VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – Organizers of the Vancouver International Film Festival have made a last minute decision to save Thursday night’s opening gala.  They announced that they will indeed go ahead with the event at the Rocky Mountaineer station, despite picketers at the venue.

Employees of Rocky Mountaineer have been locked out since June, but the film festival’s executive director Alan Franey says there was no indication of picketing action when they started organizing the gala.

Then, suddenly five unions announced they were not going to cross the picket lines.  Franey says after a day of discussions, they decided to go with their original plans.

“It will have an unfortunate impact on a lot of people hoping to attend.  We tried to find other accommodations, we thought about cancelling it and after spending a very, very busy day today consulting with as many people as we could, we decided as of 5 p.m. that we should go ahead [with it].”

Franey regrets unionized people and their supporters will not cross the picket lines, but he’s still hoping for a good festival.

Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson, for one, decided not to attend. About 1,500 people were expected at the gala, including international filmmakers, sponsors and local supporters.