Saturday, February 24, 2018

The Victoria Free B-Film Festival returns with drive-in movies

August 10, 2016 by Mikayala Russell, contributing writer

Attention moviegoers and theatre regulars: one of Victoria’s more unique festivals is returning. The Free B-Film Festival shows a variety of films—from blockbusters to less-remembered flicks—in outdoor spaces around the city. This year has some new surprises in store, and festival organizer Donovan Aikman is happy to talk about them.

“The Victoria Free B-Film Festival started in 2001 and has fun family-friendly genres that are in the B genre of movies,” says Aikman. “We’re not trying to do the big dramas or the Oscar winners, necessarily; we are trying to do action, adventure, and comedy.”

What started as a three-day festival with 300 guests has grown to an eight-day fest with 8,000 attendees. But before it was known as the Victoria Free B-Film Festival, it was a different, much smaller event.

“We actually started as a different event called Hot Reels, and we were going to do an outdoor sing-along to The Wizard of Oz,” says Aikman. “Hot Reels only lasted for one year.”

People enjoying last year’s Victoria Free B-Film Festival at the BC Legislature buildings lawn location (photo provided).

People enjoying last year’s Victoria Free B-Film Festival at the BC Legislature buildings lawn location (photo provided).

Victoria has been used in multiple movies and television shows in the past few years, and it’s a great city to watch—and screen—movies in, too.

“Victoria is a great city because [residents] are smart and enjoy arts and culture and are willing to try new and different things,” says Aikman. “When we do an event like Free B, we aren’t necessarily showing Ghostbusters or Top Gun for the millionth time, and they are willing to come down and see a crazy little movie from 1986 that we dug up from the archive.”

The three locations for the festival this year are the BC Legislature lawn, the Cameron Bandshell at Beacon Hill Park, and Broadmead Village, with hopes to reach more families in the Central Saanich area. The Legislature lawn is a particularly exciting location for the festival, says Aikman.

“The Legislature lawn is our newest screening location and is a great one because it is such a broad space and is such a great place to kick off,” says Aikman. “The Legislature staff has been really great and supportive of us being there, and the space feels very open.”

Along with the interesting locations, the film fest is also bringing people a drive-in movie for an extra dose of nostalgia (or, if you’re too young to remember them, a history lesson).

“This year we are really excited to be doing a drive-in, where people can drive in with their cars, and we will have a radio transmitter so people can actually tune in to the radios, just like the old drive-ins.”

So, this festival gives people free outdoor movies and a fun drive-in experience, but there is one catch.

“We’re giving you free movies,” says Aikman, “but you have to bring your own snacks, blankets, and flashlights; that’s all there is to enjoy it.”

The Victoria Free B-Film Festival
Until Saturday, August 27
Free, various venues

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