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L.A. Beat

Lethbridge OnScreen film festival to showcase local talent and Indigenous artists

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Major cities like Calgary and Toronto have film festivals, so why not Lethbridge? Lethbridge has a thriving arts scene including a vibrant film community, so some of our talent and a lot of First Nations talent will be part of  the Lethbridge On Screen Film Festival, running at the Movie Mill and Galt Museum, Sept. 23 and 30, which happily coincides with Arts Days, Alberta Arts and Culture Day and Truth and Reconciliation Day.


“There is something for everyone. There’s short films, animation, silent films and more. And for Truth and Reconciliation days all of the films will be from Indigenous artists,“ enthused film co-ordinator Tess Mitchell, who has been putting the festival together for the past three months.



“I’m really excited about it. I’ve been involved in in  films since I was 16 when I was tearing tickets and making popcorn. This festival is going to be really beautiful and really special,” said the Lethbridgian, adding she has been part if the film industry in Canada and the United Kingdom for 20 years including a stint working for the  Edinburgh Film festival.


“The film industry in Lethbridge and Alberta is growing rapidly, and this film festival will bring some incredible movies to the screen in Lethbridge for the first time. All the work for the Lethbridge OnScreen Film Festival is by underrepresented communities to make more space for their vital and powerful contribution to the film industry,” she said.


 Most of the over 20 contributions are newer films including Darlene Naponse’s “ Stellar” and Anthony  Shim’s feature “Riceboy Sleeps” which were part of the TIFF film festival in Toronto earlier this month, though some of the Indigenous films are from the 1960s.

The festival features  Alexander Lasheras’ award winning science fiction horror film “ The Beehive.”

 Local stand upcomedian Faris Hytiaa’s first stand up comedy special “ Send Help,” which was filmed at the Owl Acoustic Lounge last August will premiere at the Movie Mill at 9 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 23.


Kylie Fineday, who is also part of Word on the Street has submitted a short film called “Love Me To The River.”


Another local contribution is from Sandra Lamouche, a multi-disciplinary artist and hoop dancer. She has submitted. four minute short “ Honouring the Children.”


“ We did an open call to get submissions and got a lot of response,” she said, adding there were a lot of  local films submitted including  some from  University of Lethbridge students and professors, National Film Board films and local contributions.


Film lengths run from one minute long shorts to a couple full length features.

 There will be animations, documentaries, comedies and  more experimental 3D contributions.

Festival features will screened at the Movie Mill, Sept. 23 from 2- 10 p.m.


There will be a short film spotlight on the same day—an encore screening of the short films specially selected for the festival. On Sept. 30,  An all Indigenous line up of films will light up our exhilarating new outdoor screen at the Galt Museum and Archives for Truth and Reconciliation Day.

  “ This is an event we hope we’ll be able to continue for many, many years,” Mitchell said.

 There will also be food trucks, free popcorn and more. Admission is free to all films thanks to sponsorship from the City of Lethbridge, Tourism Lethbridge and the Friends of the Galt Museum & Archives | Akaisamitohkanao’pa.

The schedule and film summaries are at

— by Richard Amery, L.A. beat Editor

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