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L.A. Beat

International Film Festival returns to Lethbridge Public Library

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 The Lethbridge Public Library’s twenty-sixth annual International film festival will bring to life and the screen, some of the more pressing issues of the day.
Sheila Braund, International Film Festival committee member examines one of the films  to be screened. Photo by Richard AmeryIt will be taking place at the downtown branch of the Lethbridge Public Library, March 21-26.

The festival, which started as a program of the World Citizen Centre whose mandate included public education about the developing world, features six days of films from around the world which explore important issues.

 Each film is followed by a question and answer session with an expert in the topic the film explored.

“The movies explore social issues and  world issues, but we try to look at issues like fracking which affect local people,” said committee member Sheila Braund, adding the seven member committee pre-screen numerous films throughout the year from all over the world and choose the ones they think are most thought and discussion provoking. The films run from 7-9 p.m. each night, plus a matinee on Saturday afternoon.

“This year we’re looking at films about discrimination and globalization,” she said adding the committee is looking at films  from South Africa, Brazil, the United States and Great Britain.

“The purpose of this festival is to make people aware of these issues that are taking place in the world and affect us,” she continued adding most of the films being screened are documentaries and all of them are in English.

“For example, one of the films we are looking  at is about waste disposal in Brazil. We also have waste problems here. These problems affect everybody,” she continued adding the film about fracking is especially relevant to Southern Alberta.

 While the board hadn’t decided on  specific films or formalized the schedule, some of the topics  to be explored include soldiers in Afghanistan coming home to cope with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, fracking, terrorism, waste disposal, First Nations Issues and discrimination.

“ Some of them were even nominated for Oscars,” Braund continued adding the festival has been very popular in past years.
“The festival has a had a really good response. We had 80 or more people each night last year,” she continued.

“They’re usually well attended and a lot of it is because people know there will be a guest speaker and they will be able to ask questions and have a discussion. The films and schedules are: March 21- Waste Land; March 22 – Home Alone: a Romanian Tragedy; March 23 – Virgin Goat, March 24- Skin and March 25 – Burning Water. Each one starts at 7 p.m.
Admission to the festival is free, It takes place in the downstairs theatre gallery.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
A version of this story appears in the March 2011 edition of Bridge Magazine and in the March edition of Downtown
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