The Art Gallery of Hamilton will be hosting their 5th annual World Film Festival this September (20th-29th). A week and a half, over 40 films, and 8 venues. The tagline “Everyone’s a film critic” already welcomes the audience to think critically about the wide array of films they will see throughout the festival.
Aside from opening night, all tickets are $10 flat. There are even a few free screenings *applause*. There are quite a few ticketing options to choose from, and they are (regrettably) a little confusing to figure out. You can get single tickets, for a single screening. There are also 10-packs and 20-packs. You can use these for as many people as you want. For example, if you show up at a screening with your pack and 3 guests, a volunteer would remove 4 “tickets” from your pack. In addition, there is a Film Lover’s pass, which serves as unlimited access to all screenings for one person. Oh, and there are difference prices for Art Gallery members. Got all that? Here is a breakdown:
Don’t feel restricted as to which films you can see because of the venue- all are fairly easy to reach from all corners of Hamilton:
- The Art Gallery of Hamilton
- Empire Theatres, Jackson Square
- Silvercity Ancaster
- Silvercity Hamilton Mountain
- Starlite Drive-In
- Burlington Performing Arts Centre
- Hamilton Public Library
- Anchor Bar (inside Jackson Square)
While all the films in the festival have been chosen for their obvious merits, here are a few that we are especially excited for:
The Sapphires (Friday, September 20th, 7pm, Empire Theatres Jackson Square)
The chosen film for opening night celebrations, The Sapphires sets the tone for the theme of the subsequent celebrations. During the Vietnam War, four young girls native to the area are chosen to come together and entertain the troops. They showcase their musical talents to weary troops while learning cooperation, love, loss, and growth. After the screening, the “Big Swing Hollywood 5th Anniversary Celebration” will be held at the art gallery itself, just across the street from Jackson Square (my guess is that the era of the film inspired this swingin’ theme). This will be the biggest night of the festival, if only because of the dance party, dance lessons, and beer tasting. Admission is also free—quite a unique way to spend your Friday night.
Hungry For Change (Saturday, September 21st, 4pm, Hamilton Public Library)
The central library branch will have a free screening of this enticing documentary. Hungry for Change discusses and exposes the secrets of the diet and weight loss industry. Though interviews with authors, experts, and everyday people who have been through the vicious cycle of dieting, audiences will find out why these tactics just don’t work and how to keep their bodies happy and healthy. Look forward to an expert panel following the film, made up of Hamiltonians leading healthy change: Janet Jacks, Founder of Goodness Me! Natural Food Markets; Chris Krucker of Manorun Farm; Russ Ohrt of Backyard Harvest; and Chad Marcotte of Chad Marcotte Fitness.
Kon-Tiki (Monday, September 23rd, 4pm, Ancaster Silvercity)
Nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the academy awards, Kon-Tiki shows the true story of a Norwegian explorer and his incredible goal. In 1947, together with five men, he crafted a balsa wood raft and sailed across the Pacific (to prove that pre-Columbian South Americans could have similarly done so and settled new lands). The events surrounding the voyage make up the bulk of the story. The sheer magnitude of the ocean versus their tiny balsa wood craft gives me shivers—the good kind. Look forward to a good man-triumphing-over-nature tale.
Much Ado About Nothing (Wednesday, September 25th, 4pm, Ancaster Silvercity)
Joss Whedon’s adaptation of Shakespeare’s comedy has been playing at Westdale Theatre for the last couple weeks. Needless to say, it’s been a-buzz among students with countless positive reviews and enthusiastic recommendations. Shot in only 12 days, the classic tale is given a modern twist while still being true to Shakespeare (the original text is used). Remarks by Peter Cockett, Assistant Professor in the Theatre and Film Studies Program at McMaster University to precede the screening.
The Kings of Summer (Thursday, September 26th, 4pm, Silvercity Hamilton Mountain)
The coming-of-age story will make you nostalgic for youth or even the recently-ended summer months. Over a summer, three friends band together and decide to build a house in the woods while surviving off the land. As the boys begin to free themselves from rules and guidance, they discover how strong friendship and family really is. This one’s bound to be a surprise heart-wrencher that will leave you with those feel-good fuzzies upon leaving the theatre.
From up on Poppy Hill (Sunday, September 28th, 1pm, Hamilton Public Library Central Branch)
The story’s focus is a blossoming romance between two young high school students in Yokohama. It is 1963 and the town (and the rest of Japan) is still in a devastating state from the events of the Second World War. While Umi and Shun (our star-crossed lovers) are brimming with the optimism of youth, the conflict around them and troubled nature of the past eventually begins to interfere with their relationship, and their ultimate goal of saving an old clubhouse from demolition.
Canada’s Top Ten Shorts (Tuesday, September 24th, 4pm; Thursday, September 26th, 4pm, Anchor Bar)
This is a cool (and FREE) event offered by the festival. See Canada’s top ten short films over the course of two days while enjoying the atmosphere of Anchor Bar (self-proclaimed “home of the original buffalo chicken wing). If you are new to film festivals, or don’t have a lot of time to catch some of the films, this is a good way to get a fulfilling film experience from the event.
Starlite Drive-In Double Feature (Wednesday, September 25th, starting at 7:30pm)
There is also the addition of Starlite Drive-In as a venue this year. The ticket pricing is a little different from the rest of the films in the festival: $20 a carload, for two films played back-to-back in drive-in fashion. The Legend of Sarila and 20 Feet From Stardom are an interesting pairing for the venue. The former is Canada’s first animated 3D feature, about loss and adventure in the tundra. The latter highlights the stories of backup artists of the 21st century and how influential they were on music and culture, despite being literally “20 feet” away from true stardom. Though there is a brief parental advisory warning for The Legend of Sarila, it is mainly for scenes of animal and human death and strong representation of good and evil. So, the double-feature is a good choice for a family that wants to take in the festival for a fairly low price.