In­au­gu­ral Prince Ed­ward Is­land Film, Food and Ideas Fes­ti­val pro­vides par­tic­i­pants with chance to con­nect in the theatre, over food and through on-stage talks

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - FRONT PAGE - BY SALLY COLE sally.cole@The­ Twit­­lyForth57

In­au­gu­ral P.E.I. Fest pro­vides par­tic­i­pants with chance to con­nect in the theatre, over food and through on-stage talks

It’s the day af­ter the 2017 Prince Ed­ward Is­land Film, Food and Ideas Fes­ti­val (P.E.I. Fest), and Colin Stan­field is re­flect­ing on the first-ever event that brought film­mak­ers and au­di­ences to­gether in Char­lot­te­town.

“What was most ex­cit­ing was that the key idea for the fes­ti­val seemed to res­onate with so many peo­ple,” says Stan­field, P.E.I. Fest founder.

“The films re­ally sparked con­ver­sa­tion, the film­mak­ers loved be­ing here. And the many op­por­tu­ni­ties we pro­vided for peo­ple to con­nect in the theatre, over food, with amaz­ing mu­sic and through our on-stage talks, felt like a unique recipe with just the right in­gre­di­ents,” says Stan­field.

Au­di­ence mem­bers were taken on an un­der­wa­ter ad­ven­ture on Satur­day night dur­ing the screen­ing of “Chas­ing Coral” at the Florence Sim­mons Per­for­mance Hall.

Filled with breath­tak­ing un­der­wa­ter cin­e­matog­ra­phy of blos­som­ing coral reefs and the crea­tures that live there, the 93-minute film took the­atre­go­ers to new depths in un­der­stand­ing the frag­ile fu­ture of coral at var­i­ous lo­ca­tions but mainly at the Great Bar­rier Reef in Aus­tralia. “Chas­ing Coral” is the story of an ad man, a coral nerd and some top-notch cam­era de­sign­ers and marine bi­ol­o­gists as they event the first time-lapse cam­era to record bleach­ing events as they hap­pen.

In the film, a marine bi­ol­o­gist shares pho­to­graphic ev­i­dence that 80-90 per cent of the corals in the Florida Keys have been lost over the past 30 years and that world­wide, coral loss is over 50 per cent.

Jamie Red­ford of the Red­ford Cen­tre hosted with the event Jeff Or­lowski, the director, and the screen­ing con­cluded with a ques­tion and an­swer ses­sion.

On Fri­day night, a large au­di­ence was in at­ten­dance for “Bluefin”, a doc­u­men­tary by P.E.I.’s John Hop­kins, that ex­plores the baf­fling mys­tery of why the nor­mally wary bluefin no longer fear peo­ple.

These were two of the 14 screen­ings that pro­vided food for thought.

“By choos­ing a small num­ber of highly en­gag­ing so­cial is­sue films and pro­vid­ing lots of op­por­tu­nity for peo­ple to in­ter­act with the film­mak­ers, we were able to es­tab­lish an en­vi­ron­ment that en­cour­aged con­ver­sa­tion and con­nec­tion,” says Stan­field.

There were other ben­e­fits as well.

“Con­nec­tion be­tween lo­cal film­mak­ers and those vis­it­ing from other parts of Canada and the U.S. re­sulted in a re­vi­tal­iza­tion and in­spi­ra­tion for lo­cal film­mak­ers as well as pro­vid­ing valu­able in­dus­try con­nec­tions,” says Stan­field, who has his fin­gers crossed for next year.

“Dates for 2018 need to be es­tab­lished and com­mit­ments from stake­hold­ers se­cured.” But he’s feel­ing op­ti­mistic. “The foun­da­tion for a sig­nif­i­cant cul­tural hap­pen­ing on P.E.I. that brings at­ten­tion to so­cial is­sues, shines a light on the in­cred­i­bly strong com­mu­nity of lo­cal film­mak­ers and drives vis­i­ta­tion to the Is­land has been laid.”


Jamie Red­ford, left, of the Red­ford Cen­tre re­acts to Jeff Or­lowski, director, dur­ing a ques­tion-and-an­swer ses­sion fol­low­ing the screen­ing of Or­lowski’s film, “Chas­ing Coral” Satur­day night at the 2017 Prince Ed­ward Is­land Film, Food & Ideas Fes­ti­val in Char­lot­te­town.


En­vi­ron­men­tal panel mem­bers meet af­ter their pre­sen­ta­tion at the P.E.I. Fest this past week­end. From left are Jamie Red­ford, Red­ford Foun­da­tion, ‘Chas­ing Coral’ col­lab­o­ra­tor, Slater Jewell-Kemker, ‘In­con­ve­nient Youth’, John Hop­kins, ‘Bluefin’ director, and Mille Clarkes, director of ‘Is­land Green’.

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