Fort Macleod prepares for massive film festival

The Empress Theatre in conjunction with the Southern Alberta Art Gallery and  CinemaImagine are preparing for their first of what they hope will become an annual film festival, Oct. 15-17 in Fort Macleod.
With the help of a Rural Alberta Development grant, organizers have collected seven professionally produced films including some which have played at the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes , France, as well as 14 shorts from all over Southern Alberta, Medicine Hat, Winnipeg and even two French language films from Quebec.
“It’s sort of a mix of  regular film festival  shows which are professionally produced and also showcases more independent films, ” explained Colin McCarthy, one of the festival organizers, adding there is still time to submit shorts before the Sept. 28 deadline.David Cronenberg
 “There’s no  specific genre requirement as long as it’s some sort of a film, not just something shot on a cell phone of a friend doing something. It’s got to be more than just a 10 second clip.Though an entire story shot on a cell phone would be pretty cool,” McCarthy added. The shorts will be judged by the audience  to close off the festival, at 7:30, Oct. 17. The best one receives a $500 honorarium.
“We haven’t seen any of them (the shorts) yet. We’re waiting to see them as a group,” McCarthy enthused adding each individual or group can submit up to three films under 90 minutes each in a DVD format along with the names of the director, producer and contact information.
The film festival opens at  7 p.m., Oct. 15 with “To Each His Own Cinema (Chacun Son Cinema)” which is a collection of 34 short films  first shown at the Cannes film festival by 36 acclaimed directors including David Cronenberg, David Lynch and Gus van Sandt.
 It will be followed by “It Might Get Loud,” a documentary about the electric guitar shot from the perspective of the Edge (U2), Jimmy Page (Led Zeppelin) and Jack White of the White Stripes.
The Oct. 16  shows begin at 7:30 p.m. with “Fear(s) of the Dark which examines common fears in  six different animation and  drawing styles. It will be followed by “Cooper’s Camera” at 9:30 p.m. “Cooper’s Camera” is an SCTV  and Kids in the Hall inspired film about Gord Cooper who receives a VHS video camera fro Christmas 1985 and is eager to capture every little detail of the holiday while his pregnant wife who wants to film her husband’s brother Tim.
The films begin at noon, Oct. 17 with “Tokyo”, an examination of the famous Japanese capital by  three renown film makers, Bong Joon -Ho, Leos Carax and Michel Gondry, best known for  his film “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.”
It will be followed at 2:30 with “Ce’est pas moi, je le jour!,” a Phillipe Falardeau film about problem child Leon Dore who almost accidentally hangs himself in 1968 before his mother saves him and ends up moving him to Greece to start a new life with her and has numerous adventures along the way including destroying the neighbour’s house, becoming a professional liar and even falling in love.
The last film is at 4:30 p.m. with “Away We Go” A Sam Mendes film about  a very pregnant Veronica and her nerdy but affable partner Burt. Burt’s parents tell them they are moving to Belgium, leading the couple to hit the road to find the best place to raise their child.
McCarthy siad the group is also working on guest speakers including  director/producer and writer Jean Patenaude, who will tell the audiences how he got started in the movie business. They are shoring up  a second speaker, Calgary based independent film maker Gary Burns.
“We’re hoping there will be enough interest so we can do it again every year. I think a lot of independent artists and film makers like that this is going on,” McCarthy said.
Admission is $7 per film or a weekend pass for $45. Tickets can be obtained at the Southern Alberta Art Gallery and the Empress Theatre. More information about the festival can be found at or by phoning 403-553-4404
 — By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat editor