films: Bevel Up: Drug Users and Outreach Nursing, and Carts of Darkness, with the help of Jackie Dickinson, a drug prevention and education worker, and Murray Siple, filmmaker and creator of Carts of Darkness.

Calling all early birds
To mark the one-year Olympic countdown media outlets are coming to town to capture the celebrations.

CBC Radio will be broadcasting The Early Edition live from La Bocca Restaurant on Wednesday, Feb. 11 and Thursday, Feb. 12 from 5:30 to 8:30 a.m., and they're hoping early birds will come out to hear host Rick Cluff chat with some of the key players of the 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games. On Wednesday morning, the discussion will centre around what it's going to take to deliver the best winter Olympics ever, touching on issues of security and venues with VANOC officials. On Thursday morning, the topic shifts to ensuring Canadian athletes bring home medals, with 2010 contenders like Sylvia Kerfoot and Tyler Mosher appearing on air.

To entice people to roll out of bed early, CBC is offering free pastries and coffee, plus live music with The Hairfarmers on Thursday morning, and prize draws for CBC merchandise.

Global Television and CTV will also be in town next week.

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