The annual qathet International Film Festival (formerly the Powell River Film Festival) is back from March 3 - 12, 2023!

Every year, movie lovers come together in Powell River 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.

We’ve put together a guide to this year’s qathet International Film Festival—read on for details.

qathet International Film Festival
Photo: qathet International Film Festival

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 all of 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.

Key Dates

  • The festival runs Friday, March 3 to Sunday, March 12, 2023.
  • Matinees start at 1:30pm and evening films are shown at 7:00pm.
  • Friday, March 3 is the festival's opening reception.
  • Early bird passes are available online and are on sale until December 31, 2022. After that, festival 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 (14 of them), and includes a basic membership. A Matinee Pass grants you access to the matinee films (7 in total). Early bird pricing ranges from $53.99 - $128.19.
An exterior shot of the Patricia Theatre.
Photo: Sunshine Coast Tourism/Shayd Johnson

The 2022 Powell River Film Festival Lineup

There are 14 films in the festival lineup this year, and 16 screenings in total (two of the evening films will repeat for afternoon matinees). The films range from a thriller shot here on the Sunshine Coast to a film highlighting musical legend David Bowie and a documentary about Brazil’s Indigenous Uru-Eu-Wau-Wau people and the fight against deforestation in the Amazon.

The festival kicks off with a showing of Exile, an “elevated thriller” from director Jason James that was filmed in the qathet Regional District and follows Ted (played by Adam Beach) as he deals with the grief that follows a DUI incident. Other films featured at the festival include Aftersun, a drama directed by Charlotte Wells that explores post-divorce parenthood; Moonage Daydream, a musical documentary by Brett Morgen that illuminates the life and genius of David Bowie; and One Fine Morning, a drama/romance from director Mia Hansen-Løve that follows a widowed young mother raising her daughter alone, while also caring for her sick father.

For the festival's full program and to watch trailers, head to

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.

Patricia Theatre
Photo: qathet International Film Festival