The annual Milton Film Festival is ready to roll out the red carpet once again at the First Ontario Arts Centre Milton with an extraordinary line-up of feature films from Canada and around the world, plus short films, special guests, audience Q&As, and an Opening Night Gala After-Party at Marquee Steakhouse.
At the Festival’s launch event in December, festival director Jennifer Smith announced the eight feature films that will be screened from January 26th through the 28th, starting with the opening night gala presentation of MR. DRESSUP: THE MAGIC OF MAKE-BELIEVE.
This heartwarming documentary looks at the life and work of Ernie Coombs, who was a one-time resident of Milton (Campbellville) and is represented on the Milton Walk of Fame. Coombs got his start working with Fred Rogers of Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood right here in Canada, and eventually became one of the CBC’s most beloved children’s personalities. The film also explores the love story of Coombs, his wife Lynn, and their kids, who grew up sharing their father with every other child in Canada.
Other films announced include:
THE OLD OAK – the latest and reportedly the final film from legendary British director Ken Loach. The film centre on a village of Northeast England, where times are hard and people are leaving the land as the mines are closed. Tensions rise further with the arrival of a group of Syrian refugees.
RICHELIEU is a drama about a young woman hired as a translator for the seasonal migrant workers at a food processing plant in Quebec. Witnessing workplace abuses, she must decide how far she is willing to go to speak out against injustice. RICHELIEU is the feature-film debut of filmmaker PierPhilippe Chevigny, whose short film Rebel showed in Milton two years ago and who will be attending as a special guest.
SUZE is a delightful comedy starring former SNL cast member Michaela Watkins as an empty nest mother who gets stuck taking care of her daughter’s heart-broken ex-boyfriend – who she can’t stand. Winner of the Canadian Narrative Feature Award at the 2023 Calgary International Film Festival, SUZE was filmed in Hamilton, Ontario. Co-director Dane Clark will be attending for a Q&A.
The festival’s Saturday Night Gala screening is SOLO. The film tells the story of Simon, a rising star of the Montreal drag queen scene, who enters a romantic but ultimately toxic relationship with a fellow performer. SOLO won the Best Canadian Feature Film award at TIFF this past year, and has been gaining accolades around the world. There will also be a Live Drag Performance by Karma Kameleon ahead of this screening.
SUMMER QAMP is a timely and inspiring documentary about Camp fYrefly in Alberta – a haven for LGBTQ+ teens that allows them to just be themselves in a safe, supportive space far away from the fierce political battle currently being waged against queer expression and gender identity. Director Jen Markowitz will be attending for a special audience Q&A.
Based on a true story, THE BEASTS (AS BESTAS) is an intense Spanish/French thriller about a young expatriate French couple trying to run a farm in rural Galicia who are despised and threatened by their neighbours, leading to escalating tensions and shocking conflict. Winner of 9 Spanish Goya Awards.
Closing the Festival is the funny and charming British film SCRAPPER, about an enterprising young girl surviving on her own after the death of her mother, whose life is further disrupted by the arrival of her long absent and irresponsible father. The film won a Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival.
This year’s Festival will also include a record 34 short films by filmmakers from, Milton, Halton, and across Canada. Several
will be showing in the theatre along with the feature film screenings, including Mr Lankly’s Tall Tales, One More Time With
Feeling, The Line (La Ligne), Going Going, Duet, Unread, and It’s About Time. Those plus another 27 short films will also be
available for streaming online as part of three ‘sampler’ collections, with viewers given ten full days to watch.
Tickets and passes are available at the First Ontario Arts Centre Milton box office, and at miltonfilmfest.com.