Four Canadian features, four Indigenous short films under the spotlight at third annual festival

Explore a beautiful 80-acre farm and enjoy a picnic with family or a date night under the stars.

No matter how patrons choose to start their night at Caravan Farm Theatre’s Outdoor Film Festival Aug. 24-27, it always ends the same way: with incredible Canadian cinema.

“Our patrons are encouraged to enjoy the rural environment,” says Estelle Shook, artistic director. “It’s such a beautiful experience to be in the fresh air while appreciating Canadian films.”

With an elevated concession full of popcorn, local fine wines, ales and local snacks, Caravan’s Outdoor Film Festival brings the best of film festival culture to the open-air timber barn and its 10-by-20-foot silver screen. 

Trevor Mack’s Portraits from a Fire kicks off the series on Wednesday, Aug. 24. Portraits from a Fire tells the story of Tyler, a teenager from the Tl’etinqox Reserve who uncovers a difficult truth about his family’s past. Mack’s spellbinding debut asserts that where there is trauma, there is also the power for healing. 

On Thursday, Caravan Farm Theatre heads east for the festival’s second film. Set in rural Quebec, The Time Thief is a subtitled French feature with extraordinary characters and superb cinematography. The Time Thief is a fantastical story about a community bent on eliminating death from their otherwise quiet town. 

Friday is date night with Learn to Swim. This 14A film tells of the stormy and tragic romance of two jazz musicians. In Dezi’s quest for solitude, the lines between the past and present become blurred as he’s forced to face his truth.

Caravan Farm Theatre is rolling out the red carpet for its gala evening and final show, Drinkwater. Shot in Penticton, this coming-of-age comedy is equal parts Napoleon Dynamite and Lady Bird. Gala pass holders can meet the producers in Caravan’s Decagon lounge over a glass of bubbly and post-show hors d’oeuvres.

“As a theatre company, we love a sense of occasion,” says Shook. “We’re diving into the film festival customs of dressing up and rolling out the red carpet for these screenings.”

Before the screening of each full-length feature, Caravan welcomes the return of the second annual Indigenous Short Film Showcase. A panel of Indigenous artists and changemakers, including Gloria Morgan and Aaron Leon from Splatsin, and Bill Cohen from OKIB, will select the four short films from nationwide submissions across multiple genres and styles. 

“This is some of the most exciting filmmaking happening right now,” says Shook. “It’s an incredible opportunity to engage with Indigenous stories and perspectives from across the land. They are the future big screen storytellers, and are helping to shape the path of reconciliation for this country. 

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit Gates open at 6 p.m. with Indigenous Short Film Showcase at 7:30 p.m. and feature films starting at 8 p.m. Bring your own lawn chairs or blankets. 

PHOTO| Yvonne Turgeon