Film Fest Port Alberni

Winter 2024 Series

The Alberni Valley Museum is pleased to announce the Winter 2024 Series of Film Fest. The new season kicks off with “Carry It On” on Sunday, January 22, 2024.

No exchanges or refunds.

Film Fest Port Alberni film series screens at the Landmark Cinemas Paramount Theatre on select Sundays at 5:00pm.


Mr. Dressup: The Magic of Make Believe
Sunday, January 21

The feature-length documentary tells the origins and history of Canada’s favourite children’s show, Mr. Dressup, which built a legacy of kindness, patience, inclusiveness, and creativity in 4,000 episodes across 29 years on CBC. With never-before-seen footage and interivews, the documentary reveals Ernie Coombs’ two passions: Entertaining others with childlike wonderment and kindness, and the love for his wife and family, who were his support system and biggest fans. From his early days working with Fred Rogers, to his remarkable creative collaboration with puppeteer Judith Lawrence (voice and creator of Casey and Finnegan), to the struggles to fund the iconic series, and finally, his second act touring college campuses, the documentary shows the highs and lows of the creative force that helped raise Canadian children for well over four decades. After 29 seasons  Mr. Dressup's place in the Canadian cultural landscape was pretty much cemented. But even with that impressive pedigree, London, Ont., filmmaker Robert McCallum didn't think it was enough. Because, he said, those numbers don't come close to showcasing the immense impact Ernie Coombs's TV show Mr. Dressup had on five generations of viewers. "It's just that kind of stuff that united us. You say Mr. Dressup, we know what you mean, and all those memories flood back in an instant again," McCallum told CBC News. "Coast to coast to coast — regardless of region, regardless of belief — the creative exploration that show instilled in us, plus the values of society." It's that legacy McCallum was drawn to uphold and illustrate in his new documentary.

Country: Canada
Running Time: 90 minutes

RiceBoy Sleeps
Sunday, February 25

In the 1990s, a young widow named So-young (Choi Seung-yoon) moves from South Korea to Canada with her young son, Dong-hyun (Dohyun Noel Hwang). Neither of them speaks English very well, or understands the cultures of their new home. But this is where they live now, where Dong-hyun will grow up, and they’ll make the best of it.
On paper, Riceboy Sleeps is a familiar semiautobiographical drama, the story of a smart kid trying to navigate new surroundings. But Vancouver director Anthony Shim distinguishes himself as a storyteller of piercing honesty and remarkable specificity, unpacking the lives of So-young and Dong-hyun over a decade of change and adaptation. (Dong-hyun is played as a teen by Ethan Hwang.)
Mother and son both experience different levels of casual racism at work and school, make unexpected alliances with co-workers and classmates, and slowly grow apart as they define themselves in a new Canadian context. When circumstances dictate a return to South Korea, it’s a home that Dong-hyun doesn’t even remember. Riceboy Sleeps lays out its interwoven stories simply, shifting between the different perspectives of its protagonists. Poignantly capturing Dong-hyun’s loneliness and frustration alongside So-young’s isolation and sacrifices, Shim keeps the film compassionate and poetic, building to a final image that’s as lovely as it is shattering. Winner of TIFF 2022’s Platform Prize for its bold directorial vision, this film establishes the presence of an important new Canadian filmmaker.

Country: Canada
Running Time: 117 minutes

Joan Baez: I Am A Noise
Sunday, March 24

Joan Baez: I Am A Noise is an unusually intimate portrait of legendary folk singer and activist Joan Baez. Neither a conventional biopic nor a traditional concert film, this immersive documentary moves back and forth through time as it follows Joan on her farewell tour and delves into her extraordinary archive, including newly discovered home movies, diaries, artwork, therapy tapes, and audio recordings. Throughout the film, Baez is remarkably revealing about her life on and off stage - from her lifelong emotional struggles to her civil rights work with Martin Luther King and a heartbreaking romance with a young Bob Dylan. A searingly honest look at a living legend, this film is a compelling and deeply personal exploration of an iconic artist who has never told the full truth of her life, as she experienced it, until now.
“Joan Baez: I Am a Noise” is a more intimate look inward at a life in the public eye, famous from her teens, a Time Magazine cover at 21, respected and controversial from the beginnings of her public life to the end of it.

Country: Canada
Running Time: 113 minutes

The Persian Version
Sunday, April 21

Writer-director Maryam Keshavarz, who previously won the Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival for her debut film, Circumstance, returns with this uproarious, genre-blurring crowd pleaser about identity, belonging, and secrets — those that tie families together and pull them apart, perhaps at the same time.
Just as brash as she is introspective, Leila defies expectation at every turn: those of her parents, and in particular her mother, Shireen, who disapproves of Leila’s disregard for tradition and cultural norms; and those of her romantic partners, who are perplexed by the fondness that Leila has for her family despite their differences, simmering just beneath the surface of her feigned nonchalance. But it becomes harder for Leila to keep her opposing lives separate when she discovers she is pregnant just as her family convenes in New York for her father’s heart transplant surgery. It’s here that the film takes a beautiful and unexpected turn, as we are transported back in time to Shireen’s childhood in Iran through to her initial experiences in America, understanding the level of loss and personal sacrifice that has come to inform her rocky relationship with Leila.
As past and present continue to collide, the film balances the somber weight of its generations-spanning ambition with a quirky dynamism in the form of Fleabag-esque, fourth-wall-breaking monologues and intricately choreographed dance sequences as Leila’s love for retro pop music bleeds onto the screen. The Persian Version is undeniably full of heart (and with it, heartache) — one that beats to its own drum and will bring audiences to their feet.

Country: United States
Running Time: 107 minutes


For Information Contact the Alberni Valley Museum 250-720-2863.
Museum Hours: Tuesday to Saturday 10am to 5pm, Thursdays to 8pm

Film Fest Port Alberni is a fundraising initiative of the Alberni Valley Museum.
The Films are distributed through The Film Circuit a Division of the Toronto International Film Festival Group.
It is our intent to provide our community with quality films that would not otherwise be available to the local theatre.
Each series of three to four films will feature a Canadian and a Foreign production.
Films are shown on select Sundays at 5pm at Landmark Cinemas Paramount on Argyle Street.
Funds raised go to support museum education and out reach programs.