You don’t have to go to the bright lights of the big cities to see quality short films and documentaries.
For more than a decade, the Parrsboro Film Festival has been a place for films destined for bigger film festivals to test the waters.
This year’s edition of the popular small-town film showcase runs from Friday, Sept. 29, to Sunday, Oct. 1, at the Parrsboro Hall.
For a full listing of films and schedule, go to the film festival’s website: https://www.parrsborofilmfestival.com
“We’re really excited,” festival co-founder Lori Lynch said. “I think we have a very good program.”
The 13th edition of the Parrsboro Film Festival is set for Friday, Sept. 29, to Sunday, Oct. 1, with a full program of short and full films and documentaries and guest speakers Jackie Torrens, Shelley Thompson, Koumbie and Taylor Olson. Members of the organizing committee (from left) Ulrike Rockenbauer, Rena Kossatz, Steve Johnson, Lori Lynch and Janet Doble look over plans for the weekend. Missing from the photo are committee members Clarissa McCully, Krista Odlin, Rosemary Rowntree and Suzanne Gauthier.
As it has from the start, the festival been a showcase for Atlantic Canada’s films and filmmakers and has helped further launch the career of players like Ben Proudfoot, who first appeared in 2016 and is now an Academy Award winner, and Truro’s Cory Bowles, who has gone on to produce striking short films and is a popular director working in Los Angeles.
“One of the things we’ve always attempted to do is promote the film industry in Atlantic Canada,” Lynch said. “Whether it’s the films, the filmmakers or the content. There’s a strong connection to Atlantic Canada. It’s a way to support filmmakers in our area and to support the industry.”
This year’s speakers include Jackie Torrens, Shelley Thompson, Koumbie and Taylor Olson. There’s a short film competition on the second day with six films of five minutes or less and 11 in the 20 minutes and under category.
Cumberland municipal councillor Carrie Goodwin is applauding the word the festival’s organizers put into each year’s event.
“The volunteers who put this festival together every year are to be commended for their vision and effort to bring our community together showcasing works that we would not normally have access to,” said Goodwin, the councillor for District 8. “The film industry in Nova Scotia and the Atlantic provinces has a nuance that reflects the land and the people on both sides of the camera, to showcase our best assets.”
Some of the highlighted films over the weekend include Bernie Langille Wants to Know What Happened to Bernie Langille and Dawn, Her Dad and Tractor on Friday evening; The Ice Walk, Flying Sailor and Belle-ile-en-mer on Saturday afternoon; Bystanders and Bone Cage on Saturday night with The Beothuk Story and Ntoliwis Nil Wolastoq – My Name is Wolastoq on Sunday.
Lynch said there are so many great films made in Atlantic Canada that people in the region don’t get to see in theatres. Also, it’s difficult for residents and supporters of the region’s film industry to attend festivals in larger centres like Toronto – home of the world-famous Toronto International Film Festival.
“We wanted to have an opportunity to see some of these really great films that are made here and then go to a film festival before being out of our reach,” Lynch said. “I’ve often said to people that we’re like a second run of the Atlantic International Film Festival (Sept. 14 to 21), which is a second run of the Toronto International Film Festival.”
It also further bolsters the area’s reputation as a cultural hub in Cumberland County, building on events such as the International Plein Air Festival and the ongoing work of Parrsboro Creative and Ship’s Company Theatre.
For all three days, tickets are $75, while individual session tickets range from $10 to $30. Tickets are also transferable in case purchases can’t get to every show.