With the holidays now over, and more snow fallen than we’ve seen in decades, many of us are yearning to get away, even if for just a weekend escape.
If you can’t physically get away, metaphorically, the seventh annual Aultsville Winter Film Festival promises to transport you around the world and across the ages.
The festival began as a complimentary event to the monthly film series, now in its 11th season, said Pam Maloney, co-coordinator of the festival, proceeds of which benefit Aultsville Theatre.
“It’s evolved into a community event. The people who come really look forward to it every year.”
The festival has grown over the years, now with between 150 and 200 people in attendance for each of the screenings, many of whom come from out of town and stay the entire weekend.
“It’s become a meeting of old friends every year. It’s a really great social atmosphere. People are here together for the whole week end, new friends are made, lots of great conversation,” said Maloney.
The weekend pass includes six films as well as two coffee hours and an onstage Saturday night reception.
“This gives the patrons time to chat about the films and what they thought,” said Mike Newman, co-coordinator, along with Maloney and Melanie Baker Brown. Research for the selection begins as early as summer.
“We work with the Toronto Film Festival group as to what’s available,” said Newman, a film connoisseur, who is looking for the “hidden gems and off-the-beaten-path kind of choices.”
This year’s offering includes three American films (The Queen of Versailles, Beasts of the Southern Wild, and Searching for Sugar Man), one from France (Farewell, My Queen), one from Canada (Inch’Allah), as well as last year’s winner of best foreign language film from Iran (A Separation).
The main events will be the local premier of Beast of the Southern Wild which is receiving a lot of year-end notices, as well as an award winning documentary, Searching for Sugar Man, said Newman.
This year’s selections are of a more dramatic nature.
“It reflects the times we’re in,” he said, “but everything has at least some levity in it.” People can buy tickets for the entire weekend event, which includes all of the receptions and the on-stage evening wine reception, or they can buy tickets for individual films, in advance or at the door, explains Maloney.
Proceeds from the festival will go towards refurbishment and operations of Aultsville Theatre, a non-profit organization.
“(We’re) always in need of extra funds to help keep the theatre alive in the community. It’s terrific to be able to offer this weekend festival right here so people can come in and see what this beautiful theatre has to offer.”
The cost for the entire weekend is $100 which includes six films and three receptions - $15 for each individual film.
“It’s a really great value (for) a really great weekend away here at home -a great thing to do with friends.”
Adding a local flavour to the festival, selected short films, by area high school students will be screened before each feature.
“It’s a great opportunity for the students to see their work on a big screen in front of an audience,” said Maloney.
The festival will be held from January 25th to 27th. All information about the festival and descriptions of the films can be found at www.aultsvilletheatre.com and tickets are available at the Civic Complex box office, or at the door.