Mar. 20, 2013 - Issue #909: Water Crisis
Hook, line and sinker
Festival shows fly fishing is about more than a big catch
It's this escape from the hustle and bustle of reality that has kept Bird Marketing Group president Chris Bird returning to the sport of fly fishing year after year, as well as countless others who seek to kick back and allow themselves to be swept up in the moment, in turn fostering a sense of community that has gathered annually for the International Fly Fishing Film Festival (IF4) since 2010.
"The community of fly fishing is huge, and I don't mean huge in numbers," Bird notes, adding the festival screenings often draw a median audience of approximately 250 people, with film being an effective medium in attracting younger audiences. "It's important to the very small niche market that fly fishing is and I think we really connected with that community ... it's amazing to me that something so simple could draw such popularity."
Bird, whose company is behind the festival in conjunction with Vantage Point Media, notes there had been similar events south of the border, but Canada had always seemed to come second in the planning process, only receiving a handful of screenings. IF4 takes its annual lineup to venues across the country and beyond—with screenings now taking place in the US as well as outside North America—to showcase films focusing on the culture and lifestyle rooted in fly fishing.
The films showcased at this year's festival have all taken a turn for the retrospective, Bird notes, joking that the productions have steered away from the usual "fish porn" in favour of more thought-provoking material. There's still plenty of lush scenery and impressive fish, but the films, which range in length from three to 20 minutes, go a little deeper, such as A Deliberate Life by Kokkaffe Media.
"It really just addresses the pressures of work, how that ties into life and what you do with it," Bird says, recalling an instance where he was approached by a viewer who joked he hoped everyone didn't up and quit their jobs after watching the film. "It's not a call to action to leave your jobs, it's a call to action to maintain a balanced lifestyle and to not let work dictate everything that you do, but to more so use it as a tool to live your life."
Naturally, a niche festival will catch the attention of those who are immersed in the culture of a sport, but Bird believes fly fishing can reach beyond that and resonate with those with little to no experience with a rod. Fly fishing has the ability to transport people to another place, much like he believes any well-done film can.
"I'd compare it to a U2 concert; not everyone's a fan of U2, but when you go to a concert, you walk away going, 'OK, well maybe they've got something there,'" he says. "It's very similar to that because you sort of look at it and go, 'Why would I want to go to that?' And when you go and there's a take-away from it, especially this year being that the filmmakers have been very retrospective, I think there's something there for everybody."
Sun, Mar 24 (2:30 pm)
Metro Cinema at the Garneau,
$15 (advance), $20 (door)
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