Kitchen Stove Film Festival heats up in Penticton

Kitchen Stove Film Series opens with two films at new Penticton theatre.

As movie-goers in Penticton rejoice that a new theatre has been opened, so too do the organizers of the Kitchen Stove Film Series.

“The Pen Mar certainly has its charm, but, theatrically in terms of seating, quality of sound, screen and whatnot we are all totally looking forward to this new theatre,” said Rosemarie Fulbrook, Penticton Art Gallery Administrator.

The Kitchen Stove Film Series is an income development initiative of the Penticton Art Gallery. Broadening the definition of the visual arts to include the medium of film, the series aims to inspire, challenge, educate and entertain while showcasing excellence in the cinematic arts.

“We have a bit of a condensed program with the new Landmark Cinema 7 opening, so we thought at this point we would wait until January when we will have more new releases out to give us something a little more current,” said Fulbrook. “During the selection process we basically look for films that are getting awesome reviews and that we think the audience in Penticton will really enjoy.”

The first film of this year Beasts of the Southern Wild is showing on Oct. 18 at 4 and 7 p.m. Directed by Benh Zeitlin, this post-apocalyptic fable follows the story of Hushpuppy (Quvenzhané Wallis), a precocious six-year-old with a wild hairdo who tries to make sense of her place in a messy, shifting world. And, that is an island located in a Louisiana bayou cut off from civilization and industrialization. Hushpuppy lives with her terminally ill, alcoholic father, Wink (Dwight Henry, in a makeshift, self-reliant, if not exactly harmonious community. For all his lapses, Wink is trying to raise his daughter with sufficient skills and grit so when the temperatures rise, the waters surge and wild aurochs arrive, this resilient young heroine is equal to the task of survival.

Beasts of the Southern Wild is equal parts mythological, anthropological, folkloric and apocalyptic. It captures the wonder and terror of childhood while blindsiding with imaginative genius.

“Because we are an art gallery we try to bring the ideas of art and art history into the series as much as possible. The second film deals with one of the most renowned contemporary artists practising internationally right now. It sounds like it is going to be an amazing documentary,” said Fulbrook.

The documentary, which will be shown on Nov. 8, is by Chinese and political activist Ai Weiwei with Never Sorry. Weiwei was the artistic design consultant for Beijing’s Olympic Bird’s Nest stadium and was runner-up for Time Magazine’s 2011 Person of the Year.

But in China, he is subject to surveillance and endures swift censorship of his work and activities. From 2008-10, Beijing-based journalist and filmmaker Alison Klayman had close contact to Weiwei and documents his preparation of a major exhibition, captures intimate exchanges with his family and exposes his increasingly public clashes with the Chinese government.

Weiwei is plain-spoken, irreverent and uncompromisingly critical of the arbitrary use of government power. The imprisonment, suppression and persecution of his father, the poet Ai Qing, has strongly impacted his art — his work often hints of violence while at other times is incredibly calm and expansive. This timely film is essentially a portrait of a key contemporary artist but the camera lens also focuses on China’s internal politics in the wake of Olympic promise and growth.

“We recognized a long time ago a need for this kind of film in our community and people definitely look forward to the series when the program is released,” said Fulbrook.

To pre-purchase single tickets (no refunds or exchanges allowed) it is $10 for Penticton Art Gallery members and students (with identification) and $12 for non-members. Tickets are available at the Penticton Art Gallery, The Book Shop and limited single tickets ($15) may be available at the door. All movies are shown at the new Landmark Cinema7.