Day One for Cinefest International Film Festival now in the books
It's 'lights, camera, action' once again in Sudbury as the Cinefest International Film Festival kicked off on Saturday with it's opening night gala.
Sponsored by CTV, the film "All My Puny Sorrows" made it's Cinefest debut after premiering earlier this month at the Toronto International Film Festival.
The film centres around the relationship involving two sisters who leave the Mennonite community after tragedy strikes their family. Shot and produced in North Bay, it's a homecoming of sorts for the film's creative team.
It's director, writer and producer, Toronto-based Michael McGowan was in town for the show.
"It's nice," he said. "This is the sixth time I've been up here for the film festival. It's the only film festival in the world that I can say has shown everyone of my films. Tammy and the whole crew are great and such supporters of my work."
McGowan added it was nice to be back in Sudbury considering the film was shot just down the highway.
"The Northern Ontario Heritage Fund makes it really attractive to shoot up here and I shot up here about 8 or 10 years ago and the quality of the crews, the infrastructure, everything about it, it's amazing how much it's grown and improved in that amount of time," he said.
It's a sentiment echoed by another one of the film's producers, Tyler Levine.
Levine says the crews in Northern Ontario are second to none.
"Minister Vic Fedeli was a big supporter of the project and it seemed every time someone had an issue that could have snowballed, somebody locally rolled up their sleeves but specifically with 'All My Puny Sorrows,' we were one of the first films to shoot at the beginning of the pandemic and at that time there were almost no cases in Northern Ontario so the fact that everything was handled so well in Northern Ontario in regards to the pandemic was one of the reasons why we brought the film here," he explained.
The film is an adaptation of the beloved Miriam Toews' novel.
They're hoping film-goers will leave having enjoyed the story telling and relationship between the two actresses.
"I think it's a transformative film where you'll both laugh and cry," said McGowan. "That's the response we're finding with audiences, they're taken on this emotional journey that's not intense but really takes them to an emotional place."
It's just one of the many films that Cinefest managing director Patrick O'Hearn is excited about over the coming days.
O'Hearn tells CTV News, his team has been busy trying to build on last year's pandemic event and working towards bettering an experience both for in-person and digital viewers.
"You know we looked at last year's event and obviously we had to reshape the way we do things and this year we took that model and expanded on it significantly so we have more films in theatre, we have more films online and you know it's been a great year of planning," he said.
"I think the team has worked really hard to scour the world for some great Canadian and international films and we're excited, you know we're ready to go and we can't wait to see audience reactions."
O'Hearn says the goal is to show maybe those who haven't been here before that there is a world class event in Sudbury that offers a chance to experience a lot when it comes to the global film output.
"When we look at recovery down the road, we're going to have a lot of that clientele base that we've built over the last while and we're going to be able to expand on tourism opportunities as well, so we're looking ahead," he said.
Cinefest runs with daily programming in-person and online until September 26, 2021.