Posted on February 23, 2010 by Dylan Anderson

Lech Linkiel explores the first Nordlys Film and Arts Festival, running Feb 26-27 on Augustana Campus.

By Lech Linkiel –

On February 26th and 27th, the Augustana Campus of the University of Alberta is proud to host the very first edition of the Nordlys (Nord-lees) Film and Arts Festival. A celebration of film and arts, the festival – which takes its name from the Norwegian word for northern lights – is intended not only to dispel winter’s darkness and cold by showcasing film and highlighting local talent, but – more importantly – bring current Augustana students, faculty, alumni, and the community of Camrose closer together.

The festival has its origin in the widely popular Pretty Hill Film Festival, founded and hosted by the Olson family over the past decade. What essentially began as a family affair, had by its tenth annual incarnation grown into a fully-fledged local festival, featuring over 100 screenings of films from all over the world, and diverse performances by musicians and poets like Colleen Brown and Scott Cook.

The two Nordlys Festival nights will each have a distinct atmosphere, with the Friday night featuring a formal Black and White affair (formal or informal—creativity is encouraged), and the Saturday night a "cosier" casual theme. Patrons are encouraged to bring "comfort items" – blankets, pillows, snacks – to the second night’s screenings, in order to recreate the familial atmosphere that dominated the Pretty Hill Film Festival, and evoke the festivals’ roots as an informal gathering of family and friends.

Unlike many other film festivals, the Nordlys Festival’s program will not require a film studies degree, and will attempt to appeal to a variety of tastes rather than follow a specific theme. Having directed the Pretty Hill Film Festival in the past, the Olson family will continue to advise the Nordlys Festival selection committee. As has been the tradition in the past, patrons will be able to vote for a People’s Choice Award directly after each screening; patron’s who see a minimum of five films will additionally be eligible to cast their votes for the Critic’s Choice Award at the conclusion of the festival.

In combination with the film screenings, which will be held at Augustana’s Faith and Life Chapel, a host of local talent is also slated to perform on the Café Voltaire stage. The Café is meant to provide an open mic platform for all patrons who’d like to share their particular talent with the community – be it song, dance, or poetry. The Café too takes its inspiration from the informal performances at the Pretty Hill Film Festival, held in the Olson family garage, which provided a natural, informal, and highly popular gathering spot between screenings.

Augustana is excited to be a partner in the evolution of the film festival. We look forward to creating a friendly, social environment featuring good films and good company. The festival offers patrons an opportunity to see and experience art both from within our community and from beyond our borders as well. The Nordlys Film & Arts Festival is open to the public.

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