2017 Nordlys Film & Arts Festival

Program cover of the Nordlys Festival

Program cover of the Nordlys Festival

We attended, for the first time ever, the 8th annual Nordlys Film & Arts Festival here in Camrose at the historic Bailey Theatre downtown. The word Nordlys is Norwegian for northern lights-aurora borealis.

Although we didn’t purchase the all-inclusive pass, since we were unable to attend Sunday’s offerings, we opted for a Friday pass, which included the opening ceremonies and two films, as well as music from local musicians Stephen Olson, and Tigs & Whisky.

The first film, entitled “Pawn Sacrifice,” originated from the USA in 2016. It’s executive producer was former Camrosian, Dale Armin Johnson, who was present for the film and a Q & A afterwards. The film is described as a “Biographical Drama,” telling the story of American chess prodigy, Bobby Fischer, played by Tobey Maguire. “Pawn Sacrifice” is a thoughtful study of the narrow line between genius and madness. The film intersperses clips dating back to the Cold War 1970s of Fischer and others, as well as borrowing music from that time from musicians such as Credence Clearwater Revival and Jefferson Airplane. The film is both a reasonably accurate portrayal of superpower rivalry in the Cold War period as well as a statement about the tragic destiny of a chess genius.

The second film was “Ida,” originated from Poland, and described as a “Drama.” Ida is a young novitiate nun in 1960s Poland. The film follows her life journey as she meets up with an aunt who travels with her to discover that she is Jewish and her parents were murdered during the Nazi occupation of Poland. A rather sad, sober, and tragic film in every respect.

On Saturday we purchased tickets for the afternoon Alberta Short Docs. They were absolutely marvellous! I was thoroughly impressed with three of the seven short docs.

My favourite short doc was the first one, “We regret to Inform You…,” directed by Eva Colmers and Heidi Janz. The film highlighted how narrow and exclusive government bureaucrats can define and apply their criteria regarding who is or is not eligible for disability funding. The film features a day in the life of Ph.D. scholar Heidi Janz, and is a legitimate critique of government policies regarding the differently-abled.

The second short doc was entitled “The Grasslands Project: Life Out Here.” It focussed on four ranching and farming women in southern Alberta, portraying their life and times. The film addresses themes such as the role of farm and ranch women,  isolation and the need to improvise and be independent as well as neighbourly in order to survive, the freedom, beauty and joy of the open prairie rangeland, and more.

My third favourite short doc was “Classic Camera.” The title is actually the name of a camera store in Edmonton. The store is run by an 85-year-old gentleman, Wally Franiel. The store is full of non digital cameras and equipment from bygone days, although some still choose to use these old cameras. Wally is a wonderful eccentric, who enjoys telling many a tale.

I thoroughly enjoyed the Nordlys festival, and hope to go next year as well.

Canada Day 2015

Today, Canada Day, we celebrated Canada’s 148th birthday and the 50th anniversary of our flag. In my humble opinion, it is still one of the best places on earth to live. We are a very blessed and privileged nation. I wonder what our pioneer ancestors would think or say to us if they were with us today. At any rate, below are the photos I took of our Canada Day celebration here in Camrose, Alberta.

Kokopelli

Kokopelli

We enjoyed the Kokopelli choir from Edmonton, there were a couple of guest choir members from South Africa and Namibia, and most of the songs were, interestingly enough, African.

Colourful Canadian woman

Colourful Canadian woman

This person celebrated Canada with class!

All aboard!

All aboard!

This train was busy most of the day, providing rides around Mirror Lake.

 

 

Alma mater & church convention

From June 19-21, I attended our Alberta & the Territories Synod Convention at Camrose, held on my alma mater-then Camrose Lutheran College, now Augustana campus, University of Alberta. Those who are convention aficionados know that they can range from exciting, surprising and inspiring to boring and divisive and everything in-between. As a seasoned convention attender, I wouldn’t say this was the most exciting one I’ve ever witnessed, nor was it the most boring-rather, it was somewhere in-between. The most upbeat aspects of the convention for yours truly were: i) re-election of our bishop, the Rev Dr. Larry Kochendorfer on the first ballot; ii) the music and worship services; iii) the opportunity to visit with other colleagues and former parishioners whom I hadn’t seen for some time; iv) the keynote speaker, the Rev. Dr. Alan Roxburgh of the Missional Network, addressing, among other things, the new paradigmatic direction of Christendom in terms of what it means to be “missional,” and where God is leading the Church into the future and possible changes needed to be a part of that journey. Below are a some photos I shot of the ever-changing face of my alma mater campus.

New Performing Arts Centre to open this October

New Performing Arts Centre to open this October

Library with the young Luther statue in foreground

Library with the young Luther statue in foreground

The young Luther statue

The young Luther statue

Sign

Sign

Front shot of Luther statue

Front shot of Luther statue

Classroom building

Classroom building

Glen K. Johnson Faith & Life Centre

Glen K. Johnson Faith & Life Centre

Founder's Hall-in my day it was referred to as Old Main

Founder’s Hall-in my day it was referred to as Old Main

A wheelchair accessible elevator tower will be added to one end of Founder’s Hall.

L-R Colleagues: Rev. Ron & Rev. Dr. Gary

L-R Colleagues: Rev. Ron & Rev. Dr. Gary

Both colleagues helped carry some of our books for the book exchange table at the convention.

Colleague Rev. Howard & delegate Phyllis

Colleague Rev. Howard & delegate Phyllis

Re-elected Bishop Larry

Re-elected Bishop Larry

Synod banner

Synod banner

Elements of creation from each of our Synod Conferences

Elements of creation from each of our Synod Conferences

Synod delegates at work in session

Synod delegates at work in session

Another highlight of the convention was the celebration and recognition of those pastors who have served in the church for 25 years, 40 years, 50 years and 60 years. There were 10 clergy celebrating their 25 anniversary of ordination; 7 clergy celebrating their 40 anniversary of ordination; 6 clergy celebrating their 50 anniversary of ordination; and 3 clergy celebrating their 60 anniversary of ordination. I had the opportunity to chat briefly with the Rev. Barry Lyall, who was one of the 60-year clergy. I was amazed at his health and resilience, he told me that he still enjoys serving as a pulpit supply pastor.