One of the more exciting tasks of performing my mayoral duties is meeting fascinating people.

The weekend of January 20-22 was the 9th Annual Reel Canadian Film Festival organized by the committee of Kevin, Keya, Suzanne, Deborah, Brennan, Guylaine, Debbie, Louise and Cory aka the Festival Committee.

Nick & KEvin

This small group of amazing volunteers planned three great days of feature films, Shorts and Kids programming, opening and closing receptions and of course special guests while also acquiring great sponsorship for the event.

This year I attended the opening of the festival with the Friday feature film “Grand Unified Theory” and gave a welcome to Fernie to the director and two actors and to the sold out crowd in the Vogue Theatre.

But thanks to Gordon Sombrowski I also attended the pre-opening dinner so along with sponsors and volunteers I got to meet the special guests.

Film Fest VIP's

This provided an opportunity to extend a more personal welcome to writer, director/producer David Ray and two of the lead actors in the film Emma Grabinsky and Andrew McNee.

Grand Unified Theory was shot completely in BC in 12 days. It had its premiere in Beijing and its Canadian premiere just last month at the Whistler Film Festival that programs more Canadian films than any other international festival winning the award of “Most Popular Canadian film”.

David Ray, is a most passionate writer, director and producer with an obvious love of all detail so as to create something spectacular.

He has written screenplays, wrote and co-produced films that premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival, and has works that are shown on Showtime and Netflix, as well as working animation on APTN and Bron Studios.

Sitting next to Ray I was able to have a real conversation with him and found him amazingly friendly and open.

Ray has roots in the Valley as he has an uncle and cousins that live in Sparwood. He is a man with a profound interest in science and Faith. Holds a keen interest in politics campaigning door to door for the MP candidate in his riding and knows what’s happening politically in the world. But it wasn’t until I viewed his movie that I realized just how truly gifted Ray is in his field. He has tremendous insight into people’s psyche and knows how to interpret that in words and on the screen. This is exposed clearly in the characters in his movie that is insightful, funny, educational and entertaining. I would encourage everyone to see it if you have the opportunity.

Emma Grabinsky, a petite, lovely, twenty year old is presently in her third year of studies at the University of Victoria. She has had interest in theatre since the age of six and is known for roles in Supernatural, The Haunting Hour and The Gordie Howe Story. She began her career in theatre where she received a Jessie nomination for her role as Helen Keller in the Miracle Worker at the Vancouver Playhouse. She is bound to get recognition in this film as well.

Andrew McNee is an actor known for work in film, TV and theatre, who has worked across Canada and Europe. Andrew has been nominated for awards many times and has won the Jessie award twice.
Josh Epstein, last year’s feature film director /producer told me that Andrew is the most talented and funniest actor he knows and is appearing in his next film. Andrew is phenomenal in this film. He really is funny and so good, I must say although I had spent time with him at dinner and found him very charming his movie character had me completely enthralled, which proves a great ability to transform into character.

I am always a bit star struck when I meet people that perform work that I don’t do, or should I say that have talents I don’t have but after years of having the privilege of meeting so many people with diverse and unique interests and abilities I’m just grateful for the opportunity to speak with them as its usually a good learning experience and most of all it’s always a pleasure.

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