Re: The letter from Martha Solomon in the Sept. 11 edition of KTW, objecting to the Kamloops Film Society’s decision to screen the film Unplanned at the Paramount Theatre on Sept. 27, Sept. 28 and Sept. 29 (‘Screening film is a bad plan’):
In April, the Kamloops Film Society was given the unique opportunity to operate the Paramount Theatre.
Rather than rent space from the former owners — Landmark Canada — for the Thursday film series and annual March Film Festival, the society was able to expand its own programming.
At the same time, the film society was committed to providing a downtown venue for community use.
Since we re-opened the theatre in June, we have shown society-sponsored films, but also have rented out the facilities to such groups as the Kamloops Brain Injury Association, local filmmaker Russell Walton for the screening of Peaks and Valleys: The Search for Ryan Shtuka and the Kamloops Komedy Festival.
The society board is committed to meeting community needs beyond the interests of our loyal patrons and is continuing to offer the theatre as a venue for private rentals.
Despite knowing Unplanned is a controversial film and, in the view of many, may be disturbing and hurtful to some — if not most — in our community, the society’s board of directors approved the rental.
Unlike a situation in which hate speech and other illegal activity is involved, which would bar groups from renting the facility, in our view, controversial material should not be excluded.
We do not feel we should act as censors or judges of individual rights.
In its own programming over the more than 40 years of our existence, the society itself has screened a number of controversial films, some of which I am sure may have disturbed some in our community.
Many others have celebrated diversity and served to empower women, trans and non-binary fellow citizens.
My fellow board members and I stand by our decision.
Chair, Kamloops Film Society