This article discusses mental illness and suicide and may be triggering for some readers. The Canadian Mental Health Association Crisis Line can be reached at 1-800-875-6213.
Passionate film lovers who entered theatres at the Screening Room and the Isabel Bader Centre received the full in-person experience of the Kingston Canadian Film Festival (KCFF).
While theatres were at half capacity, a respectable number of spectators attended. Many were excited to get out and see a movie in-person, some for their first time in two years.
KCFF’s eight in-person screenings closely replicated the traditional movie-going experience of pre-COVID times—albeit with masks, vaccination passports, and limited concessions.
Many special guests were in attendance for post-screening Q&A sessions, providing spectators the opportunity to ask filmmakers and actors about their movies and the filming process.
The festival’s films varied in subject matter, with many highlighting important, relevant, and often heavy topics, making for an emotionally moving and
thought-provoking viewing experience.
All My Puny Sorrows
The festival opened on Mar. 3 at the Isabel with All My Puny Sorrows, an adaptation of Miriam Toews’ beloved novel.
The film deals with topics of depression and suicide, exploring the trauma and grief experienced by loved ones after losing someone to suicide.
Yoli, who comes from a family with a long history of suicide, finds herself reliving the trauma of her father’s unexpected passing when her sister, Elf, threatens to do the same.
Writer-director Michael McGowan depicted each of the female characters with great depth and highlighted the strong love shared within their family, ultimately creating a powerful connection between the story and the
While All My Puny Sorrows includes serious topics, it’s quick-witted dialogue offers much-needed moments of levity. In his live Q&A session, McGowan said these humorous lines were thoughtfully timed to ensure they served a purpose, establishing tone and characters’ personalities rather than forcing jokes in at random moments.
When introducing the film, McGowan’s final words, delivered in only a partially joking manner, perfectly foreshadowed Thursday’s screening experience: “It’s hard to cry with masks on.”
Run Woman Run
The Screening Room showed Zoe Leigh Hopkins’ Run Woman Run on Mar. 5.
The film follows Beck, a single mother reluctantly taking steps to improve her health after suffering a scare that divides her family.
In the beginning, Beck is stubbornly determined to maintain her lifestyle of eating unhealthily and comically driving to the end of her driveway to check her mailbox.
Beck’s stubbornness and refusal to take her diabetes diagnosis seriously is what ultimately weakens her once-strong relationships with family members.
However, when Beck encounters a ghostly Tom Longboat, a legendary Onondaga marathon champion and dispatch runner from WWI, she realizes her strength lies within her unconditional love for her family, culture, and ultimately, herself.
The film also highlights Beck’s relationship with her Indigenous heritage as she undergoes a journey of reconnecting with her culture and its language.
In a live Q&A, co-producer Paula Devonshire noted the film’s dedication to hiring Indigenous actors and production crew. With the film set in the Six Nations, the team hired residents from the community, which was important to Hopkins and the producers.
Run Woman Run causes viewers to reflect on the ways family and culture give life meaning, strength, and love. Its story highlights the often-overlooked values of life and asks the audience to honour them, just as Beck learns to do.
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