So for the past year or so I’ve been slowly organizing a little film festival and “cinephile retreat” in small town Canada, the result of being totally blown away by this and wanting to do something similar on my home turf. Basically, I got together with my lifelong BFF Jen (who works at the Toronto Film Festival and who I’ve literally known since I was a fetus), and we just slowly started putting the pieces together. We picked a gorgeous little town near where the two of us grew up and literally started going door to door hoping to gauge some interest. For the first six months of planning, I genuinely never expected it to work out. But a mix of some grant funding (thanks Ontario Arts Council) and some fabulous enthusiasm from people wanting to help out turned out to be enough to get things off the ground, and now here we are: just one month to go. It has definitely been one of the most fulfilling things I’ve ever taken on, especially now that things are really coming together. Our full film program is now up, and only July 7th we’ll kick off four days of screenings, workshops, parties and merriment amidst what is truly one of the most picturesque communities in Ontario (fyi to those unaware: the festival takes place in Prince Edward County, which is roughly a 2.5 hour drive east of Toronto; and a 4 hour drive west of Montreal… some call it “Ontario’s ‘Provincetown'” by personally I’d peg it more as a Canadian version of Napa).
In keeping with the theme of community, the majority of screenings at the festival – a mix of Canadian and international, new and old, narrative and documentary, feature and short – will be on a first-come, first-serve basis with a suggested donation of $10. You can also buy (and this is definitely our recommendation, as otherwise we can’t guarantee you a seat) all access badges, which will get you into anything and everything Picturefest. They are available at the Festival Players booth in Books & Company in downtown Picton (289 Main Street) and online at www.countytix.ca. They cost $50 for adults and $35 for youth, students, seniors.
A quick walk through the schedule (via the press release I was up until 3am writing because, to be honest, if I’m mentally incapable of finding a new way to map this out):
The festival will kick off on Thursday, July 7th with a tribute to its own inspiration, “A Pilgrimage.” Preceded by a fantastic short film by director Matt Hulse that highlights that very event, Tilda Swinton and Mark Cousins have themselves chosen French comedic icon Jacques Tati’s charming and hilarious classic M. Hulot’s Holiday to open the festival at Picton’s historic (and newly renovated) Regent Theatre. The screening will be followed by a festive reception inside the theater.
Picturefest will continue Friday night in the neighbouring town of Bloomfield, where it will be all about young indie filmmakers. Recent Indie Spirit Award “Someone To Watch” winner Mike Ott’s Littlerock. The impressively improvised and subtly affecting film tells story of a Japanese brother and sister traveling to America who end up finding themselves exploring the social realms of Littlerock, California when their car breaks down. Directly following it will be 2010 Toronto Film Festival favourite You Are Here, from local director Daniel Cockburn. Featuring one of the final performances from great Canadian actress Tracy Wright, the film is a unique, clever (and difficult to encapsulate) take on our modern-day existence through the story of an archivist putting together something of a self-made puzzle.
The festival’s weekend will consist of 10 different screenings grouped together by genre. Saturday will kick off with 4 back-to-back documentaries in the newly renovated St. Andrew’s Church in downtown Picton: Harry Sutherland’s 1986 doc Track 2 – which chronicles the Toronto Bathhouse Raids, an iconic event in Canadian gay history – will have a rare theatrical screening; Legendary Canadian director Bruce MacDonald will screen his Music From The Big House, which documents Rita Chiarelli, an award-winning recording artist who takes a pilgrimage to the birthplace of the blues, the Louisiana State Maximum Security Penitentiary; Clio Barnard’s award-winning doc/narrative hybrid The Arbor – a stunning portrayal of the late playwright Andrea Dunbar – will make its way to Picton; and Cameron Yates’ The Canal Street Madam, which depicts with humour and sympathy the infamous New Orleans madam Jeanette Maier, will screen after an enthusiastic response at last year’s Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival.
The documentaries continue that night with a special outdoor screening of the epic National Parks Project at Picturefest’s campground in Picton. Celebrating the centenary of Parks Canada, the omnibus project brought together the likes of filmmakers Zacharius Kunuk, Peter Lynch, Daniel Cockburn, and John Walker, and musicians Sarah Harmer, Melissa Auf der Maur, Sam Roberts, Matt Mays, and The Besnard Lakes. In teams of 3 musicians and 1 filmmaker, they traveled to national parks in each of Canada’s 13 provinces and territories, creating 13 unique films that paint a considerable picture of the dramatic diversity of the Canadian wilderness.
Following National Parks, things will take a turn for the creepy with a midnight screening of Jon Knautz’s The Shrine around the campfire. The film follows a group of young journalists who investigate a cult said to practice human sacrifice, which may or may not lead them to become the cult’s next victims. The film will be followed by a party on the campgrounds.
Picturefest will wind down on Sunday with 2 programs of extraordinary short films. The first will be co-presented by Ouat Media, and include recent Academy Award-winning shorts God of Love (directed by Luke Maheny) and The Lost Thing (directed by Andrew Ruhemann and Shaun Tan) . The second will feature films from both the Toronto Student Film Festival and the Toronto Youth Shorts Film Festival, offering the best of both festivals and some of the most shining examples of the work of young Canadian filmmakers.
The short programs will be followed by a tribute to the incomparable Canadian playwright and filmmaker Daniel MacIvor. Curated by Toronto producer (and MacIvor’s former assistant and associate producer) Brad Horvath, the program will screen several of MacIvor’s short films as well as his beloved 2004 feature Wilby Wonderful, which features an all-star cast of Canadian actors including Paul Gross, Ellen Page, Sandra Oh, Callum Keith Rennie, Maury Chaykin and Rebecca Jenkins.
Finally, the festival will come to a close with a top secret sing-a-long screening of a film near and dear to Picturefest organizers’ hearts. It – like all films at Picturefest – will be preceded by a “moment” from Peter Lockyer’s Prince Edward County-based History Moments film series, which celebrates local history.
Besides the films, there will also be camping for our “youth retreat”. The official Picturefest camp will be open to anyone who signs up for our 4-day immersive filmmaking workshop, which will turn young budding filmmakers into a mini film crew with the help of two established filmmakers (and all around lovely people), Mr. Stephen Dunn and Mr. Pat Mills.
By the end of the festival, those in the workshops will be able to screen the culmination of their work during our closing night festivities.
Information about how to apply for the workshop/camp element of Picturefest is available at www.picturefest.ca. Applications are due by July 1st (on a first come, first serve basis) and you must be 16 years or older to participate (parental consent forms are a must for those under 18).
The Picturefest Camp will ALSO be open to anyone else – those coming in from out of town, or are local and just want to take part in the outdoor fun. Transportation to and from Toronto and Montreal will be organized. There will be limited space for both the transportation and the camp, so if this is something you’d be interested in (either the camping, the transport, or both), contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can pencil you in (we also have a partner hotel right in Picton if you’d prefer not to rough it.. again, e-mail us). It is 100% guaranteed to be the best time ever (did we mention there’s also amazing beaches, wineries, cheese factories, art galleries, cafes, and people… so it shouldn’t be hard to make up your mind here).
We couldn’t be more excited that this is all coming together, and have to express a remarkable gratitude the everyone that has helped us along the way so far. Everyone in the Picturefest Collective: Alexis Allison, Lynne Crocker, Colin Druhan, Stephen Dunn, Meagan Durlak, Michael Gorman, Brad Horvath, Alex Knegt, Gina Knegt, Shannon Linde, Ian Lefebvre, Jennifer MacFarlane, Pat Mills, Daniel Oron, Mike Rudolph, Natasha Ryan, Sebastian Speier, Kelly Thompson, Carlos Weisz and Milda Yoo.
Our partners and sponsors: Angeline’s, Books & Company, Crowe Productions, Electric Wallpaper, Festival Players, indieWIRE, Ontario Arts Council, Ouat Media, PIVOT, Quinte Film Alternative, Royal Bank of Canada, Sandbanks Vacations, Scout Design, Small Pond Arts, Sparkbox Studios, Toronto Student Film Festival, Toronto Youth Shorts Film Festival, The Waring House, Waupoos Winery…
And our friends: Alliance Films, Marina Apperley, Richard Barrett, Carol Bauer, Peter Blendell, A.J. Bond, Bryan Bondy, Lynn Braun, Brian Brooks, Jean Anne Carroll, Lisa Clapperton, Mark Cousins, Trevor Crowe, Krista Dalby, Paul deGroot, Rene Dick, Kerry Donnell, Lynne Donovan, Amy Doyle, Marion Ferrer, Alexandre Fida, Monika Fida, Anne Frank, Cathy Goddard, Michael Gorman, David Hamilton, Mark Haslam, Gail Henderson, Hot Docs, Andrea Kaye, Bill Knegt, Guntar Kravis, Peter Lockyar, Loyalist College, Judy & Keith MacFarlane, Daniel MacIvor, Chris McDonald, Katy McIntyre, Matt McKinnan, Jim McMillan, Penny Morris, Geoff Morrison, Anne Munro, Mile Murtanovski, Ryan J. Noth, Mike Ott, Chris Ouellette, Robin Pilon, Ken Popert, Chrissy Poitras, Ana Serrano, Mary Sinclair, Barry Silverthorn, Devon Sioui, Robin Smith, David Edward Sweet, Tilda Swinton, Dan Taylor, Toronto International Film Festival, Basil Tsiokos, Scott Whalen, Deanna Wong, Cameron Yates, Rick Zimmerman and, especially, Jennifer deGroot, Grace Scutella, and Audrey Wood: the fairy godmothers of Picton Picturefest.
The full schedule is after the jump, though first check out one of our truly amazing posters, designed (on a volunteer basis!) by very true friends of Picton Picturefest, Meagan Durlak and Sebastian Speier:
Thursday, July 7th
“Monsieur Hulot’s Holiday”
Directed by Jacques Tati
France, 1960, 83 min
7:30PM – The Regent Theatre
curated by Tilda Swinton & Mark Cousins; screening will be followed by a reception at the wine bar inside The Regent Theatre
Friday, July 8th
Directed by Mike Ott
USA, 2010, 84min
5:45pm – Bloomfield Town Hall
“You Are Here”
Directed by Daniel Cockburn
Canada, 2010, 98min
7:45pm – Bloomfield Town Hall
co-presented by Quinte Film Alternative; director in attendance
Saturday, July 9th
Directed by Harry Sutherland
Canada, 1986, 90min
12:00pm – St. Andrew’s Church
co-presented by Pink Triangle Press
“Music From The Big House”
Directed by Bruce McDonald
Canada, 2010, 90min
2:30pm – St. Andrew’s Church
co-presented by the Belleville International Documentary Festival
Directed by Clio Barnard
UK, 2010, 94 min
5:00pm – St. Andrew’s Church
“The Canal Street Madam”
Directed by Cameron Yates
USA, 2010, 90 min
7:00pm – St. Andrew’s Church
co-presented by indieWIRE
“The National Parks Project”
Directed by Louise Archambault, Keith Behrman, Daniel Cockburn, Hubert Davis, Sturla Gunnarsson, Zacharias Kunuk, Stéphane Lafleur, Peter Lynch, Catherine Martin, Kevin McMahon, Scott Smith, Jamie Travis, John Walker
Canada, 2011, 120 min
9:00pm – Small Pond Arts
filmmakers in attendance
Directed by Jon Knautz
Canada, 2010, 93 min
11:30pm – Small Pond Arts
Sunday, July 10th
Youth and Student Shorts Film Program
Various countries, 2010-11, 90min
12:00pm – Bloomfield Town Hall
co-presented by the Toronto Student Film Festival and the Toronto Youth Shorts Film Festival. Intermission in between 2 programs.
Award Winning Short Films From Around The World
Various countries, 2010-11, 71min
2:15pm – St. Andrew’s Church
co-presented by Ouat Media, North America’s largest short film distributor
Directed by Daniel MacIvor
Canada, 2004, 99min
4:00pm – St. Andrew’s Church
curated by Toronto producer (and MacIvor’s former assistant and associate producer) Brad Horvath, the program will screen several of MacIvor’s short films as well as his beloved 2004 …
Picturefest Youth Retreat Movie
Directed by Picturefest’s Class of 2011
6:00pm – St. Andrew’s Church
facilitated by Stephen Dunn and Pat Mills.
Secret Sing-a-Long Extravaganza
Directed by ????
6:30pm – St. Andrew’s Church
screening will be followed by a brief farewell to Picturefest onstage.
All access badges are available at Books & Company in Picton and online at www.countytix.ca for $50 ($35 for students/seniors). You can also just show up for all screenings: It’s first come, first serve and a $10 suggested donation.
For more information on the films, participating in Picturefest, or to set up interviews with the organizers, please contact: email@example.com or visit www.picturefest.ca.