Chinese film festival to launch at City Cinema

A festival of Chinese films is about to launch at City Cinema in downtown Charlottetown — the Gbeck Future Film Festival. 

Alan Lau and Cindy Fan moved to P.E.I. from China last year with their son Beck, and the festival was their idea. They had previously run a festival for emerging filmmakers in China.

"We decided to move the film festival here, we think it's a good choice," Fan told Mainstreet P.E.I.'s Angela Walker. 

"In the beginning, it was about young filmmakers, lots of them students," Lau added. "And then it changed to Gbeck Future Film Festival — we hope it can [be] helpful for more young filmmakers."

Attracting new customers

The film festival will show 21 short and feature documentaries, dramas and animated films. Most are Chinese-language films with English subtitles, Lau said, but some are in English. 

Angela Walker/CBC

The Charlottetown Film Society recently finalized the purchase of the 70-seat theatre and is operating it as a non-proft organization. 

"We're trying to reach out more to the community and be more involved with other groups," said board chair Carol Horne. 

It's rare to have Chinese films at City Cinema, Horne said, "so this is a great opening to let local people know about the film culture as well as have hopefully some new Chinese visitors coming into the cinema who will become accustomed to that setting and come to see some of our other films as well."  

There have been many Chinese immigrants to P.E.I. in the last 15 years. Statistics Canada 2016 census data showed there were more than 3,000 immigrants and recent immigrants living on P.E.I. who list China as their birthplace. 

The festival will run from Friday, April 5 to Sunday, April 7.

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