Forest City Film Festival redoubles ambition

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They’ve got 46 films and a whole lot of ambition.

Organizers for the Forest City Film Festival — Oct. 26-29 at Wolf Performance Hall and Imagine Cinemas — say they want to double their attendance from their inaugural year.

Festival director Norm De Bono said 1,500 people attended last year’s event, a first for the Forest City Film Festival.

“We would like to double those numbers, if possible,” he said Thursday.

For the festival’s second season, organizers sifted through 77 submissions to narrow the program down.

De Bono points out that, unlike some other Ontario festivals that act as extensions of the Toronto International Film Festival, FCFF does not.

“We don’t do that. We don’t have any TIFF relationship,” he said.

There were 26 films at the 2016 edition of the fest.

At the same press conference, executive director Dorothy Downs called the program “an immersive and interactive” one.

Among the highlights:

  • The River of My Dreams, a biopic centring on Canadian performer Gordon Pinsent.
  • The Truth is in the Stars, a film hosted by Star Trek actor William Shatner on how the science-fiction franchise has influenced generations of fans — scientists among them.
  • Bon Cop Bad Cop 2, the sequel to the film about a franchophone Surete du Quebec officer teaming up with an anglophone Ontario Provincial Police officer to bust car thieves.
  • Violent, a film shot in Norway about five people who knew a young woman, their recollections coming to the fore during a catastrophic event.

“And they all have a relationship to Southwestern Ontario,” boasted De Bono.

The sound crew for Violent, for example, hails from the London region. “The sound design in this film is almost another character,” noted Downs.

Another notable movie to be screened is Kittie: Origins/Evolutions, a documentary about the all-female London heavy-metal group.

“Generously peppered with archival footage shot by the band, the film gives you an honest and brutal look at what it takes to survive in the music industry,” festival organizers announced in a statement.

Kittie was in the news last winter when bass player Trish Doan died in February at the age of 31.

Organizers stressed that ticket buyers can have a world-class cinema experience without travelling down the 401.

“Audiences do not have to go to Toronto,” said Downs, nor do they need to spend hours in line or lay out hundreds of dollars.

Tickets are available now. Day passes will go on sale now when the schedule is released Sept. 26, one month prior to the fest’s evening kickoff.

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