First-Ever Blue Mountain Film Festival Highlights 25 Titles, Filmmakers and Picturesque Village
The first ever Blue Mountain Film Festival is in the books after five days of industry sessions, music, events, films and fantastic hospitality. As a movie buff, BMFF has been a refreshing opportunity to connect with industry participants, watch wonderful films, and explore the scenic Blue Mountain Village.
From June 1-5, Blue Mountain Town, Village and Blue Mountain Resort welcomed filmmakers, industry, media and moviegoers to connect and screen some of the 25 international films from around the world. It was a fantastic lineup of unique films with diverse international perspectives.
I’ve been covering film festivals for over 22 years now, and BMFF really kicked off in its first year. The festival team had a great plan, everything went so well and the lineup of events was really great.
Everyone I spoke to at the festival was excited about the future of BMFF, and we couldn’t help but wonder what they were planning for 2023, five years from now and a decade from now.
At the heart of the festival experience was Helen du Toit, General and Artistic Director of the Blue Mountain Film Festival, and she warmly welcomed festival-goers to each event with an irresistible spark. She obviously loves her job.
The lineup had a lot of movies I wanted to see, I just had to balance movie watching with industry events and sessions, so in the end I saw four movies, and they were all fantastic. My favorite was the brilliant, gripping and somewhat disturbing documentary Navalnyabout Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, but I also loved British drama and comedy The Phantom of the Openmaltese drama, Carmenand the bloody opening film, Slash/back.
Beyond the films, the conference sessions were intimate and compelling, with stories that offered a lot of insight into the films and the production.
Sound designer Jane Tattersall and executive producer Sheila Hockin sat down for 90 minutes to talk about Hockin’s work as a producer and how Tattersall creates soundscapes for film and television. Tattersall had amazing examples of his work, creating sound for Halo, vikings, The Handmaid’s Taleand All my little sorrowsto name a few.
As a fan of all their work, it was fascinating to hear a bit of what it takes to set the mood for a show like Halo, when all sound has to be created from scratch to feel futuristic and otherworldly.
Multi-talented director and artist Nyla Innuksuk also sat down later in the day to talk about Slash/back with Telefilm representative Adriana Chartrand and movie star Tasiana Shirley. They spoke at length about making the film in Pangnirtung, Nunavut, the incredible young stars, how Shirley learned a brand new role a week after filming, and how the story handles young people embracing their indigeneity.
Between sessions and films, the festival also hosted some great parties and events. Opening night was a treat on one of the side streets of Blue Mountain Village, with drinks, appetizers, and people meeting and talking about movies. I also loved the opportunity on day three to hang out with filmmaker Patricia Rozema, who directed In the forestand rewind Blue Mountain as she talked about making the film and what it took to create her vision for the story.
Then there was the Filmmakers On Top party, where Innuksuk received the Blue Mountain Emerging Filmmaker Award, and I had the chance to meet some of the sponsor team Urban Post Production and connect with more industry. The food was excellent and the view of the village from the Summitview lodge was stunning at sunset.
Also, I caught Ron Sexsmith playing in the village and earlier in the festival Symphony In The Village with the Toronto String Quartet as they played classics and opera classics from the movie .
The whole event was a real treat from start to finish, and it was a fun opportunity to explore the village, meet new people in the industry and learn from industry professionals . I can imagine BMFF evolving over time to take over Blue Mountain for a few days each spring. I also love the idea of a festival in such a unique location, a short drive from Toronto, and growing to support and grow the film industry in the region.
Thank you very much to the Blue Mountain Film Festival team, the Blue Mountain Resort and Village teams, and all the team who welcomed us so warmly, including Helen du Toit, Diana Sanchez, co-director of film programming, and Andrew Siegwart of the BMVA.
I’ll have reviews of the movies I’ve watched coming up, and below you can watch BMFF highlights. To learn more about the festival, visit bluemtnfilmfest.ca.
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