This year’s Kingston Canadian Film Festival (KCFF) marks the 15th anniversary of the largest stand-alone showcase of Canadian film in the world.
With such a strong history behind it, many attendees had high hopes for this weekend’s film festival, and the opening film didn’t disappoint.
The first event of KCFF was a screening of the film Big News from Grand Rock at City Hall.
The film – which was shot in Midland, Ont. – focuses on small town journalist Leonard Crane’s efforts to revive a failing local newspaper. The film puts a comedic twist on the troubles Crane encounters in his well-meaning efforts to support local journalism.
The recognizable location of the film was a point of interest for many attendees – it evoked a sense of nostalgia connected with a small town setting.
During the question and answer period that followed the film screening, writer-director Daniel Perlmutter discussed his unique choice of Midland for filming.
“My wife had family in Midland and I actually worked on the script up there, but I never really thought of it as an option,” Perlmutter said. “One day I was up there and I said this is kind of what I’ve been writing about the whole time.”
He went on to discuss the advantages of working in a place like Midland, where the film was able to capture the authentic essence of a small town.
Perlmutter also expressed interest in possibly developing a television series to accompany Big News from Grand Rock , and is currently working on another comedy.
The reception following the screening took place at the Delta Kingston Waterfront Hotel and offered an opportunity to discuss the grand opening film with other attendees and volunteers at the Kingston Canadian Film Festival.
Kelly Bolen, a volunteer with the Kingston Canadian Film Festival, expressed her enthusiasm for the film festival weekend.
“I volunteered for the last three years. I’m a huge cinephile, so anything film related I’m pretty happy about,” Bolen said.
She also shared her thoughts on what makes the Kingston Film Festival special.
“I love the fact that so many local shorts are part of the festival, “ she said.
“A Canadian festival that lasts four days is pretty impressive. I lived in other cities and I’ve never seen anything that extensive for a Canadian based film festival before. “
Shawn Barbar, a first-time film festival attendee, shared his thoughts on the film.
“My sister in law works at the film festival and she convinced me to come. I’m from a small town so I was trying to figure out where it was filmed. It could have been a lot of places in Ontario,” he said.
Queen’s students have also been getting involved in KCFF, and the festival features many original films directed and created by students.
Sara Muma, ArtSci ’17, has been involved in the KCFF for two years now. Last year, she worked as a volunteer for the festival and this year an original short film project that she co-produced will be playing at the festival on Saturday night during the “local short film” program.
The short film is a documentary style piece that focuses on the Viva Voce youth storytelling program at Frontenac Library. She co-produced it with classmates Sydney Urbanek, ArtSci ‘17, Melissa Prince, ArtSci ’17, and Stephanie McCol, ArtSci ’17.
“I’m excited to see what the crowd thinks of it and see it on a but of a bigger screen,” Muma said.
“We’ve only ever really watched it in class so I think it’ll be interesting to have it play to a different audience other than our peers.”
According to Muma, the best part of the KCFF from a student perspective is the opportunity to receive feedback from industry experts and audiences alike.
“The great thing about the film festival for students is that it’s a chance to talk to people who are actually in the film industry right now,” she said.
“I think that’s a really unique experience to be able to actually talk one-on-one with them and get some questions in.”
With files from Olivia Loncar-Bartolini
KCFF runs at various locations until tomorrow. For a full list of events, visit kingcanfilmfest.com
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