The Canadian Film Fest (CFF) is celebrating its 10th edition this year. The CFF returns to The Royal Cinema in Toronto from March 30 – April 2. To prepare you for the festival, founder and director, Bern Euler has taken time to answer a few questions and share more about the festival.
HM: For those new to Canadian Film Fest, could you please share how the festival came to be?
Bern Euler (BE): The Canadian Film Fest came to be out of my frustration. Why weren’t our films accessible on the big screen? I found this really weird and awful and wanted to do something about it.
HM: As an audience member, I appreciate the array of films the festival offers. Tell us more about your team’s selection process.
BE: Canadian filmmakers have so much diversity and breadth in our talent pool. We don’t just do dramas well; we do everything well. Every year it’s easy to showcase a crazy amount of films that include docs, comedies, scifi, art house, whatever. We have something for everyone. The only drawback to having so many filmmakers is the number of films that we had to say no to. Films that completely deserve to be shown but we just don’t have enough screen time! We could double our festival with those films.
HM: The CFF’s Harold Greenberg Screenwriting Competition is quite a lucrative contest. This year’s deadline has passed. But could you tell us more about excellent this initiative?
BE: The Harold Greenberg Fund is run by people who truly care what’s going on in the Canadian film community. They believe in the festival and wanted to support it by partnering on a new initiative aimed at getting writers, regardless of their credits, a chance at development and therefore a chance at getting their stories turned into film. Plus any writer would LOVE $10,000! The top scripts also make it on to our It List, which is a list of some of the best unproduced screenplays in Canada, a valuable resource for producers.
HM: The festival’s Industry Series has also evolved. What has been the response to this series thus far?
BE: It’s crazy. We are always sold out, and even talent that appears on our panels or in our Masterclass comes to us to share their knowledge. It’s such a great state of being for the community that these super-talented people want to share with others what they’ve learned so far.
HM: Any personal anecdotes about the festival you’d like to share… or perhaps festival highlights this year you’d like us to be aware of?
BE: Every year I get an audience member who has just visited the Canadian Film Fest for the first time pull me aside and speak about how amazing the film they just saw was. “Why haven’t I heard about this film?!” “Where can I see more?!” “Why aren’t there more films like this on the big screen?!” Well, that’s why we’re here.
My sentiments exactly! CFF opens with the Toronto premiere of Jeremy LaLonde’s How To Plan An Orgy In A Small Town, which is fresh off its U.S. premiere at Slamdance. Director X’s feature film debut Across The Line, with Stephan James and Sarah Jeffery, has its Toronto premiere as the closing night film. In between these two films, there are many other great features and short films for you to enjoy and support.
For film listings, schedule, and box office details, visit canfilmfest.ca. Some screening are already selling out, act fast!