The second Forest City Film Festival ran from Thursday Oct. 26, 6PM to Sunday Oct. 29, 10PM with back-to-back programming of 46 films all with connections to the region. We started the festival with a sold-out preview night screening of the world premiere for Clearing the Way, a documentary about Canadian military engineers in Kandahar province Afghanistan from London director Paul Culliton. This was a powerful experience that will not soon be forgotten by those who were lucky enough to be there. The emotional night saw Silver Cross families, the loved ones of soldiers killed in action, joining military brass and soldiers profiled in the film, on stage at Wolf Performance Hall. We opened on Friday night with a special screening of the Truth is in the Stars, the documentary by Stratford filmmaker Craig Thompson featuring Williams Shatner’s study on Star Trek’s influence on science. We had 36 films in competition with 11 shorts, 11 short documentaries, three feature films and two documentaries and eight animations in our new category sponsored by Digital Extremes. We screened 10 films out of competition. Many of the films had someone from the creative team present for a Q&A after the screenings. The filmmakers had an opportunity to learn and network fromFriday through Sunday in eight industry workshops and panels. Audiences were engaged by asking questions at the Start.ca Q&A sessions and handing in ballots for the Old Oak Audience Choice Awards. They could then go and spend time in the Labatt Filmmaker Lounge to chat more one-on-one with filmmakers. It was a busy, full and engaging weekend of local film.
The inaugural Forest City Film Festival ran from Nov. 11 to Nov. 13, with back-to-back programming of twenty-eight films, all with connections to the region. We opened the festival with a fabulous sold-out Opening Gala Party and a screening of Room with a speech from screenwriter and Londoner, Emma Donoghue. We had twenty-two films in competition with ten shorts, eight short documentaries, three feature documentaries and one feature film. We screened six films out of competition. Many of the films had someone from the creative team present for a Q&A after their screenings. The filmmakers had an opportunity to learn and network at Saturday and Sunday morning industry workshops and panels. Audiences were engaged by asking questions at the start.ca Q&A sessions and by handing in ballots for the Audience Choice Awards. It was a busy, full and engaging weekend of film with local connections.