Kamloops Film Society kicks off its winter series on Thursday, Jan. 16, at the Paramount Theatre.
The lineup begins with Jonathan Sobol's black comedy The Art of the Steal, a 2013 Canadian film starring Jay Baruchel, Katheryn Winnick, Kurt Russell (in his first feature film role in seven years), Matt Dillon and Terence Stamp.
Here's the plot: a third-rate motorcycle daredevil and part-time art thief teams up with his snaky brother to steal one of the most valuable books in the world. Russell plays Crunch Calhoun, the motorcycle daredevil better known for crash landings than for death-defying leaps. The Art of the Steal debuted as a "gala presentation" at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) in September. Reviewers have hailed Sobol's script and direction, referring to his "flair for crackling dialogue, kinetic set pieces, and compelling fraternal dynamics."
On Jan. 30, the film festival presents the romance/drama Gabrielle, by Québec director Louise Archambault.
Winner of the audience award at the 2013 Locarno Film Festival, this poignant, heart-warming film depicts Gabrielle, a young woman with Williams syndrome, a genetic condition characterized by striking verbal abilities, highly social personalities and an affinity for music.
Blessed with an exceptional musical talent, Gabrielle participates in a recreation centre choir preparing for a music festival, and falls in love with a fellow choir member, named Martin. Confronting fears from loved ones about their relationship, and social prejudice against her "difference," Gabrielle exhibits a contagious joie de vivre in her drive to assert her own independence.
On Feb. 13, it's Down River, an emotionally stirring film directed and written by Vancouver native Benjamin Ratner. Shot in Vancouver's West End, Down River was voted the most popular Canadian film at the recent Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF).
Helen Shaver plays Pearl, a character modeled on a close friend and mentor of Ratner's who died in 2010. Pearl is an older woman who provides guidance, support and inspiration for three young women: Aki, an artist; Harper, a rock singer; and Fawn, an actress. When she unexpectedly leaves them, the three are forced to face the future on their own.
Kamloops Film Festival's winter series wraps up on Feb. 27 with the Golden Globe nominated best picture, Inside LLewyn Davis, directed by brothers Ethan and Joel Coen.
Starring Oscar Isaac (nominated for a Golden Globes best actor award), this musical drama follows one week in the career of a young singer as he navigates the Greenwich Village folk scene of 1961.
Winner of the Cannes Film Festival Jury Grand Prize and multiple awards for screenwriting and music, this film sets the story of the young guitarist against bleak winter scenes in New York City, as he tries to make it as a musician against seemingly insurmountable obstacles, many of which are those of his own making.
All films in the series are shown at 7 p.m. at the Paramount Theatre, 503 Victoria St. Tickets are $8 and can be purchased at Moviemart, 444 St. Paul St. or at the door the evening of the screening. An annual $2 membership in the Kamloops Film Society (also available at Moviemart or at the door) is required for admission.