VIVA ITALIA: Now in its fourth year, the weeklong, 16-film Vancouver Italian Film Festival offers a unique celebratory mixture of films old and new for movie buffs to enjoy. Created to raise awareness and promote all aspects of Italian cinema, the festival is presented by Il Centro Italian Cultural Centre and the Vancouver International Film Festival, with the assistance of the Consulate General of Italy in Vancouver. Each year, the cinematic celebrations feature a Fellini film. And, fittingly, the Italian filmmaker’s portrait of the Eternal City Rome launched this year’s cinematic celebrations.
LIGHTING THE WAY: Before the lights dimmed on St Paul’s annual Lights of Hope campaign, more than $3 million was raised thanks to the support of community partners, sponsors, staff and volunteers. The hospital’s Lights of Hope has been a seasonal fixture since 1998, illuminating the front of the venerable institution with more than 100,000 bulbs to promote the hospital’s biggest fundraising drive of the year. Since the lighting celebration on Nov. 24, thousands of visitors have enjoyed the sparkling display featuring more than 10 kilometres of lights and hundreds of sponsored stars assembled entirely by volunteers using donated materials. Since its inception, Lights of Hope has raised more than $31.7 million to support world-class health care at St. Paul’s.
INSPIRED MEAL: In 2015, Julia Pelish, an accomplished photographer, was diagnosed with stage-four brain cancer. She and her writer husband Adrian Brijbassi received care from Inspire Health, a not-for-profit organization that provided the couple counseling, as well as guidance on nutrition, cooking, exercise and stress reduction. Despite her health, Pelish wanted to find a way to thank the agency for its services. The idea of a cookbook on healthy eating was born. She would take the photos and her husband would serve as editor. The idea barely got off the ground when Pelish succumbed to the disease last March. Brijbassi would complete the passion project in memory of his loving wife, enlisting 21 of the country’s top chefs to participate. Brijbassi recently marked an important milestone with the launch of the cookbook at Inspire Health’s inaugural A Night to Inspire Gala, held at the Roundhouse Community Centre.
SPOTLIGHT ON CANADA: To mark Canada’s 150th birthday, the Cinematheque in Vancouver, in partnership with the Toronto International Film Festival, Library and Archives Canada and the Cinematheque quebecoise, has mounted the most ambitious retrospective of Canada’s moving-image heritage. Based on a countrywide poll of scholars, critics, and industry professionals, a list of Canada’s 150 essential moving-image works have been compiled across nine categories, including feature films, docs and shorts, to be screened — for free — throughout the year. Many of them newly restored, the works will be screened across the country. The Canada On Screen project had its national debut at Vancouver’s Cinematheque with Sandy Wilson’s made-in-B.C. Canuck classic My American Cousin, a film that garnered six Genie Awards and secured B.C. as a filmmaking centre.