After a 14-year hiatus, the Thousand Islands Film Festival returns this weekend.
Under the heading “One Cold Weekend, Eight Hot Films,” the festival, which runs from Friday through Sunday, features a screening of Parasite, which won the Oscar for Best Picture, as well as visits from an Afghan diplomat and the executive director of the Canadian Film Institute.
“We’re certainly getting a lot of interest in Parasite. It’s had very strong advance sales,” said Film Brockville spokesman Tony Barnes.
Joking about “insider knowledge,” Barnes said Film Brockville booked Parasite long before it became the first foreign film to win Best Picture at the Academy Awards.
Film Brockville is hosting the local festival at the Brockville Arts Centre.
Film Brockville is a member of the Film Circuit, the Toronto International Film Festival’s national film outreach program.
The festival previously had to stop when Film Brockville switched venues from the arts centre to Galaxy Cinemas, where it benefited, at the time, from better screening technology but had fewer time slots.
“The opportunity to screen a weekend film festival at that venue was just not there,” said Barnes.
Just over a year ago, Film Brockville moved back to the arts centre, which has since upgraded its screening technology, said Barnes.
That opened up the opportunity to bring the festival back, and the organization hopes to make it an annual event, he added.
While Parasite is getting plenty of attention, the other films on the list are also impressive, said Barnes.
The screenings begin at 2 p.m. on Friday with Gordon Lightfoot: If You Could Read My Mind, a documentary about the legendary Canadian singer/songwriter.
That is followed at 7 p.m. by The Song of Names, a film by Quebec director François Girard about the search for a missing violin prodigy.
The screenings resume at 11 a.m. Saturday with Cannes Lions – International Festival of Creativity (The Most Creative Commercials from Around the World), followed by The Secret Marathon, about the defiance of women seeking to run in the Marathon of Afghanistan.
For the 2 p.m. screening of that film, shot on location in Afghanistan, the festival will be joined by Sayed Mujtaba Ahmadi, deputy chief of mission at the Afghan Embassy in Ottawa, who will give a short speech.
At 5 p.m., a reception and dinner on stage will feature an after-dinner chat with
Tom McSorley, executive director of the Canadian Film Institute, who is also an adjunct research professor of film studies at Carleton University, and film critic for CBC Radio One’s Ottawa Morning.
The festival will screen Parasite at 8 p.m. Saturday.
At 11 a.m. Sunday, the festival will feature all five of the 2020 Academy Award Nominated “Live Action Shorts,” followed by Dark Waters at 2 p.m. Starring Mark Ruffalo, Anne Hathaway, the film follows a corporate defense attorney who takes on an environmental lawsuit against a chemical company that exposes a long history of pollution.
The festival wraps up at 7 p.m. Sunday with Uncut Gems, starring Adam Sandler, the story of a once successful New York gem dealer facing the consequences of his gambling addiction.
More information about the film festival is available at the arts centre website, or by calling the box office at (613) 342-7122.