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Get Reel! Festival to feature controversial films

By Diane Gilhula Warning! ItÂ?s hot! One hundred films will be screened over the next seven days at Cinefest 2002. This is the 14th year for the international film festival Â?the fourth-largest of its kind in Canada.
By Diane Gilhula

Warning! ItÂ?s hot! One hundred films will be screened over the next seven days at Cinefest 2002.

This is the 14th year for the international film festival Â?the fourth-largest of its kind in Canada. Jason Beaudry of Cinefest describes the range of films this year as amazingly diverse. The schedule includes a wide array of Canadian and international filmsÂ?everything from period pieces and comedies to controversial dramas and documentaries.

The festival starts tomorrow with a gala party. The films start Tuesday and continue until Sunday.

The first step in enjoying Cinefest is to pickup a program at the CINE+ theatre, says Beaudry, Â?and then make some selections whether it is one or two films, or up to 30 or more for dedicated cinephiles.Â? (check for the schedule)

Information on plots, stars and directors of all 100 Cinefest films is available online at

Beaudry attended the recent Toronto Film Festival. He says he was riveted by Michael MooreÂ?s film, which he doesnÂ?t think is Â?un-American.

Bowling For Columbine won the Cannes Film Festival 55th Anniversary Award. It will be shown Thursday at 7 pm at SilverCity. Some have said the satirical documentary Bowling For Columbine is especially horrific in the wake of Sept. 11, 2001. In a breathtaking opening, Moore reminds us the United States armed the terrorists it is fighting today.

This film about why the American pursuit of happiness is riddled with violence, will be one of the many outstanding and controversial films shown at this yearÂ?s Cinefest.

Beaudry says films by Canadian directors Atom Egoyan and David Cronenberg have always been well received by Greater Sudbury audiences going back to the very first years of Cinefest.

Beaudry says EgoyanÂ?s Ararat (Saturday gala) is Â?a very important film historically.Â? He expects many will attempt to see it even if they see nothing else because of the industry buzz. Ararat was the opening gala film presentation at the Toronto Film Festival.

Beaudry also highly recommends Standing In The Shadows of Motown as Â?a very enjoyable, and fun documentary.Â?

Bowling For Columbine is an uncompromising portrait of MooreÂ?s contemporaries who are haunted by a desire for security that pushes them to be surrounded by weapons.

The main thread of this documentary is the Columbine massacre where two students opened fire on their fellow students before turning the weapons against themselves.

The title is derived from the fact that the two students went bowling immediately prior to the massacre.

A memorable scene shows survivors of the Columbine massacre, accompanied by Moore, ask a department store not to sell any more ammunition. They are kicked out but return a few months later with the press and obtain against all odds a promise of a total withdrawal of ammunition from the store within three months. There is also actual security camera footage of the school massacre in the film.

Moore also confronts confused National Rifle Association President Charlton Heston. There is also an interview with the brother of one of the terrorists of the Oklahoma City bombing who used his farm as a lab to create homemade bombs.

EgoyanÂ?s film Ararat is about the Armenian genocide of the Turks that occurred in 1915. Egoyan is of Armenian descent, and both his parents were orphaned by the Armenian genocide.

This film has a stellar cast including Christopher Plummer, Brent Carver and Arsine Kahnjian. Kahnjian is Egoyan's wife, and she has been in all of his films. She is also of Armenian descent.

Ararat is a contemporary story of two estranged families and their search for reconciliation and truth. It is also a historical reenactment (a film within a film) being made by a famous Armenian director, Edward Saroyan whose production is based on Clarence UssherÂ?s actual book An American Physician in Turkey which depicts the Siege of Van, and the tragic events of 1915.

Armenia is a country of 3.3 million people in southwestern Asia. Present-day Armenia, and what is now eastern Turkey make up historic Armenia, the original homeland of the Armenian people. By 1915, the Turks had driven most Armenians out of western Armenia which became eastern Turkey.

In 1920, Russian Communists took control of eastern Armenia. In 1936, it became a separate Soviet republic. Armenia remained under Soviet control until 1991, when the people voted to become an independent nation.
Several million Armenians live outside of Armenia.

The opening gala for Cinefest Tuesday will be the latest feature, Bollywood/Hollywood, from acclaimed Canadian director Deepa Mehta. It will be shown Tuesday evening at CINE+, formerly the Odeon downtown, at 7 pm. A gala reception across the street at Market Square will follow.

Bollywood/Hollywood is a romantic comedy/musical about a dashing Toronto millionaire. It is the second time Mehta has opened Cinefest Sudbury. Sam and Me opened the festival in 1991. Another of her films, Fire, was an audience favourite in 1997.

The story centres on Rahul Seth who believes he is �Western� enough to rebel against his mother and grandmother, especially when it comes to marriage. When he is pressured to marry a good Indian girl, Rahul hires Sue an expensive, intelligent and fiercely independent escort to pose as his Indian fiancée.

All gala films will be screened at 7 pm at CINE+. Gala film tickets are $14. Admission is $8.50 for the film only. The other galas are The Heart of Me (U.K.), In America (Ireland/UK), 8 Femmes (France), and SundayÂ?s gala Spider (Canada).

The Heart of Me (U.K.) is a period piece set in 1930s London. WednesdayÂ?s gala stars Helena Bonham Carter.

In America (Ireland/UK), ThursdayÂ?s gala, is the story of an Irish family newly arrived in New York City.

There is a very strong weekend film lineup for cinephiles starting with FridayÂ?s gala 8 Femmes. It is a drama set in a snow-bound mansion in the 1950s. It stars the legendary French actress Catherine Deneuve. Francis Ozon, the director of 8 Femmes, is one of cinemaÂ?s brightest lights. Ozon is the focus of this yearÂ?s DirectorÂ?s Tribute program. Two of his other films. Under The Sand (2000) and Waterdrops On Burning Rocks (1999) will be shown this year as well.

As well this year, Cinefest will be a bigger learning experience as well as a good time. The Trade Forum Series is being expanded to offer five workshops for aspiring filmmakers. These workshops are all free, but seating must be reserved in advance by phoning 688-1234. Director Dwayne Beaver (The Rhino Brothers), Keith Campbell of CTV, Sylvia Sweeney of the National Film Board, and Len Pendergrast of the Ontario Media Development Corporation will be taking part in the first workshop of the Film Forum Series. Dennis Landry of Music, Film and Motion will be the moderator of Show Me The Money! Funding Your Film! Friday from 1:30 to 3:30 pm at the Best Western Hotel. The workshops are free.

The Cine+ theatre will be used for midnight madness and children films as well as the galas. All other films will be screened at SilverCity. Tickets to Cinefest films can be purchased at CINE+, Elm Tree Books, Black Cat Too, and GloriaÂ?s Convenience and Videos. Tickets are $8.50, and a book of 10 tickets is $55.