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Derek Edwards paints a funny picture of the big, bad world

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Televison and newspapers paint a grim, sad and  tragic picture of the world, but  Toronto based comedian Derek Edwards would rather look at the lighter side of everything on his “My Blunderful Life” tour. He’ll explore topics like banking at noon, being the only other famous person from Timmins  and other everyday events.Derek Edwards returns to Lethbridge. Photo submitted

“Did you guys just put up a new traffic light,” Edwards asked over the phone from Toronto, in a comedy writing frenzy preparing for his new western Canadian tour, which brings him to the Yates Centre, March 18 and Medicine Hat’s Esplanade Arts and Heritage Centre the day before for St. Patrick’s Day.

The  tour has stops in smaller prairie centres like Lethbridge and bigger centre like Calgary  and Edmonton.

 While a question like that could come across as big city arrogance,  the Timmins born comedian has small city roots and even worked at a Boston Pizza in Lethbridge for  a short time after high school, while traveling with a buddy, exploring the country.

“We hitchhiked across the country, so it was a pretty exciting year. I met a lot of friends,” he said.

“I’ve lived on a Boston Pizza wage,  and found comedy was viable option,” he said adding it has been a few years since he performed at the Yates Centre.

He got into comedy as a boy after seeing  comedians on talk shows.


Submissions needed for University of Lethbridge Film Festival

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 If you want to see the next Quentin Tarantino or Steven Spielberg, or if you think you are, then check out the third annual University of Brad Goruk and Luke Antosz, co-organizers of this years’ University of Lethbridge Film Festival. Photo by Richard AmeryLethbridge Film festival happening  in the University of Lethbridge Ballroom, March 31.

This festival is open to  all up and coming short film makers and submissions are still welcomed.
“The focus is on Southern Alberta,” said film maker and one of the organizers Brad Goruk.

“So we’re hoping we get a lot of submissions,” he continued adding a panel of judges will examine the films and give a grand cash prize, which is to be determined but will hopefully be $100.
“Anybody with short five minute animations or any short five minute film can apply,” added co-organizer Luke Antosz adding there is also a separate category  for longer, 15-20 minute films. Any genre, style or medium is welcome as long as it is a completed film, is in English or has English subtitles and meets Canadian guidelines, so no pornography will be accepted.

Antosz has his submission ready to go — a  black comedy about a “Kool Aid” addiction and the troubles involved with overcoming the “substance abuse” problem.
“There is a very strong, untapped  pool of  Alberta film makers here, so I’m very excited to see them,” Antosz continued.

“There’s a lot more people in Lethbridge making films, but where can they show their stuff,” Goruk pondered aloud, noting they will be accepting submissions up to March 24 for the festival.


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.


French Canadian centre opens today

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The brand spanking new French Canadian Cultural Centre is tres magnifique according to organizers who  have been working on the project for years and look forward to giving a permanent home to all of the French language and cultural organizations in the city.
“It’s a service that we offer to the Albertan community,” said Kate Gilbert, ACFA Régionale de Lethbridge/ Medicine Hat  Directrice générale.
 The new two floor facility, located at 2104 6 Avenue South, next to École La Verendrye, which officially opens March 11, offers a huge new theatre with hardwood floors, a full service bar, a library, massive kitchen, computer room a darkroom for film developing, a cafeteria and a lot more.

Kate Gilbert ACFA Régionale de Lethbridge/ Medicine Hat  Directrice générale in the new centre opening today. Photo by Richard Amery
“We’re here to preserve our language. But you don’t need to speak French here,” Gilbert continued adding  movie features will be subtitled. They will also be offering a variety of classes in  the French language, photography, pottery and a lot more.

They will also celebrate holidays and events like Valentines Day and more French holidays like Saint- Jean-Baptiste Day. And a connection with Chinook Libraries will help fill their shelves with French books.

 While the organization has been in Lethbridge since 1979  on Sixth Street. downtown across from the Lethbridge Herald, they have never had a space like this for their 200 members.

“Not a lot of people knew we were over there. But this location  gives us more visibility, right on the corner,” Gilbert enthused.

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