2018 Season Launch - Recap!
Forest City Film Festival kicks off third season with award winning films and new programming.
A Hollywood classic, an international film that won top honours at the Sundance Film Festival and an expanded program to help local filmmakers, all headline the Forest City Film Festival’s third season.
The festival will screen 47 features, documentaries, short films, and even some animation, all with a connection to Southwestern Ontario, at Wolf Performance Hall, and two other venues in Downtown London from Oct. 24-28.
This season’s theme is one of innovation, featuring new offerings.
It will for the first time hold an International Screening, a powerful documentary about the Yazidi people fleeing persecution in Iraq, many of whom settled in London. On Her Shoulders, partly filmed in London, won the prestigious Sundance Film Festival’s best director prize earlier this year and was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize. It has been honored at nine film festivals, so far.
The Festival is also starting the tradition of the Flashback Friday Screening, with the classic film Breakfast Club featuring Londoner, John Kapelos, who played Carl the janitor, coming for a Q&A.“We are very excited about these new initiatives. We love these ideas so much that we plan on them becoming annual traditions at the festival,” said Dorothy Downs, executive director.
The festival begins with a Preview Night Oct. 24, with the thriller She Has A Name, filmed in Thailand. It is about human trafficking and was written by Andrew Kooman who lives in London.
On Oct. 25, the festival will officially hold its Lerners Opening Night Bash, with a screening of the feature film Drawer Boy, an award-winning movie based on the multi-award winning play which premiered at Blyth. Set in Huron County, it has won awards at eight film festivals and an ACTRA award, honoring film acting, for the lead.
Along with She Has A Name and Drawer Boy, Firecrackers rounds out the three official selections in the feature category for films in competition. It is premiering at the Toronto International Film Festival this year. Its lead actress won the Rising Star award at TIFF.
There will be five documentaries in competition, including one about the struggle of a young Palestinian woman in Gaza trying to get into the security forces, to a story of how a 1,500 year old tree became a sensational drum kit used by Neil Peart of Rush, a study of how comic book and cartoon character He-Man became a cult classic, to the story of a death metal rock band.
The short documentaries include the settling of Syrian families in London, to the story of elderly women in an African community struggling against violence, young men risking their lives to supply Hong Kong eateries with the most expensive dish in the world to the journey of a transgendered teen.
Films out of competition include Catwalk, about the fascinating world of cat shows, and Freaks and Geeks: The Documentary, about the making of the cult classic TV series. The festival ends Oct. 28 with a revamped TD Awards Night Celebration and screening of a 2017 Toronto International Film Festival selection, Cardinals, starring Stratford’s Sheila McCarthy which won multiple awards at Whistler and Vancouver film festivals, and an ACTRA for McCarthy.
Over three days, the festival will also feature a dozen Industry Sessions, workshops designed to help filmmakers better their craft, from audio production to cinematography, featuring top industry professionals.
Another innovation is the launch of the Forest City Youth Film Festival. The festival is currently laying the foundation for this event in 2019, open to all high school students in Southwestern Ontario.“What this lineup tells us is that audiences don't have to go to Toronto, wait in line for hours and spend hundreds of dollars, for world-class, festival films. It is happening right here in our region and the Forest City Film Festival is celebrating and nurturing that filmmaking, enriching arts and culture and industry right here in London and Southwestern Ontario,” said Downs.