Changes are coming to the cinema scene on the North Shore – Park Royal in West Vancouver, which hasn’t had a screen since 1999, is scheduled to open a new theatre next year, while Park & Tilford will intensify its focus on event cinema, bringing even more special screenings to Brooksbank theatre.
North Vancouver’s arts council is also working diligently to showcase the work of emerging filmmakers.
The local arts community welcomes any opportunities to showcase films on the North Shore, especially those that aren’t mainstream Hollywood blockbusters and to give exposure to marginalized and under-represented groups, says Todd Evanger, arts education manager with the North Vancouver Community Arts Council.
Every year, the arts council partners with Cineplex to hold the North Shore International Film Series, a 14-film series that features movies shown at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), at the Park & Tilford Cineplex. This year, the arts council will have a soft launch of a new program to feature student short films before one of the TIFF films, made by a student from Capilano University. Next year, the plan is to have student films before all 14 films.
“It’s a natural fit,” Evanger says about the student shorts. “We’re already engaged with many Cap U students and grads within the North Vancouver arts council. We think it’s a natural alignment.”
The quality of work by the students in the film program is “fantastic,” he adds, and they have amazing facilities and “great visioning,” Evanger says, crediting the chair of the School of Motion Picture Arts, Michael Thoma.
The film series, which is a fundraiser for North Vancouver arts programming, begins with five films this fall and the first one, Leave No Trace, runs on Sept. 12.
Evanger says he appreciates the partnership with Cineplex to show the TIFF films as finding venues can be a challenge.
“I think there’s always a need for space in arts across the board – film is no different,” Evanger says.
While the North Shore arts community works to focus on local talent and bring non-mainstream films to the community, Cineplex is continuing construction of an 11-cinema complex at Park Royal Shopping Centre, which hasn’t housed a movie theatre in almost 20 years. The Park Royal Cineplex will have a new multiplex with UltraAVX theatres, motion seats, food service and adult-only VIP auditoriums. The new Cineplex will be built on top of the existing stores as a third storey.
At the other end of the North Shore, the Park & Tilford Cineplex is moving more toward specialty screenings and starting this fall will have one dedicated “event cinema” screen featuring a stage series with productions from London, New York and the Stratford Festival in Ontario, a classic film series and a dance series. There will also be films of performances from the New York Metropolitan Opera. The Met Opera has been transmitting live, high-definition opera performances simultaneously across the world since 2006. This fall, screenings include Aida, live on Oct. 6 with encores in November, and Samson et Dalila, live on Oct. 20, also with encores in November.
Brad LaDouceur, vice-president of Event Cinema with Cineplex, says in a statement that the entertainment company has seen an increase in demand for this type of programming.
“Our goal is to provide our guests with acclaimed and exclusive content from around the world with the added convenience of additional performances throughout the week,” he says in the statement. “If you cannot go to London or New York, you can enjoy these brilliant performances on the big screen from the comfort of your local Cineplex theatre seven days a week.”