Once overlooked, the Fraser Valley now boasts a bustling creative class
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Nov. 17, 2022 | Today: ☀️ High 8C, Low 0C | 7-day forecast

Good Morning, Reader!

This weekend I’ll be doing some public speaking at the Chilliwack Independent Film Festival. If I don’t look terrified on stage, it will only be because I’m hiding it very well. I got into print journalism in part to stay as far away from microphones as possible. And here I am, signed up to moderate things and sit on a stage? Egad. At some point, though, you have to go through discomfort to become good (or at least competent) at something. I’ve watched my kids fall on their faces enough while walking, running, skating, and biking to know that. I just thought I was done falling on my own face. Oh well.

—Tyler Olsen, managing editor
Lights, cameras, and a growing local industry
More Fraser Valley residents are making careers behind cameras. 📸 bits and splits/Shutterstock

When Matej Balaz co-founded his video production company eight years ago in Abbotsford, the Fraser Valley wasn’t exactly a filming hot-spot.

The lack of activity made the basics of film production and shooting video for clients a little hard. "There was almost nobody," Balaz recalled. "It was hard to even find somebody to help shoot second camera stuff."

There were, of course, other film folk present. But they were few and far between, and those who were making a go of it were often overlooked—even by locals.

Today, much has changed.

This weekend, the Chilliwack Independent Film Festival will return for its sixth year. The festival is a wide-ranging event. It will showcase shorts and feature-length films, documentaries and narrative stories, and local and non-local filmmakers.

Those locally shot films do more than hold their own, and serve as another indication of how the region’s creative industry has grown over the years both artistically and commercially.

  • Tyler will also host a panel on Sunday at Cowork Chilliwack all about filmmaking in the Fraser Valley. Panelists include local directors Brendan Taylor and Daniel Sparrow, and actor Alexander Wallis. Taylor directed What Might Have Been Lost, which debuted in January. Sparrow’s short, The Divine Dance, will premiere at Friday’s Fraser Valley Films screening. Wallis starred in Tear You Apart, which will also debut on Friday. You can attend for free. Just register in advance for a ticket.
Need to know

⚖ A Mission strata and two owners quarrelling over $40 ended up before the BC Civil Resolution Tribunal [Mission Record]

💩 The tribunal also recently declined to resolve a spat between Mission residents involving, allegedly, a bag of dog poop planted in a car [Mission Record]

🛣 Construction will soon begin to widen Highway 7 to four lanes between 266 Street and 287 Street in Maple Ridge; the project is expected to be completed in 2024 [BC Government]

👉 Two foster parents convicted of killing a boy in their care will be sentenced in April [Chilliwack Progress]

🔎 Abbotsford Police are again asking for information about the disappearance of a cabbie who went missing 40 years ago [Abbotsford Police]

💲 Canada’s inflation rate held steady at 6.9% in October [CBC]

❌ Harrison Hot Spring’s new mayor denied a request from the village’s previous mayor (and now councillor) for a closed meeting to discuss administration issues [Agassiz-Harrison Observer]

CURRENT CAM: Yesterday’s photo was NOT of Mill Lake. Sorry! Congrats to Lisa Martin, who first identified the spot as Brydon Lagoon in Langley

☺ TODAY’S SMILE: New footage from the 1950s of people swimming in Cultus Lake was just posted to YouTube [Hollow Bamboo Entertainment/YouTube]

Northview Community Church hopes to build a new auditorium.  📸 Bing Maps/City of Abbotsford

In a town with dozens of places of worship, a single Abbotsford church counts nearly half of Abbotsford council as members. On Monday, that circumstance prompted a brief exodus when the topic of expanding that church’s auditorium was raised.

Mayor Ross Siemens, and Couns. Les Barkman, Mark Warkentin, and Simon Gibson all recused themselves from a decision related to Northview Community Church.

Northview hopes to build a new auditorium that would be 13 metres tall, higher than the maximum height of 9.8 metres set out in the city’s zoning bylaw. Council had previously approved an identical proposal for the auditorium, but construction didn’t begin before the permit expired.

The church said the additional height is needed for a speaker array and proper sound distribution. The location is set back from the road, and staff recommended approving the variance.

Northview was also looking to boost the number of parking spaces on site from 726 stalls to 851 spots. The five remaining members of council approved the permit unanimously.

In yesterday’s newsletter we provided the incorrect information for two local Christmas markets. A Christmas craft market is on now until Sunday at the Mennoite Heritage Museum. Details for that event can be found here. The Mt Lehman Community Association is also hosting a Christmas market on Saturday from 9am to 3pm. Information for that event can be found here.

Watch films like never before!

Chilliwack Independent Film Festival
Watch feature films, documentaries, short films, creator panels, and more, as the Chilliwack Independent Film Festival returns in-person tomorrow, Nov. 18 through Nov. 20 at the Cottonwood Cinema.

Explore the full line up and get your tickets today at
Grizzley fans, stuntmen, and a guy with poor social skills
The Grizzlie Truth is one of dozens of films that will be screened at the Chilliwack Independent Film Festival. 📸 The Grizzlie Truth

The Current has partnered with Chilliwack Independent Film Festival to help present the unique cultural event.

The event kicks off on Friday with the screening of short films made by Fraser Valley-based filmmakers. Among those filmmakers is Mik Stolz, who we recently profiled. That screening will be followed by a question-and-answer session moderated by Current managing editor Tyler Olsen.

Saturday and Sunday both include a range of fascinating features, and short film screenings. Those will also all include question-and-answer sessions with the filmmakers. (Tyler and Current publisher Stephen Smysniuk will host some of those.)

Among the films being screened are two high-profile documentaries: Love in the Time of Fentanyl, a look at the downtown eastside during the overdose crisis, and The Grizzlie Truth, a documentary about fans of the two decades-gone Vancouver Grizzlies.

Saturday also features a hour-long chat with stuntman, actor, and director Nash Edgerton, who worked on The Matrix Trilogy and as Ewan McGregor’s stunt double in the Star Wars films. The panel, like many others, are free to attend but you have to register ahead of time.

A screening of documentaries that same day includes Matej Balaz’s film, Ó:xwest kw'e Shxwelí lá ye Mestiyexw (Giving Spirit to the People). It profiles Hope artist Speplól Tanya Zilinski. The film was made to accompany an exhibit of Zilinski’s fine beadwork and tapestry currently on display at The Reach Gallery Museum.

Other highlights include a screening of short films by students showing Sunday at 1:30pm. Among the films is Lucid, a film by Daniel Walker about a man who studies lucid dreaming to try to improve his poor social skills.

Sunday also features a panel on Diversity in Filmmaking moderated by local podcaster Aaron Pete.

A full list of events is here.
Around town


🎭 The Outsider, a comedic play about democracy, begins today at Chilliwack Cultural Centre. The play runs until Nov. 27. Tickets online.


🎭 Tickets are now available for UFV Theatre’s Ghosting of Sumas Lake production held at the UFV Abbotsford campus performance studio from Nov. 30 to Dec. 3, 2022. Learn more.*
                                                                                                          *Sponsored Listing
What we have learned, a year later

We revisit questions raised last year by the devastating floods and landslides.

Catch up here.

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