qathet film society history

In 2002, the first Powell River Film Festival was held in the high school gym as the “Reel Love Film Festival.” In 2004 Friends of Film Society of Powell River was incorporated under the BC Society Act, and in 2005 the organization was registered with the Charities Directorate of Revenue Canada. In 2012, the society moved its screenings to the Patricia Theatre, where it continues its annual Film Festival. The Friends of the Historic Patricia Theatre Society has been working since 2004 to help preserve and restore the Patricia Theatre (In operation since 1913 – the longest running movie theatre in Canada) as a vital community cultural amenity.

In 2012, the community supported the Society in raising $90,000 to purchase a digital projection system for the theatre, which was necessary for new release distribution. The two organizations amalgamated in June 2019 as the Powell River Film Society. The mandate of the society was updated to include maintaining a facility to deliver programming.

To ensure the theatre experience in the community for generations to come, the Society entered into a purchase agreement with the Patricia Entertainment Company Ltd, then current owner of the theatre. The agreement for sale assures tenure in the property and continuity for the community while fundraising takes place. The Society took ownership of the Patricia Theatre October 1, 2021. This ensures the only movie theatre in Powell River continues, and facilitates increasing ‘critical cinema’ programming beyond our two-week winter festival and Cinematheque series during the slow season.

We see this as benefiting the community all year round, as well as supporting and sustaining the existing Film Festival. In September 2022, the Powell River Film Society was renamed the qathet film society, in response to neighbouring Tla’amin Nation’s request, which in part noted, “Israel Powell was the first Superintendent of Indian Affairs in British Columbia who was responsible for advancing oppression and colonialism against Indigenous people. Changing part of the Film Society’s name to eliminate “Powell” is an important step towards the advancement of decolonization.” We also changed the name of our film festival to the qathet international film festival (qiff).


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