Catching Up with Volunteers at Godzilla

Written by Vanessa Matsubara, 2022-2023 Powell Street Festival production staff 

This October, Powell Street Festival Society (PSFS) partnered with The Cinematheque to present Godzilla: King of Kaiju, a Halloween season film series saluting the epic reign of the kaiju king. We were glad to see the pop culture icon on the big screen and even happier to be able to invite Powell Street Festival volunteers and year-round volunteers to all sixteen films. 

Powell Street Festival Volunteer Appreciation Party (photo: Matthew Chun, 2022, 2023)

At the screening of ‘Terror of Mechagodzilla,’ I caught up with some friends whom I had not seen since August. I am grateful that the relationships I made can continue beyond the festival thanks to the various year-round events hosted by PSFS.

I know that I am not the only member who has made lifelong friends in this community and it is an important reason why so many people stay in touch. Volunteer and board member Kyle Yakashiro lists making friends, meeting nice people, seeing cool art, eating good food, and connecting to Japanese Canadian culture as reasons to be a part of the PSFS team. The community has been described by others as a group of welcoming, supportive individuals and a rewarding environment where people can connect and grow with support.

For me, the PSFS community has created a space where I have been able to grow not only professionally and academically, but also personally. Being a Japanese Canadian myself, the community has been crucial in helping me reconnect with my heritage and teaching me how to use my privileges and experiences to advocate for others. Another volunteer, Matthew Chun, added that since joining as a volunteer, he too, has experienced important societal perspectives that have made him reflect on a personal level.

You do not have to be Japanese Canadian or have a relation to the Downtown Eastside to become a member of the PSFS community. We welcome volunteers from all walks of life to join us to not only put on an amazing festival every summer but also to give back to and engage with others year-round. The Powell Street Festival community has been and will continue to be an environment where individuals can learn, share, connect, and flourish throughout the entire year.

Powell Street Festival Volunteer Appreciation Party (photo: Matthew Chun and Kyle Yakashiro, 2022, 2023)