Annual event goes hybrid, with screenings in the theatre and online
The 10th Annual Milton Film Festival is celebrating this special year with a return to inperson screenings at the FirstOntario Arts Centre Milton, and a big VIP after-party at the prestigious Marquee Steakhouse.
The Festival was conceived in 2013 by Jennifer Smith and Katie Pearce, co-workers at the now-defunct Super ‘A’ Video store, who wanted to bring festival-quality independent and Canadian films to Milton in a theatre setting.
With the Town’s brand new arts centre available as a venue, and in partnership with the TIFF Film Circuit program, the first Milton Film Festival opened on January 11th, 2014 with the beautiful Spanish silent feature film BLANCANIEVES – still one of the best loved films in the festival’s history.
The 2023 Festival begins with five virtual screenings, available online January 25th through the 31st. Theatrical screenings open Friday January 27th with eight feature films being screened over course of the weekend. The film selections include some of the most highly acclaimed films of the year, with more than half by Canadian filmmakers and almost as many by women directors. Most films will feature interviews and Q&A sessions with special guests. The Opening Night Feature is, appropriately, I LIKE MOVIES – a funny and endearing portrait of a movie-obsessed teenager trying to pay his way into film school by working at a video store. Set in Burlington in the early 2000s, the film is the feature debut of film critic and former
Burlington video store clerk Chandler Levack, and has been chosen as one of Canada’s Top Ten 2022 films by TIFF.
As a fitting end, the closing film of the festival is the British documentary A BUNCH OF AMATEURS, about members of Britain’s oldest amateur filmmaking club as they struggle with a declining and aging membership, dwindling funds, a crumbling club house, and of course the pandemic.
Other theatrical feature films include:
• AFTERSUN – Saturday Night Gala – One of the most celebrated films of the year, about a young girl’s pivotal vacation with her father.
• THE SWEARING JAR – Acclaimed, heartwarming romantic drama by Lindsay MacKay (Wet Bum), with a remarkable supporting performance by Kathleen Turner
• THE LONG RIDER – Documentary about one man’s journey from Calgary to Brazil on a horse, with special guest filmmaker Sean Cisterna
• EO – Polish masterpiece about the journeys and tribulations of a donkey, shortlisted for the 2023 Oscars
• RICEBOY SLEEPS – One of Canada’s Top Ten Films, about a mother and son coping with their new home in Canada, starring Ethan Hwang (The Umbrella Academy)
• DRINKWATER – The ultimate Canadian comedy, starring Daniel
Doheny (Adventures in Public School) and Eric McCormack (Will and Grace) And the virtual screenings:
• THE ETERNAL DAUGHTER – A chilling ghost story starring Tilda Swinton in a dual role as mother and daughter
• LOVE IN THE TIME OF FENTANYL – Compassionate documentary about workers at a Vancouver safe injection site, produced by Robinder Uppal and Marc Serpa Francoeur (No Visible Trauma)
• REVIVAL69 – The forgotten story of Toronto’s 1969 Rock ‘n Roll Revival concert, dubbed ‘the second most important event in rock & roll history’
• GOLDEN ARM – A hilarious comedy about women arm wrestlers, with a 100% rating from Rotten Tomatoes As always, the festival will be showcasing a wide selection of short films by local and regional filmmakers, with a special focus on returning MFF ‘Alumni’ from past Festivals, including Roozbeh ‘Ray’ Noori (Fall), Antoine Rail (Currents), David Cartwright (The Perfect Game), Peter Riddihough (Sarah), Darcy Waite (You Did What?), and Milton’s own Steve Belford (Becoming Tom Thomson) who was another regular at Super ‘A’ Video. Most of the 19 short films will be included with a feature film screening, and all are available online as part of the Festival’s SHORT FILM EXTRAVAGANZA compilation. Tickets and passes are available at the FirstOntario Arts Centre Milton box office, or at miltonfilmfest10.eventive. org.