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Critics’ picks: Short Circuit fest; Africa Day; Eugene Smith

FILM What: Short Circuit Pacific Rim Film Festival Where: When: Through May 31 Tickets: $10 ($45 for festival pass) from eventbrite.

What: Short Circuit Pacific Rim Film Festival
When: Through May 31Tickets: $10 ($45 for festival pass) from
Why: The CineVic Society of Independent Filmmakers’ ninth annual film festival enters its third week with another slate of films and guests, all of which is hosted online through May 31. This year’s festival includes 50 films and filmmakers, with 25 regions around the Pacific Rim represented. The films — some are local, while others hail from as far away as China and Cambodia — are grouped thematically into 10 on-demand programs, and several directors will host Q&A sessions with audiences before the festival wraps. For the full program, visit

African Connections: Celebrating Africa Day
When: Tuesday, 9:45 a.m.
Tickets: Free
Why: This day-long online event honouring Africa Day will give five Vancouver Islanders the opportunity to share stories, art, dance, and music from their home country. Island-based men and women from Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Egypt are featured guests, but many more surprises are in store. Nanaimo dancer Tania Amaral (who is from Mozambique) has curated a family-friendly program that includes everything from dance demonstrations to an address from Nanaimo Mayor Leonard Krog.

What: Eugene Smith
When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Tickets: By Donation ($10/$15 suggested price) from
Why: A longtime local favourite, Eugene Smith kicks off the Cowichan Performing Arts Centre’s Stream Into Spring series from the centre’s wonderful stage. The venue’s expert streaming set-up (CPAC has been active throughout the pandemic with similar events) will give Smith all the tools he needs to succeed. The Cowichan Valley bluesman — an American by birth (his musician parents played with Duke Ellington, James Brown, and Louis Armstrong) — brings his own vibe to every concert he plays, so fans can expect the former member of Ronnie Hawkins and the Hawks to deliver a sizzling 60-minute set.