Oakville’s film fest arrives: celebrities, premieres, galas

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Richard Landau

Richard Landau is a professional writer, broadcast executive, and creative director. He has won 41 television awards during his lengthy career. Currently, Richard resides in Oakville.

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If ticket sales are an indicator, Oakville’s film fest, in its fourth season, has arrived. The Willson Oakville Film Festival presents 19 feature-length films and 25 short subjects at two venues: the Oakville Centre for the Performing Arts and Film.ca on Speers Road, west of Kerr, June 23-25, 2017.

A Ghost Story, Oakville Film Festival 2017

Creative Credit: Ideaman Studios

“We are especially excited that we have secured a number of premieres and visits to the Festival by celebrity actors like Tyler Shaw and established filmmakers,” says Wendy Donnan, Festival Programmer and Founder. “From the responses of producers, distribution companies, and the Oakville public, it’s clear that our Festival has become an important event.”

Thanks to two gala events – one each on Friday and Saturday – this year’s Festival features double the show-biz glitz. Friday’s event starts with the screening of the fantasy/drama “A Ghost Story,” starring Oscar winner Casey Affleck and Oscar nominee co-star Rooney Mara. The Atlantic has pegged the film as a summer hit. Festival goers are getting the jump on the public as the world release date is July 7. A panel discussion follows the screening with: acclaimed Canadian Directors Gail Harvey and Maninder Chana, Telefilm Canada Feature Film Executive Dan Lyon, and Academy-award nominated Director Roger Goldby. Saturday’s gala is built around “The Meaning of Life,” a heart-warming story shot on location in Oakville. Cast and crew will be in attendance. Star and musician Tyler Shaw, will soon be touring alongside Selena Gomez, in support of his forthcoming album.

Oakville’s film fest includes all genres including family films from Canada and abroad,as well as receiving the enthusiastic support of chief sponsors Willson International, the Budds’ Premium Automotive Group, Film.ca and over a dozen other community businesses and organizations.

“Perhaps the best indicator of our Festival’s emergence is the growing number of local corporate sponsors that have signed up to help us build this event,” comments Tracey Luel, Festival Board Member. “They see the value in being part of something that has real momentum.”

The Meaning of Life, Movie, Oakville Film Festival

Creative Credit: North Film Co.

For film lovers
“We take our role as film curators seriously,” says Donnan. “I look for features and documentaries that will make attendees think deeply – and sometimes laugh and cry. As a filmmaker myself, I am partial to productions that are well crafted and innovative.”

As an example, she refers to “Broke,” a brilliant and thoughtful Australian feature film about a fading rugby star fighting addiction. It capably straddles the world of sport and individual struggle. The Festival team has organized a Q&A session to follow the film, featuring an expert on gambling and behavioural addictions.

And for those who wonder about the many blockbuster films based on comic book characters, Oakville’s film fest pick “Heroes Manufactured” takes us back to the roots. It’s about a Canadian independent comic artist trying to break into the comic book industry. The doc explores the reality of producing Super Heroes in a market saturated with artists, writers, celebrities, and cosplayer’s. It screens 3:30pm Sunday at Film.ca. Director Yaron Betany, will join Kitchener comic book artist Alfonso Espinos, who is the central character in the doc, for an after-film discussion.

“We strive for both educational and entertainment objectives,” says Donnan. “Our Festival invites attendees to explore, learn and stretch a little. Along with enlightening panel discussions, we have incorporated art, dance, performance, and music. This Festival is truly a film and arts festival.”



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