Big screen under the stars 

LUNA gears up for another summer of exciting cinematic offerings at Lost Lake, Rainbow and Rebagliati parks

What: LunaFliks

When: Wednesday, July 1, 8:30 p.m.

Where: Squamish Lil'wat Cultural Centre (Whistler)

Cost: $7, $5 LUNA members

This summer, rain or shine, Whistlerites will be able to get their fix of films on Wednesday evenings, thanks to a new partnership with the Squamish Lil'wat Cultural Centre.

While Late and Unique Nighttime Alternatives (LUNA) has been hosting LunaFliks since their pilot year in 2003, this will be the first summer that organizers won't have to obsessively monitor the weather forecast to find out if they can host their event at one of the local parks. Kiran Pal-Pross, LUNA coordinator, explained that the SLCC has generously stepped up to the plate and offered the use of their luxurious theatre on Wednesday evenings with not-so-optimal weather.

LUNA and the SLCC worked together to host the new Cinema Politica film series, which ran successfully through the fall and winter, so Pal-Pross didn't hesitate to work with them again.

"It's really exciting! Every year is different, and this year has really shaped up to be a good one, especially to be able to show the films non-stop, regardless of what the weather is like outside," Pal-Pross said.

In case you're new to town, LUNA is a community group that offers alternative entertainment options to the nightclub scene in Whistler. LunaFliks seem to be just the ticket for local youth, offering up entertaining and thought-provoking cinematic content under a blanket of stars, all in Whistler's great outdoors.

"It's a real Whistler experience, as well, because - this summer especially - you get to see a lot of different parks and see the sun set over the lakes, and it's just a unique experience all around," Pal-Pross said.

One night a week - this year, the screenings will take place on Wednesdays - people grab blankets and chairs, a flashlight and a cozy sweater and head to one of the local parks to watch a movie with a few friends and strangers.

The selections aren't usually box office hits, meaning you won't see what's playing at Village 8. Rather, organizers tend to gravitate toward visually stunning flicks with feisty, fast-paced content that fits well with the outdoor setting.

"The majority of our films are either starring young adults or are by young adult directors," Pal-Pross said.

At the beginning of each evening, before their feature presentation, LUNA also showcases regional talent through photographic slideshows, short films and other visual mediums.

"A lot of our events are geared towards promoting the works of emerging young adult artists or musicians or talent, so this is the way that we could integrate that into LunaFliks, which gets a lot of exposure," she said.

The screenings are also a great chance to put the annual crop of LUNA trainees to the test. This year, for the first time, the new crew will come in at the beginning of LunaFliks, while the existing crew is still on hand to help mentor.

"It's really exciting actually, and the existing crew is going to be producing their own LunaFliks in the last three (events) in August," Pal-Pross said.

Things are really looking up for LunaFliks lovers this year; in addition to the new indoor venue, LUNA also received a $2,500 grant from the Whistler Blackcomb Foundation, which will go towards covering hefty licensing fees.

"That helps us a lot, because any of the proceeds from the LunaFliks go towards the new season's events, so that helps us start off our season with a little bit of a leg up," Pal-Pross said.

Sharp's Audio Visual has been title sponsor of the series since 2004, providing the sound system, while the RMOW, Pique Newsmagazine , Nesters Market, and Mountain FM also support the event.

The series kicks off on Canada Day with a special screening of One Week , which follows the central character, portrayed by Joshua Jackson, on a motorcycle journey across Canada to explore self-discovery, mortality and purpose.

"It's probably going to attract a lot of visitors to learn a bit more about what Canada looks like, coast to coast," she said.

While screenings will typically take place at either Lost Lake, Rebagliati or Rainbow Park, the Canada Day event will be held on the outdoor patio of the SLCC, with gates opening at 8:30 p.m. and the films starting at dusk.

For more information on the weekly LunaFliks film, check the Pique listings or visit www.lunawhistler.com.

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