The annual qathet International Film Festival (formerly the Powell River Film Festival) is back from March 1 - 9, 2024!
Movie lovers come together in Powell River every year to watch critically-acclaimed cinema at the beloved Patricia Theatre, Canada's oldest continuously operating movie theatre (since 1913). Showing the best in international, Canadian, and locally produced films, the festival is hosted each year by the qathet Film Society.
It's a great opportunity to witness the spirit of Powell River in action, from the volunteers who power the festival to the residents and visitors alike who engage in thought-provoking conversation about the visual arts.
Read on for details on the 2024 event.
History of the qathet International Film Festival
What began as a grassroots event to screen the latest releases in film every year has morphed into a dynamic, community-oriented celebration of cinema. The first qathet International Film Festival took place in 2002, with movies shown at the local high school gym, before its current iteration as a celebrated festival with the famed Patricia Theatre as its primary venue.
The Patricia Theatre itself is worth checking out. As one of the earliest designed movie theatres in British Columbia, the 260-seat venue has retained the charm and character of its bygone era with an art deco facade, red velvet seats, lofty ceiling, and retro kitsch touches. While the original 1913 building was rebuilt in 1928, and the theatre has since switched to digital projectors, not much else has changed over the past 100 years. The single screen theatre continues to bring the latest films to Powell River, and also hosts live performances, concerts, dance recitals, and more.
It's all part of what makes the qathet international film festival such a unique celebration of cinema in British Columbia.
How the qathet International Film Festival Works
Planning to take in the festival? Here's what you need to know.
- The festival runs Friday, March 1 to Saturday, March 9, 2024.
- Matinees start at 1:30pm and evening films are shown at 7:00pm.
- Tickets are also available for the closing party on Saturday, March 9, 2024.
- Early bird Festival and Matinee passes are available online and are on sale until December 31, 2023. After that, passes will be available at regular price.
Tickets and Memberships to the Powell River Film Festival
To watch any film, you have to purchase a membership to the qathet Film Society, the non-profit society behind the festival. Sales from the membership go to support the film festival and maintenance of the Patricia Theatre. Here's how to purchase a membership to the film festival:
- A basic membership is $5. If you purchase a Festival Pass or Matinee Pass, membership is included with your pass ($5 value).
- If you are looking to watch a single flick only, you'll need to purchase a membership for each person attending screenings. Membership cards can be purchased during the festival at the Patricia Theatre box office.
- A Festival Pass grants you access to all of the films, and includes a basic membership. A Matinee Pass grants you access to the matinee films. Early bird pricing for passes ranges from $52.87 - $125.62.
- NEW for 2024: You will need to present the QR code from your online order at every film you attend. You can either print out the code and insert it into your pass lanyard for easy scanning, or present it on your phone when you arrive.
The 2024 Powell River Film Festival Lineup
There are 16 films in the festival lineup this year, and 16 screenings in total. The films highlight works from around the world, and range from a drama about a worker in a Chinese fortune cookie factory in San Francisco to a romance set in Montreal's drag scene.
The festival kicks off with a showing of The Old Oak, a drama about an unlikely friendship between a pub owner in a once thriving mining community and a young Syrian refugee, directed by BAFTA winner Ken Loach. Other films featured at the festival include documentaries like Songs of Earth by Margreth Olin, which highlights Norway’s most scenic valley, Oldedalen, and the relationship we have with nature; 32 Sounds by Sam Green, which delves into the elemental phenomenon of sound; and WaaPaKe by Dr. Jules Arita Koostachin, a Canadian film that explores the intergenerational trauma of residential school survivors. Along with documentaries, you can also catch The Taste of Things, a French romance film directed by Tran Anh Hung; Fallen Leaves, a comedy/drama about two lonely souls in search of love in modern-day Helsinki; and more.
For the festival's full program and to watch trailers, head to qathetfilm.ca.
Plan Your Trip to Powell River
The qathet international film festival takes place in Powell River’s Historic Townsite, which was designated as a National Historic District of Canada in 1995. This area offers plenty to see and do: swing by Townsite Brewing for a pre-movie flight of beers and to mingle with fellow cinephiles, pop into the shops at Townsite Public Market, or stop by Royal Zayka or the Granada Restaurant for a bite to eat. Looking for a place to stay during the festival? Keep the historic theme going and book a room at the Old Courthouse Inn or the Rodmay Hotel, two heritage hotels located just a short walk away from the Patricia Theatre.
A short drive will take you into the heart of Powell River's downtown where, along Marine Drive, more restaurants and shops await. In need of fresh air? Take a walk along Willingdon Beach, book a fishing charter, hike one of the area’s many trails, or hit the links for a round of golf.
Click here to learn more about Powell River.