Campus Life  

Okanagan College filmmaker plucks Grade A rating at film fest

Okanagan College Media Release

arellano2010 is starting to look like a bumper crop year for Okanagan College communications instructor Marc Arellano and his documentary Strange Fruit: A Changing Landscape in the Central Okanagan.

Congratulations have been pouring in since Arellano’s documentary on the local orchard industry picked up “Best Home Grown Award” at the recent Okanagan International Film Festival.

“It was pretty overwhelming, to say the least, to receive the OIFF award because it spans all genres of locally produced films,” said Arellano.

“I am so pleased that our judges rated Strange Fruit highly,” said Jason Woodford, president of the Okanagan Film Festival Society, which produces the annual festival. “It is a very worthy documentary and I look forward to seeing where he takes it next.”

It looks like the next stop will be Toronto this October. The Planet in Focus Film Festival has plucked Strange Fruit for its line-up. 
“They had heard about it somehow, and even though their program was already set, they asked me to send them some screeners. Once they saw it, they made room for it in their festival,” explained Arellano.

The Planet in Focus Film Festival, now in its 11th year, is the longest running environmental festival of its kind in the country. In 2009, the festival featured more than 85 environmentally-focused films from 25 countries.

Arellano said he’s seen a growing interest in local food security issues, with various groups and organizations contacting him about screening his film to launch a discussion, and even take action.

“I think what’s happening is that we’re building a wave of people who are recognizing how expensive it is to maintain our local food production. Food is now being used for commodity pricing and the industry is no longer looking after the interest of everyday folk. People who want to simply feed their family, are being left out in the cold.”

Arellano said it was a huge honour to be able to put his film before the board at the Okanagan International Film Festival.

“People are starting to see what an incredible festival this is, and how it’s giving new filmmakers another voice in Canada.”

Arellano’s Home Grown Award was one of many handed out at the festival.

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