Tuesday, November 30, 2021

AGH Film Festival Kicks Off on Friday

The twelfth edition of the Art Gallery of Hamilton Film Festival kicks off on Friday and festival organizers are excited to welcome audiences back to the theatre.

This year’s lineup features more than seventy full-length film screenings offered in-person and online. The Festival also includes over twenty-five short films, and a youth film challenge all offered as part of the festival’s hybrid model.

“Delivering our Festival online last year taught us the value and opportunity in presenting films virtually,” Festival Curator Ryan Ferguson said in a press release. “So we are excited about our new hybrid format this year.”

In-person events for the October 15-24 Festival will take place at three venues around Hamilton; the Art Gallery itself, the Playhouse Cinema and the Westdale Cinema.

Following the provincial vaccine mandate, all in-theatre festival screenings will require patrons to show proof of vaccination, as well as be masked for the duration of the performance unless eating or drinking.

The early response to the Festival was exceedingly positive, with the in-person screenings for some films already sold out. One of the sold out screenings is the world premiere of Festa, by Terrance Odette. Filmed over three days in June 2018, Festa examines Canada’s multiculturalism through the lens of Hamilton’s Fratellanza Racalmutese Club, which has celebrated Festa Maria SS. Del Monte, mirroring the event held annually in Racalmuto, Italy. While the premiere is sold out on October 22, tickets are still available to a morning screening on October 23.

The Festival’s opening night on October 15 will feature the film Wildhood, directed by Bretten Hannam. The film will be available to watch at the Westdale Cinema, or can be pre-ordered through the Festival to enjoy at home.

The Canadian drama film is centred around Link and his younger half-brother, Travis. The film follows the brothers on their journey to flee their abusive father, and Link’s discovery of his sexuality and Mi’kmaw heritage.

Wildhood won Telefilm Canada’s Pitch This! Competition at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival, where it premiered in 2021. It was filmed in Nova Scotia.

The short film program, available to watch at home, includes an entire series of eight films that were all made in Hamilton. The eighty-five minute program is available throughout the entire festival and includes films by Sedona Micale, Elizabeth Fraser, Yamini Makeshwar, Adam Richard Benish, Michael Mitchell, Simon Richards, Alyson Richards and Simon Ruscinski.

For aspiring filmmakers, the 2021 AGH Film Festival will also feature films from its fifth annual Youth Film Challenge. Filmmakers aged twenty-five and under were invited to create and submit a short film as part of this year’s festival. Finalists were selected by Lucy Mahoney; a Hamilton-based filmmaker and photographer currently studying film at Ryerson University.

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