The Pulse: Feb. 8, 2024

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  • -3°C: Cloudy. 30% chance of flurries in the morning. Periods of snow beginning near noon. Risk of freezing drizzle in the morning. Fog dissipating late in the morning. Wind up to 15 km/h. High minus 3. Wind chill near minus 8. UV index 1 or low. (forecast)

A marquee for Metro Cinema at the Garneau Theatre reads, "Where Community Meets Cinema."

How Metro Cinema puts community on the screen

By Colin Gallant

As Metro Cinema opens its annual call for community programming applications, the non-profit society expects to review roughly 70 proposals and commission up to 15 community-produced series and events — all to reach more people.

"It's written into our mandate that we are a community-based, not-for-profit society," Heather Noel, Metro's programming manager, told Taproot. "So we take that word 'community' really seriously. We want Edmonton as a city involved in deciding what we screen."

Sometimes guest-programmed series at Metro are so popular they become regulars. Nicole Boychuk, who writes about film, art, the occult, and culture on Substack, has organized Not Your Final Girl for the past three years. It explores feminism within horror and genre cinema. Reel Family Cinema, family-friendly films screened for free for children 12 and younger, began as a guest-programmed series. It is now part of Metro's regular calendar.

Submissions can be for one-off events, but Noel said the majority of successful proposals run for a month. This gives the programming team an "anchor" to centre other selections around. The online form includes fields for everything from basic contact details to more thoughtful prompts about a target audience, marketing ideas, and whether there's an option to add components like guest speakers.

Noel said applicants should give thought to answering the questions asked. "I think sometimes people rush the application because they're really excited about the movies they want to screen," she said. "What we're looking for is a way to give depth to the experience. So it's not just seeing a movie, but seeing it and understanding it within a greater context of film or its connections to real-world events, or communities, or whatnot."

Noel began as a volunteer with Metro's programming committee in 2014. She became the full-time programming manager in 2021. The role follows her experience co-owning Alternative Video Spot, which later became The Videodrome (now closed). She then spent seven-and-a-half years at The Film and Video Arts Society, better known as FAVA.

"It's my job to know a lot about the diversity of film, but there's just such a richness to what we can present when we're giving other people, who might have specific niche expertise, or who are connected to different community groups, a space to present films," Noel said. "Films that maybe aren't on our radar, or they are on our radar, but we haven't found a way to prioritize putting them into our programming. I think that helps us."

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Headlines: Feb. 8, 2024

By Kevin Holowack

  • Edmonton city council's urban planning committee has decided not to move forward with a dedicated shuttle bus service between downtown and the Edmonton International Airport because of cost concerns. Staff found the route would cost at least $10.3 million to launch and $2.5 million annually to operate. Council decided at the end of last year not to fund the proposed service as part of the current budget cycle. Coun. Anne Stevenson said that while the service would improve connectivity and reduce emissions, it falls below other priorities.
  • Council's executive committee approved renaming Oliver to Wîhkwêntôwin, the name recommended by the Oliver Community League. The name change still requires full council approval, which could happen later this month. City staff estimate that updating signs to reflect the new name will be completed by early 2025. Other landmarks, including Oliver Park and the future LRT stop in the area, will also use Wîhkwêntôwin in their names, while the Oliver School name will be decided by Edmonton Public Schools.
  • Students at some Edmonton schools participated in province-wide classroom walkouts around 10am on Feb. 7 in protest of the UCP government's proposed policies around gender identity and transgender youth. "As organizers, we made the executive decision to allow trans youth to have the microphone" and "talk about what they're going through," said Oliver Collins, a student at Victoria School of the Arts, where nearly 200 students walked out.
  • The Edmonton Police Service reported nine shootings in January 2024 compared to 19 in January 2023, a decrease of 53%. The police service attributed the numbers to its guns and gangs strategy.
  • Health experts in Alberta are warning of an increase in cases of invasive pneumococcal disease, a potentially life-threatening ailment that often strikes after a viral illness. Provincial data shows cases of invasive pneumococcal disease increased in 2023 after falling in 2020-2021 due to pandemic restrictions. The trend comes as Alberta, like the rest of Canada, faces a surge of strep A infections.
Aerial view of Mill Woods Town Centre and the Mill Woods Transit Centre

Calls for public engagement: Mill Woods TOD, downtown streetscapes, Hillview renewal

By Kevin Holowack

Here are opportunities to help shape the city's development by providing feedback on designs and proposals.

More input opportunities

Photo: Maclab Development Group requested a rezoning of 2331 66 Street NW at Mill Woods Town Centre, which the firm acquired in 2022. (Maclab Development Group)

A title card that reads Taproot Edmonton Calendar:

Happenings: Feb. 8, 2024

By Debbi Serafinchon

Here are some events happening today in the Edmonton area.

And here are some upcoming events to keep in mind:

Visit the beta version of the Taproot Edmonton Calendar for many more events in the Edmonton region.