Long-time residents of Milton will recall Super A Video – a beloved home video store once located in the plaza at the corner of Ontario Street and Derry Road. It was there amidst the movie stacks that the idea for the Milton Film Festival was born. MFF Lead Programmer Katie Pearce says that’s where current Festival Founder and Director Jennifer Smith first began dreaming of the possibilities.
Pearce worked at Super A alongside Smith, and later took her love of film to the Post-Secondary level. Her degree provides her with the insight she needs to assist in the selection of Festival shorts. This year, she watched hundreds of film submissions from all over Canada to choose the final 10 which were presented before each feature film.
Jennifer Smith loves this year’s line-up of feature films. “The film I’m most excited about is “Parasite.” “When we saw it at the Toronto Film Festival – we knew we had to have it.” The comedy tragedy played on the second day of the Milton Film Festival and is nominated for 6 Oscars in 2020. Smith was also looking forward to the arrival of Kevin Hearn. The Barenaked Ladies frontman was in town to discuss the film “There Are No Fakes” – a documentary which covers the surprising controversy around a piece of art Hearn purchased by Indigenous Canadian Artist Norval Morrisseau.
This year’s Festival host, Indira NaidooHarris, was once a devoted customer at Super A video, and met the current MFF team almost 25 years ago. The former local politician is passionate about film, and studied it alongside her degree in Political Science. Also a host in 2019, the role entails MC’ing the opening event, presenting films, and moderating Q&A sessions. Indira explains, “When doing Q&A’s, you really want to get at what the filmmaker is trying to say.”
Guests at this year’s MFF Opening Night Gala Reception paused on the red carpet for photos before mingling in the Escarpment Hall and Holcim Gallery at the FirstOntario Arts Centre Milton. Ticket holders Diane and Jim Miller were in attendance, with tickets to all 8 films in hand. Diane says “We’re always the first to buy a ticket, but we share some with our friends.” This year, the long-time Festival supporters were looking forward to seeing 6 films.