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Creston movie directors to bring new film festival to Cranbrook

Bleeding Tree International Film Festival scheduled for Aug. 9 in Cranbrook
Bleeding Tree International Film Festival is Aug. 9 at Studio Stage Door in Cranbrook

A niche genre of film known as ‘dark drama’, that explores traumatic and socially pressing issues, will be shown in Cranbrook this summer at the Bleeding Tree International Film Festival.

Dark drama is a newly emerging genre of film that tows the line between drama and horror, covering formidable personal conflicts like addiction, sexual assault, death, political unrest, and even life-changing accidents.

The festival is a partnership between Creston filmmakers Kerry McArthur and Mark Wolfe, and Cranbrook Community Theatre. Screening takes place Aug. 9 at Studio Stage Door in Cranbrook.

McArthur said that while dark drama can conjure up the same feelings of fear and apprehension that horror can, it lacks key storyline elements found in scary movies.

“It’s not horror per se. It doesn’t have jump scares. It doesn’t have a villain in the closet with a knife. It doesn’t have those sorts of parameters, so it just doesn’t fit the genre of horror,” she explained.

“The root of dark drama is trauma … The film is about how the person actually deals with it. How do they cope with this? How do they come to grips with it in the end?” she added.

McArthur and Wolfe are well-known in the local film community, having founded the 7th Siding Festival of Film in Creston.

They were introduced to dark drama through a film that they directed called The Orchard, about a young man with a troubled past who inherits his grandfather’s orchard and suffers a pruning accident that reignites his addiction.

McArthur said they had no idea the movie they were creating was ‘dark drama,’ until a European film festival placed it in this category. This prompted her to start researching more about the genre, and she came to realise that there were really important themes in it.

“People are making these films about things that they’ve experienced personally, or things that they’ve experienced around them, that are relevant and pressing. These are important issues,” she said.

McArthur and Wolfe have already gotten a few international film submissions from Italy, Spain, Germany, the UK and the U.S, and they are currently searching for local film submissions as well. They’re accepting animation, student filmmaker, short documentary and feature film, and cash prizes will be awarded to the best films in each category.

To submit a film, reach out to

About the Author: Gillian Francis

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