Canadian film industry 'alive and well'

The Thousand Islands Film Festival committee was delighted when Tom McSorley accepted its invitation to talk at the fund-raising dinner Saturday evening, before the showing of the Academy-Award-winning film Parasite.

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What may have surprised his hosts is that McSorley was honoured to be there.

“It’s a privilege to be invited to the return of the Film Festival here, in Brockville. I’m honoured,” he said.

Nice comment from someone who is no nobody in our film industry.

McSorley is a recognizable name, depending on your radio listening habits, but if it includes the CBC, you may have heard his comments, as he is a former theatre critic for the broadcaster.

Author, scholar, and film critic McSorley resides in Ottawa and is the executive director on the Canadian Film Institute. He is a sessional lecturer in film studies at Carleton University.

The roads on Saturday favoured an easy trip down for the guest and he made all feel at ease with with an unpretentious and welcoming manner.

In an interview, McSorley commented on the film industry in Canada and the importance of small-town venues for that industry.

“Our film industry has had its challenges, but it is alive and well with a great future,” he said.

He sees these changes happening across the country.

“Our relatively small population, living next door to a huge film industry, had made things difficult for Canadian filmmakers,” he said.

“But we’ve seen Canadian cities like Toronto become a vibrant partner in the film industry, as the go-to city for U.S. filmmakers, where their dollar buys them more” he said.

“Though it’s still difficult for Canadian filmmakers to get films where we’d all like them, on the big screen, there’s lots of work in production in Canada for those interested in working in the film industry,” he said.

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The world of film has changed, with people empowered now with the ability to make their own films, produce them for relatively low budgets and get them out via the Internet, whether it be on YouTube or their own website, in a pay-to-view format, he said.

Small venues like Brockville give a chance for great little films that may only stay on the big screen for a couple of weeks, but are well-made and anticipated by moviegoers, to have a second life, he said.

Film Brockville is a member of the Film Circuit, the Toronto International Film Festival’s national film outreach program, which aims to broaden the exposure to cinema to smaller venues such as the Brockville Arts Centre.

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