The Brantford Film Festival has gone international.
The third annual three-day event kicks off on Thursday, Nov. 1, featuring films from Brantford, across Canada and around the world.
Films were submitted from the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Thailand, Israel, France, Italy, New Zealand, Switzerland, Spain and China.
“It’s pretty exciting,” said Josh Bean, executive director of the Brantford Arts Block, which runs the festival in partnership with the Brantford Public Library, the Brantford Film Group and Laurier Brantford. “When we first pitched the idea for a film festival we didn’t imagine it would end up like this.”
With films from around the globe screening at the festival, the community is exposed to films they wouldn’t normally have a chance to see. And that was the goal of the festival from the beginning, Bean said.
“You wouldn’t see a lot of these films otherwise without a festival,” he said. “These aren’t films you are going to see in a theatre or are going to show up on Netflix.
“A lot of them are really neat independent films that people have put creativity and energy into and it’s neat to have a venue like this to show people films and to give those people this exposure.”
This year’s festival features 56 films in six categories, including feature, short, aboriginal, documentary, student and local showcase. The films will be shown during 17 screenings taking place at various locations on the Laurier Brantford campus.
Films range from big-budget productions like Iron Road – a film starring Sam Neill and Peter O’Toole that follows a disguised Chinese girl searching for her long-lost father amid the construction of the Canadian National Railway – to smaller budget short films and student films like Hiding, a film about a family in a war-torn town trying to protect their son’s innocence.
“I think there is something for everyone,” Bean said. “There are zombie movies, love stories, documentaries, aboriginal films, action movies and comedies.”
Slawomir Dobrowolski and his students in the St. John’s College communication technology class created a 15-minute film offering a tour of Brantford’s Canadian Military Heritage Museum, featuring interviews with museum chair Rick Shaver and local veterans.
Their film, Encased in Memories, is the third in a series highlighting Remembrance Day in the community.
“We wanted to showcase our community, our veterans,” Dobrowolski said. “We are hoping more people will go see the museum – especially elementary and high school kids – and have them bring their families because there is an opportunity for us to be educated here on a local level.”
The entire film was created, directed, produced and promoted by Grade 11 and Grade 12 students and is the only film in the festival created locally.
“It was overwhelming (when we found out we were selected),” Dobrowolski said. “We are very pleased, especially since it’s 100 per cent student work and it’s proof to us that we can deliver quality work to the community.”
Tickets to the Brantford Film Festival cost $5 per screening, which includes two hours of films.
A gala awards ceremony will be held on Saturday, Nov. 3, where awards will be presented for best short film, feature film, documentary film, student film and the festival prize for best film at the 2012 Brantford Film Festival.
Visit www.brantfordfilmfestival.ca for ticket information and a full schedule.