Pawan Deol and Michael P. Vidler, who created the short film Unkept, won best short and best director at the 2019 Chilliwack Independent Film Festival (CIFF). The founder of CIFF, Taras Groves, is waiving entry fees for all Black, Asian and minority ethnic filmmakers for his festival. (Submitted)

Chilliwack film fest founder waives entry fees for Black, Asian and minority ethnic filmmakers

The Chilliwack Independent Film Festival is the first film festival in B.C. to make the move

The founder and director of an independent film festival has made it easier for Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) filmmakers to submit their work and have their voices heard.

Taras Groves of the Chilliwack Independent Film Festival (CIFF) announced this week that he is waiving submission costs for all BAME filmmakers.

CIFF is the first film festival in B.C. to do this, he added.

“Whilst we have been able to showcase numerous minority and Indigenous filmmakers over the years… we feel compelled to do more, especially given what is currently going on in the world today with Black lives and systemic racism,” Groves said.

“This is no different in the arts. And actions are louder than words.”

Submissions costs can quickly stack up for independent filmmakers making it very difficult for them to break through.

This is a “conscious attempt to form an enduring effort to provide a platform for more voices to be heard,” Groves said. He is encouraging other organizations and festivals to follow suit.

Film and the arts may seem small with everything that is going on in the world today but Groves said he still believes it’s an important means for sharing new voices and changing perspectives.

The festival, which began in 2017, normally takes place in November each year. A date for the 2020 CIFF has not yet been set, but it will be going ahead.

READ MORE: Best filmmakers of B.C. and world featured at Chilliwack Independent Film Festival


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