Projecting Change Festival gets green on-screen

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      Lindsay Nahmiache says the inaugural edition of a new annual movie event contains films “made by regular people”. As programming director of the Projecting Change Film Festival (May 8 to 11 at the Ridge Theatre), Nahmiache has also arranged speakers to discuss each movie.

      Each day’s films—and there are almost two dozen over the four days—will focus on specific themes: food and agriculture, sustainable energy, building methods, consumer goods and kids, and the environment. In a phone interview with the Georgia Straight, Nahmiache said she and her business partner, Brady Dahmer, came up with the concept.

      “Vancouver really didn’t have an environmental film festival yet, so that is what we decided to do,” she said. “But we funked it up a little bit to make it accessible to the masses, rather than people thinking it was going to be a bunch of National Geographic films. We put really edgy films in there and put speakers with each of them.”

      Included in the list of movies is Roman Polanski’s Chinatown and the visually stunning Baraka for the midnight screenings, according to Nahmiache.

      “We have this one film called The Greening of Southie, about the first green [residential] building that went up in Boston,” she added. “It has all these rough and tough construction workers who are saying, ”˜Green? What do you mean? We paint the building green?’ ”

      On opening night, Torontonian Ray Zahab, a friend of Nahmiache’s, will speak. She said she is convinced that Zahab’s amazing story will leave people inspired, after they see him in Flow: For Love of Water.

      “He ran across the Sahara Desert for 111 days, every single day, for 12 to 14 hours a day,” she said. “This man is crazy. He ran to raise awareness about water initiatives in Africa. Matt Damon did the documentary of it and executive-produced his film, which is being released next year.”¦He was a pack-a-day smoker and excessive drinker until the age of 30 and decided that he was going to do something with his life.”

      Sea life also gets a plug with Saving Luna, as Sidney Island resident Mike Parfit can attest. Parfit and partner Suzanne Chisholm both spent more than five years of their lives following an orca named Luna around Nootka Sound, where the marine mammal first appeared in the summer of 2001 and befriended the locals, including the Mowachaht/Muchalaht First Nation.

      “Luna is the main character of the film, the protagonist, and he is the one who makes everything happen,” Parfit told the Straight by phone. “If you tell a story in any film, in most films, they are usually a story about a character who really wants something badly and can’t get it. That is exactly the way it was with Luna. He really wanted to make contact with people in real life, and the government basically came in and said, ”˜This is bad for you. You can’t do this. We aren’t going to let you have contact with people.’ ”

      For more details about the festival, visit