Films from across Canada, the U.S., and as far as Iraq will be screened next week at the first-ever Central Alberta Film Festival in Red Deer.
Ten feature films and 27 shorts were selected from 48 film submissions from around the globe. The 38 entries that made the cut — ranging from funny shorts to serious docs, and artistic narratives — can be seen on Friday, March 31, and Saturday, April 1, at the Carnival Cinema in Red Deer.
“We’re very excited” by the number of responses to the debut festival, as well as the quality of submissions, said Tanya Mullakady, the festival’s communications director. “For our first year, we were very thrilled. We almost could have gone for three days…”
Film festival patrons will have to opt for which films to see. Many are running simultaneously during the same time slots. Mullakady said a wide variety of subject matter will be featured.
The Kooman brothers of Red Deer are presenting their film on sex trafficking, She Has a Name, shot in Thailand. It will show Saturday afternoon opposite Pushing Dead, starring Danny Glover, about an HIV-positive guy who accidentally deposits a $100 birthday check and is dropped from his health plan for earning too much.
Other notable entries include Born and Reared, a look at life in Northern Ireland shortly after the violence ends, and The Caravan Film, following an eclectic group of horse riders across the American south. There are flicks on what went wrong for California’s Golden Seals hockey team, and about a man who falls in love with a dead girl.
One of the most controversial documentaries in the festival is Hush, by Indo-Albertan director, Punam Kumar Gill, who pushed her own feminist views aside to make an “honest, comprehensive” evaluation of the health information around abortion.
There’s also An Elder in the Making, concerning a Blackfoot man and a Chinese-Canadian man who make journeys of reconciliation. Mullakady said there’s been much buzz about this one on national media.
Among the local filmmakers featured is the Cache Project’s Ruben Tschetter, as well as Damian La Grange, who made an artistic video for his single Beautiful Distractions. (For a full program, show times and ticket prices, please visit cafilmfestival.ca.)
Mullakady anticipates a good-sized audiences at the festival, since people have already been pre-buying their tickets. It all starts with a free 2:30 to 4 p.m. kick-off party at the Carnival Cinemas on Friday and ends with a closing ceremony from 5-6 p.m. Saturday, when the jury winners will be announced. A victory celebration will then move to the Coconut Room at Sunworks on Saturday night (pre-bookings must be made through the festival’s website).