The first Central Alberta Film Festival was deemed an “overwhelming success” — meaning it will definitely be back next year, say organizers.
Independent movies and documentaries, features and shorts from across North America and from as far as Iraq were screened in two theatres at the Carnival Cinemas. Some 300 to 400 viewers came to the festival on Friday, and the same numbers were anticipated Saturday.
“Next year we might need three theatres,” said D. E. Busch, head of the festival’s jury.
“Even four,” added CAFF’s founder and president Ranjit Mullakady.
Having worked as a production manager in Bollywood, Mullakady decided to spearhead the Central Alberta Film Festival to bring some creative indie film culture to this region.
It was a huge undertaking, but his team received great community support. “I am overwhelmed… I have no words,” said Mullakady, who believes a bigger spot will have to be found for next year’s awards ceremony.
So much interest was expressed in public attendance at a festival wrap party at the Coconut Room in Sunworks on Saturday night that festivities were expanded to neighbouring Ross Street venues Forgotten Alley and To the Lost.
Praise for CAFF was expressed by members of the public, as well as filmmakers. A couple of producers told Busch they were so taken with the Central Alberta Film Festival they are inspired to start a similar indie film celebration in their city.
Mark Greczmiel, producer/director of the hockey film California Golden Seals (who’s also produced E! True Hollywood Story and other TV shows), said he was impressed by the professionalism of CAFF’s organizers, and thrilled with this chance to show his doc in Alberta — since many former Golden Seals live in Edmonton and Calgary.
Former Toronto resident Sandra Aigbinode attended CAFF with her friend Tanya Ring because she was a big fan of the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), and was happy to have a local opportunity to participate in indie film culture.
“It’s something different for us,” said Ring.
“And it’s good for the community,” added Aigbinode, who looks forward to next year’s event.