April 18, 2012
REEL CANADA presented its first Welcome to Canada film festival in the prairies on April 11 at Eau Claire Cinemas to more than 600 ESL students — many of whom have never had a Canadian cinematic experience.
The majority of learners were from ESL programs at Bow Valley College (BVC). Prior to the festival, the College's learners had the opportunity to select the films they wanted to see.
Namrata Gahatrha, a second-year BVC ESL student from India, appreciated the opportunity to experience Canadian culture through film.
"This is a really great opportunity for immigrants to learn something new about Canadian history," says Namrata.
Following each film, the students were treated to a very special surprise when Luke Macfarlane, star of Iron Road, Dwain Murphy, star of How She Move, and Amanda Forbis and Wendy Tilby, creators of Wild Life, each appeared in person to answer their questions and talk about their film.
"When I saw him [Luke Macfarlane] I was so excited, I wanted to ask him so many questions and take my picture with him, so I did," says Namrata. "I would like to thank BVC and REEL CANADA because they gave me this opportunity."
Appearing in person to discuss REEL CANADA's work with the students was REEL CANADA co-founder Jack Blum.
Namrata Gahatrha (right) with actor Luke Macfarlane at REEL CANADA's Welcome to Canada film festival.
Namrata plans on enrolling in BVC's Justice Studies Diploma with a specialization in Correctional Studies once she has met the program's admission requirements.
Now in its seventh season, REEL CANADA has presented more than 500 screenings of Canadian features, documentaries and animated films to over 100,000 students. During the 2011-12 season, the program has expanded to include the "Welcome to Canada" program, which brings the immersive, dynamic learning experience of REEL CANADA to new Canadians, introducing them to home-grown films and filmmakers.
For more information please visit www.reelcanada.com.