What a year! Many of us are reeling from the fact that it has now been over a year of pandemic life, of this “new normal” that we have all become semi-accustomed to. The Kamloops Film Society (and every business for that matter) has been through many highs and lows. This time last year, we had just wrapped up our 24th annual Film Festival. Our closing party was one of the last parties any of us would attend for a long time.
The pandemic hit, and we had to close the doors of the Paramount Theatre to the public. The world shut down, and like everyone else, we waited in lockdown. In the meantime, we painted upstairs, organized, and kept occupied, but it wasn’t the same as making our delicious popcorn and seeing our favourite patrons.
Months passed, and finally, a silver lining: a drive-in! Private bookings! Things to occupy our time and give us a source of revenue. The Twin Rivers Drive-In was a huge success last year and gave the community a fun and safe event to attend.
Summer came and went, the nights started getting colder, so the drive-in closed. However, cases were low, so we could reopen the Paramount Theatre with a capacity of 50 patrons in each theatre. We started with only our Thursday Film Series and then cautiously added the weekends as well. The usual stream of patrons was more of a trickle, but it was something! Sadly, as the fall season wore on, the cases grew higher, and we had to close once more: no private bookings, no public showings. In February, we were briefly allowed by Interior Health to reopen with private bookings, however, that was revoked by the Ministry of Health. We were back to waiting.
But in the distance, a film festival was on the rise! This journey has been difficult, but we’ve persevered, and we’re back in the office full-time to get ready for our 24(.5)th Kamloops Film Festival. Once again, the City of Kamloops has been our saviour because we can host the Film Festival at McArthur Island from April 21 – May 2. We’ll also be offering films online, which means we’ll be showcasing more movies than ever before! We have a total of 15 films at the drive-in (single tickets on sale now!) and 23 films online. We won’t have any in-person events this year, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have fun and interactive plans up our sleeve. The rise of zoom meetings and virtual hangouts has given us a unique opportunity to bring in stars and film lovers from around the globe to enjoy and take part in our festival. In times when we must stay safe and healthy for ourselves and our loved ones, we’re glad to continue the festival in this unique way. So stay tuned for a one-of-a-kind film festival that Kamloops will never forget!
Book your tickets: https://www.kamloopsfilmfest.ca/
Patron Engagement Coordinator
The Kamloops Film Society