Best Cascadian Film Award 2023 Nominees

Nominees for the 2023 CFTCA Best Cascadian Film Award

As the Cascadian Film and Television Critics Association, we believe that it is our moral duty to highlight local films and celebrate them. Our members represent the Cascadian region, which ignores country borders and instead marks the bioregion that connects us. As of right now we have members in British Columbia and Washington and we asked those members to nominate the best Cascadian films of the last year. There are three criteria that the films have to meet to be eligible. The director should either be from or based in Cascadia, the film should be shot in the region and the story must be reflective of the Cascadian experience. It isn’t a hard rule that all criteria must be met, but it ideally meets most of it. Below is a list of the five nominees we have for our first annual Best Cascadian Film award. The winner will be announced later this month.

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Riceboy Sleeps

Directed by Anthony Shim

So-Young, a single mother struggles to raise her son, Dong-Hyun, in Vancouver, British Columbia as the two adjust to immigrating to Canada in the early ‘90’s. Anthony Shim’s second full length film takes a look at the immigrant experience through the South Korean lens. The film takes place in Vancouver at a time when the Asian diaspora population was growing quickly but still struggling to fit in. The back half of the film deals with the older Dong-Hyun wanting to reconnect with his deceased fathers family back home in Korea and in So-Young agreeing to take him, she opens up old wounds.

Satan Wants You

Directed by Steve J Adams & Sean Horlor

The Satanic Panic caused the collective western world to lose its minds in the ‘90’s, believing that every musician, game and movie were not so subliminally imprinting satanic messaging into young people and more. Before Slayer supposedly recorded backwards messages onto their records there was Michelle Smith and Dr. Lawrence Pazder. Smith was a patient of Pazder’s and somehow managed to recall how when she was a child, her mother sold her to a satanic cult for a year where they performed all sorts of unspeakable acts on her. The two wrote a book and it became the inciting incident for what would become the Satanic Panic. Except they made it all up. Smith was in love with her therapist and Pazder was a grifter who saw dollar signs in his eyes. Directors Sean Horlor and Steve J. Adams tell the story of how sleepy Victoria, British Columbia became patient zero in an almost two decade bout of insanity combining interviews and recreations in their documentary.


Directed by Meredeth Hama-Brown

A Japanese-Canadian woman and her white husband decide to bring their family to a retreat to work on their marriage. Judith has just lost her mother and is struggling to deal with the pain, so she packs up Steve and their two daughters Stephanie and Emmy to Gabriola Island, British Columbia for some much needed therapy. Steve’s refusal to open himself up to vulnerability seriously hampers any progress that Judith is wanting to make. At the getaway they meet another interracial couple in Pat and Carol, and Pat is able to make a deep connection with Judith where his participation in the group therapy sessions and a stronger connection to his Asian heritage intrigues her. Add in a quasi-spiritual element with something, or someone, who may be haunting the younger daughter Emmy takes a traditional family drama to new and unexplored areas. Director Meredith Hama-Brown showcases the natural beauty of Vancouver Island while also showing the mystical and uncontrollable power the land has.

Until Branches Bend

Directed by Sophie Jarvis

Deep in the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia, Robin works at a peach cannery. One day she finds a wormhole in one of the peaches and brings it up to management. It gets quickly brushed aside, but Robin has her doubts. She brings the insect to an independent lab to have it analyzed and sure enough the beetle is an invasive species that could ruin the entire region’s crops. Just two years earlier invasive moths ruined the livelihood of everyone from farmers to tourism spots and naturally everyone is on edge and angry at Robin when she goes public with the find. Director Sophie Jarvis weaves a story where the narrator is so unsure if she is doing a just and moral thing or if the literal bugs infesting in crops are metaphorically infesting in her as well.  

Wild Goat Surf

Wild Goat Surf

Directed by Caitlyn Sponheimer

In Penticton, British Columbia, young Rell (who prefers to be called Goat) dreams of surfing just like her dad did when he was alive. The only problem is that the Okanagan Valley is about 700-kilometers away from Tofino, which means it is impossible to surf. Goat spends her days skateboarding around the trailer park she and her single mom, Jane, live in during the summer as they sublet their home to vacationers for extra cash. Goat is still reeling from the death of her father and with her mom working two jobs just to make ends meet she often lashes out and gets into trouble just to get any sort of attention. Caitlyn Sponheimer pulls triple duty on the film by directing, writing and playing Jane. While the story is a coming of age one for Goat, it’s also one of maturity and growth for Jane. The film ends with a touching final scene that takes place on Vancouver Island showing the variety the region has to offer.

Watch this space for the announcement of the winner later this month!