For anyone who loves to take in cinematic wonders on the big screen, doing so on Wednesday, April 17, at the Hope Theatre will not only support the theatre, but filmmaking across the country.
For the fourth year in a row, the Hope Film Club (HFC) is celebrating National Canadian Film Day (NCFD) by moving the club’s regular schedule ahead about two weeks so they can participate with nearly 900 other theatres and venues across the country in screening a Canadian-made film.
Created in the spring of 2013, the Hope Film Club meets on the last Thursday of the month to view a variety of films from around the world. Your first visit to the Club is $10—$2 pays for annual membership—and after that, each visit is $8, which goes directly towards paying for the local theatre’s digital upgrade.
“Several years ago, all theatres transitioned from film to digital,” explained Jonathon Polishak, HFC co-founder. “Per every screen, it was something like a $55,000 upgrade, so … quite a bit (was invested) into the theatre” in terms of renovations, and upgrading the seats, decor, and digital upgrades of screen and sound.
To help offset those costs, Polishak and Kelly Pearce established the Hope Film Club. To date, Polishak says the Club has raised about $35,000.
“Generally, we’re raising about $500 per event,” said Polishak, who teaches English and drama at Hope Secondary. “We average about 60 to 65 people, but there’s always hope for that size or more, (as it’s) always more fun (to screen movies) with bigger crowds.
“It tends to be a really fun night,” Polishak continued. “We do door prizes at all our events, (and there will be) extra door prizes for the first 15 people who” attend the NCFD event.
This year, the Club put out a survey to its members to determine which of Canada’s cinematic marvels to screen at the NCFD event: One Week, starring Joshua Jackson, was the clear winner.
More than “80 per cent of all voters placed it in their top three, and nearly half of respondents had it as their number one choice,” he added.
“It’s also a special anniversary for a famous NFB (National Film Board) short that will play before the show that will definitely be a crowd-pleaser.
“Before every one of our shows, we ask who’s seen it before, or if it’s their first time, and it’s often pretty split,” Polishak continued. But regardless of how many times people have seen it, it doesn’t matter, “we’re all seeing it together on this glorious big screen with digital images and sound. And that’s what matters.”
Polishak also notes an interesting geographical cameo in this year’s film selection.
“Hope has some screen time. (Jackson’s character) stays the night at a local hotel (that) audiences will definitely be able to spot. There are shots around town … and when he leaves, the scene of him exiting has some (familiar) sign markers people will know.”
As for the support of Canadian film, Polishak says it’s essential to support homegrown arts, and those in the business of spreading the arts—such as theatres.
“Canadian film, like lots of other things culturally, (can be) undervalued or underappreciated … but there are lots of famous Canadian actors. Since the ’90s, (I feel) there’s been a renaissance in Canadian music, (and now) cinema is moving in that direction as well.
“Not only is there new stuff, there’s this (incredible) repertoire of great Canadian films.”
Following the screening of One Week on National Canadian Film Day, Polishak says Club members can expect a summer full of cinematic, family fun. “We’ll have everything from Robin Hood to Jaws,” he said with a smile.
And for the Club’s sixth anniversary, they’ll be showing Return of the Jedi. “So it’s going to be a fun summer for sure.”