By News Editor Aislinn Cottell

VIU’s 11th Annual Urban Issues Film Festival will be held this month on November 4 from 3 – 9 pm in bldg. 250, rm. 125. The Festival is free to attend, includes a complimentary dinner of pizza, sushi, popcorn, and beverages, and will explore the theme of “Community Economic Development and the Public Good.” Space is limited, so those interested in attending are asked to register by searching “11th Annual Urban Issues Film Festival” at .

The Urban Issues Film Festival was first organized in 2006, after geography professor Don Alexander got wind of a conference hosted by the city that focused on urban issues.

“I was speaking to a colleague before the conference, and I said ‘you know, a lot of these ideas are kind of dry when talking about them, but what if they were shown through films?” Alexander said, “A picture is worth a thousand words.’”

The Festival is now coordinated each year with World Town Planning Day, an international day of celebration to recognize the achievements of community planners around the world. First established in 1949, World Town Planning Day is held on November 8, and more than 30 countries participate annually.

This year there are 10 films scheduled, covering issues from sustainable economic development, to a café/butcher shop in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside that’s providing employment and affordable food to locals, to the ongoing battle between big box stores and local businesses.

In addition, there will be a talk given by keynote speaker Marcia Nozick, founder and CEO of the Eastside Movement for Business and Economic Renewal Society (EMBERS). EMBERS is a registered community economic development charity working in the Vancouver Downtown Eastside and Surrey which provides job placements, training, and support to people on the street facing barriers such as substance abuse, recent release from prison, and economic difficulty.

A discussion period will be held after each film to allow participants to engage in conversation about the theme, providing “a great forum for different people to get together to discuss contemporary issues of the city,” according to Alexander.

The Urban Issues Film Festival is sponsored by the Planning Institute of BC North Island Chapter, the VIU Geography Department, the Geographic Student’s Union, and the Master of Community Planning Students’ Association. For more information, contact Alexander at

Aislinn is a third year Bachelor of Arts and Science student majoring in creative writing and minoring in chemistry. New to The Nav team this year, she’s enjoying finding out about all the interesting things happening on campus. Her hobbies include reading, drawing, Netflix, and the copious consumption of coffee.