Entertainment Local

Barrie Film Festival opens Friday with documentary Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World

By Susan Doolan, Special to Postmedia Network

John McEnroe (Shia LaBeouf) and Björn Borg (Sverrir Gudnason) star in Borg vs. McEnroe, which will be included in this year’s Barrie Film Festival lineup. NEON/PHOTO

John McEnroe (Shia LaBeouf) and Björn Borg (Sverrir Gudnason) star in Borg vs. McEnroe, which will be included in this year’s Barrie Film Festival lineup. NEON/PHOTO

The Barrie Film Festival (BFF) celebrates 20 years with more films, more screenings and better parties.

Nine of the films are hot off last month’s Toronto International Film Festival, making it the most new films to hit the BFF to date.

This year’s festival also includes two retro picks.

The festival opens on Friday with the 2017 documentary Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World.

Rumble centres on the contributions Native Americans have made in shaping popular music, the missing chapter in the story of American Music.

The film won two audience awards at Hot Docs for Best Canadian Documentary and Best Documentary.

Actor/producer Jennifer Podemski will be on hand for a Q&A after the screening as she has worked with many of the people involved in the film. She has also helped organize some live music, including Indigenous talent, for the Opening Night Party, which follows the screening.

“It’s going to be exciting, almost like a pop-up idea, different talent performing throughout the night and our hope is they’ll (the musicians) jam together,” said BFF director Claudine Benoit.

The popular short-film showcase, awards presentation and filmmakers party follows on Saturday.

A few changes to tighten up the criteria (such as length of short films) meant less entries in the open category this year but resulted in 15 very strong contenders. Eight of the 15 had a local connection. In addition to the open category, which is worldwide, there is one for Simcoe County films and another is for high-school students across Canada.

The retro movies were selected by Benoit and Julinda Morrow, a BFF feature film programmer for many years. A change was made last year to a five-member programming committee, in part because of the sheer volume of films that need to be seen.

“Because of the 20th anniversary, we thought it would be cool to bring back some films from the past,” said Benoit, who chose Run Lola Run because it’s one of her favourite movies, yet for one reason or another, it has never been shown under the umbrella of any BFF programs. “It’s just one of those films (that are) so unique — experimental in the way it looks — it’s just an exciting movie. I love it.”

The 1998 German crime thriller won more than 28 international awards. It plays Thursday, Oct. 19 at 7:30 p.m.

Morrow’s choice was Still Crazy, a 1988 comedy drama from the UK. It centres on a 1970s rock phenomena that reunites for a concert after a nasty breakup. It plays Oct. 21 at 4:30 pm.

“It’s a very amusing feature film from the UK — has a lot of famous faces that you would recognize — and it’s just one of those fun comedies,” Benoit added.

There has been a lot of excitement around the nine TIFF films that are coming to Barrie. They range from Borg vs. McEnroe, which serves as the Gala Film Friday, Oct. 20, an after party follows; to Lucky, a love letter to Harry Dean Stanton on Oct. 15; Loving Vincent, the world’s first fully oil painted feature film, Oct. 19; and Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool starting Annette Bening, which is one of the closing films on Sunday, Oct. 22.

In between, there are films to suit just about every taste, from documentaries, to feature films, animation, from a variety of countries, including Canada and one, Porcupine Lake, that was partially filmed here. It will features all of the main cast for an in-person Q&A after the screening, Sunday, Oct. 15.

The Barrie Film Festival runs from Oct. 13-22. Screenings take place at the Uptown Theatre, located at 55 Dunlop St. W., in downtown Barrie. Showtimes vary.

Various packages are available, events and parties are ticketed separately. Individual film tickets are $10, available online at www.barriefilmfestival.ca as well as at the box office.

More details on all the films and events are available on the BFF website. 

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