The Snakebite Film Festival is back, with a series of films offering differing perspectives on issues the world faces. (Stock photo)

Snakebite Film Festival returns to Penticton silver screen for third year on Jan. 30

The independent film fest highlights Canadian films and a diverse series of topics

The Snakebite Film Festival is set to return to Penticton for its third annual screening at the Landmark Cinema from Jan. 30 to Feb. 2.

This year’s series was selected by an independent committee after the festival was inundated with submissions. One of the festival’s organizers says this speaks to the quality of films in Canada.

“This was the first year we had interest from people on actually making submissions,” said co-organizer Carl Meadows. “The neat thing is, it shows that Canada really produces some great films.”

This year, the festival features one international film, alongside a variety of films made in Canada.

“One of the values,” said Meadows, “is uncovering cultures and connecting communities. It’s showcasing what’s already here, and giving it a stage for people who may not even know that it’s here.”

This year the festival is once again partnering with the Okanagan School of the Arts and proceeds from the tickets will support both organizations. Bad Tattoo has also supported the festival with its Snakebite pizza.

Read More: Penticton’s second Snakebite Festival hits the screen Jan. 31

Returning this year at the festival is their honour system of free tickets for underemployed, as well as students at the screenings, with some tickets available up to a half-hour before each film begins. The festival is also working to bring in American Sign Language interpreters for two nights this year. The goal is to make the festival as accessible as possible for the community.

This year’s festival features five full-length films and two short films. Each of the films offers a different perspective about issues in the world, in a way that Meadows’ hopes people can connect to.

“If there’s one thing that people take away from it, it’s conversations,” said Meadows. “Whether they’re about trans people, indigenous issues, domestic violence or homelessness. These are things we need to be talking about.”

Leading off this year’s festival on Jan. 30 is the 1994 film The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, written and directed by Steven Ellion. The film stars Hugo Weaving, Guy Pearce, and Terence Stamp as two drag performers and a transgender woman travelling across the Australian desert to perform their unique style of cabaret.

Jan. 31’s film, Ash, takes the film festival to a familiar setting. Directed by Andrew Huculiak and starring Tim Guinee, Chelah Horsdal, Eric Keenleyside, and Cameron Crosby, the film is set against the backdrop of wildfires in the Okanagan. A reporter on the frontlines of the fires in Peachland, played by Tim Guinee, is accused of a crime that threatens to unravel his life. Debuting at the Vancouver Film Festival in 2019, Ash is currently on an international film festival tour.

The documentary Us and Them was filmed over the length of a decade and explores and takes apart some of the misconceptions about the roots of homelessness and why some people are unable to get back on their feet. A film about connecting, and how few differences we share, it screens at 4 p.m. on Feb. 1.

At 7 p.m. on Feb. 1. is Red Snow, a dramatic feature that begins when Dylan, a Gwich’in soldier from the Canadian Arctic, is caught in an ambush in Afghanistan. His capture and interrogation by a Taliban Commander release a cache of memories connected to the love and death of his Inuit cousin, Asana, and binds him closer to a Pashtun family as they escape across treacherous landscapes and through a blizzard that becomes their key to survival.

The final feature film of the festival, The Body Remembers When The World Broke Open, begins at 4 p.m. on Feb. 2. In an act of heroism and kindness, Áila (Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers) chooses to console a young woman she finds barefoot and sobbing in the streets. She soon discovers that Rosie (Violet Nelson) has just escaped an assault by her boyfriend.

Tickets for the film festival are available at Individual films are $10, with the full pass for all five feature films $40.

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