The Bailey Theatre hosts its eleventh annual Nordlys Film and Arts Festival on Family Day weekend, February 14th-16th. Nordlys has an eclectic blend of films from Canada and around the world as well as the opportunity to engage with special guest filmmakers. Over the last decade, Nordlys has screened award-winning films from over twenty-five countries. Throughout the weekend, talented local performers provide musical interludes between showings of diverse films. Nordlys is entirely run by a team of volunteers and is supported by a growing list of community sponsors. They invite you to come travel to far-flung destinations from the comfort of your theatre seat and experience this unique celebration of cinema and community.

The festival begins with a music performance by The Steven Hartman Quartet, local musicians who will provide lively jazz music during the Cocktail Hour. Afterward, there will be a showing of The Fireflies Are Gone, which is a Canadian subtitled drama directed by Sébastian Pilote, starring Karelle Tremblay. It won the award for Best Canadian Feature Film at the Toronto International Film Festival and is described as ‘beautifully crafted and emotionally effective’. Tremblay is recognized as one of Quebec’s most promising actors. Following this there will be a musical performance by Stephen Olson and the evening will end with the subtitled romantic drama Sir, which was filmed in India and directed by Rohena Gera. It is depicted as a heartfelt and visually sumptuous portrait of contemporary India.

Saturday will begin with the The Guilty, filmed in Denmark. It is a subtitled dramatic thriller directed and co-written by Gustav Möller. The Guilty premiered at Sundance and was Denmark’s submission for Best Foreign Language Film at the 2019 Academy Awards. Then, there will be music by Neil and Lana, followed by a showing of The Dancing Dogs of Dombrova, which is a Canadian film. The Dancing Dogs of Dombrova is an absurdist drama directed/produced by Zack Bernbaum, Starring Douglas Nyback. It won Best Feature and Best Director awards at the Canadian Film Fest. Bernbaum, is a Toronto based director and producer and founded Ezegial Productions to tell engaging, thoughtful, intelligent, offbeat and imaginative stories. His films explore how our identities are shaped in relation to one another and the world around us. His work captures rich aesthetics, authentic performances, and unique tones. Nyback is an actor who is originally from Camrose and got his start doing Musical Theatre. In 2003 he moved to New York and has since become an actor, screenwriter, and producer with over a decade of experience in projects ranging from independent films, to major network television series and studio features. Next will be Echo in the Canyon, an American film. It is a music documentary directed by Andrew Slater, and it celebrates the explosion of popular music that came out of LA’s Laurel Canyon in the mid 1960’s as folk went electric and The Byrds, The Beach Boys, Buffalo Springfield and The Mamas and the Papas created the California Sound. Featuring Jakob Dylan and an all-star group of musicians, Echo in the Canyon uncovers personal details behind the bands and their songs and how that music continues to inspire today. The Saturday Night Concert features Mallory Chipman and The Mystics, a band founded by Chipman, a Canadian award-winning vocalist/composer who is one of the rising stars in Canadian jazz. However, her most recent project with the Mystics has pushed her in the direction of rock music. Another film will be showed, The Peanut Butter Falcon, from the USA, this is an Adventure/Comedy film directed by Tyler Nilson and Michael Schwartz, starring Shia LaBeouf, Dakota Johnson, and Zack Gottsagen. It has heart, laughs and one of the purest on-screen friendships.

Sunday will start with City Lights, an American Depression-era film from 1931. It is a Romantic Comedy directed by Charlie Chaplin that showcases his art and achievement of silent comedy. After this film, music by Leslie Ayuneye and Jaron Rovensky. And they will show The Body Remembers When The World Broke Open a Canadian drama directed by Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers and Kathleen Hepburn. A chance encounter between two Indigenous women that have drastically different lived experiences find themselves navigating the aftermath of domestic abuse. The weekend will end with the dramatic comedy, The Farewell, USA/China. This film has partial subtitles and is directed by Lulu Wang, described as ‘a heartfelt celebration of both the way we perform family and the way we live it’.

(Originally published February 5, 2020)

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