Archive for March, 2016

So, Where Are the Movies?

This is a question we’ve been hearing a lot lately. And it makes us happy! It means that fans of the Willson Oakville Film Festival are chomping at the bit.

You’ll find a lot of great information here on our website, but one thing that you won’t find (at least, not yet!) is a list of films for our 2016 event. That’s because our submissions deadline is Friday, April 1st. Wendy Donnan, our programmer, has literally thousands of films to view, assess, and select before the finalists can be announced. Rest assured that she’s working hard on it this very minute.

It’s About More Than Showcasing Movies

Remember that the purpose of the Willson Oakville Film Festival – just like any independent film fest – isn’t simply to showcase interesting movies for our community; although that’s certainly part of our reason for being. Film fests like ours also provide an opportunity for independent and/or unknown filmmakers to get their movies in front of an actual audience and to have their work reviewed by professional critics. This often translates to additional advantages: valuable media attention, exposure to prospective agents and buyers, and don’t forget the prestigious Audience Choice Awards for the best film and best short film. Yes, the winners. In case you didn’t know, independent film festivals are also contests, and you, the viewer, get a vote! Fun, right?
With all that in mind, it’s super important that we compile a worthy roundup of engaging films and documentaries. We also aim to provide a variety of genres and themes, and try to represent filmmakers from around the globe. Choosing the big features for the gala presentations is especially exciting. So now you know why this process takes time and careful consideration… Sit tight!

Get First Dibs

Purchase one of our Festival Passes and you’ll be the first to be notified about our final list when it’s ready and you’ll get first dibs on the films you’d most like to see. On May 16th the remaining tickets will go on sale to the general public. We promise to keep you posted with all the key dates and details as we roll them out… but for best value and lots of perks get your passes starting April 1st!

Article by Nancy Fornasiero
Nancy Fornasiero, a huge indie-film fan, is an Oakville-based writer, editor, and communications specialist.

3 Ways Film Festivals Improve Your Life to the movies is a great experience but going to a film festival is even better. Here are 3 ways film festivals improve your life:

1) Community

Film festivals show us how big and amazing the world is while connecting us through watching together, stirring emotions, then sharing our emotions and thoughts afterward with the filmmakers and panellists. Being with like-minded people and meeting the filmmakers is an exhilarating experience that can give you a new perspective on the film.

2) Social Capital

We watch films, read books, and listen to music so we’ll get social capital. What’s social capital? It’s the inspiration, mind expansion, and topics for discussions with friends. But in this era of overwhelming cultural choices, it’s hard to know where to spend your time and money.  Why risk wasting time when a film festival can bring you carefully curated choices from programmers who sift through endless submissions to find the right mix. You can be confident that every choice will bring you some value. Even a film that might leave you scratching your head at first will improve your life when you can discuss it with the filmmakers and with the new friends you’re likely to make at a festival.

3) Great Value

Film festivals turn movie-going into a special event with receptions, parties, fun activities, and of course, filmmaker appearances and panels. With prices comparable to a regular movie, film festival screenings are a priceless value.

Festival Passes go on Sale April 1st

On April 1st, the Willson Oakville Film Festival will offer its Red Carpet Pass (a must-have for the VIP cinephile) and its Film Lovers Pass (a great value with perks).

April 1st Update: Passes are now available on our Homepage.

Willson Oakville Film Festival to Offer More Gala Screenings

Gala film screenings offer unique opportunities to see films in a large setting with the filmmakers in attendance and parties. The catch is that Galas often sell out quickly and the parties are normally exclusive. For the 2016 Willson Oakville Film Festival (June 24 – 26), you will get more opportunities to enjoy the full Gala experience – but only if you act quickly to get a Red Carpet Pass.

Sold Out Gala

Last year, the Opening Gala at the Oakville Centre for the Performing Arts was a sold out hit. The audience enjoyed an emotional ride with the North American premiere of “What We Did on Our Holiday” followed by a memorable conversation with Writer-Director, Guy Jenkin who had flown in from London, England to join them. This was followed by an after-party where guests mingled with filmmakers, VIPs, and other film lovers.

This Year Offers Two Galas

Based on last year’s success, the Willson Oakville Film Festival 2016 is holding two Galas. A limited number of Red Carpet Passes will grant all-access to both Galas, including the VIP After-Party, plus a choice of regular screenings, and oh yes – swag. We must have swag. Red Carpet Passes are slated to go on sale April 1st.

Connecting Audiences with Filmmakers at the Willson Oakville Film Festival

You’re seated in the theatre as the end credits role. If this were an ordinary movie screening, it would be your cue to leave.

But you’re at the Willson Oakville Film Festival, so you watch the lights come up as an amiable host introduces the filmmakers. You see one or perhaps up to four or five people – usually the director, cast, producer, or other collaborators, troop to the front of the theatre where they converse with the audience. They answer questions, share their creative processes, and behind-the-scenes stories.

Suddenly you get intimate insights into the creative experience and you gain new understandings about the film.

Filmmaker Q & A

Filmmaker question and answer sessions – or Q & A for short – is what makes festivals so special. For filmmakers, speaking with an appreciative audience is one of the rewards in the long, hard journey of making a film. For audiences, speaking with filmmakers connects us to the people behind the films. At the Oakville Film Festival, we’re big enough to bring you interesting filmmakers and small enough to give you informal personal access. We look forward to bringing you exciting filmmaker conversations at our upcoming Festival, June 24 – 26, 2016.


When a neighbourhood drug dealer and his gang decide to infiltrate a local youth track club, they will stop at nothing to increase their bottom line. With the allure of money and prestige, they recruit young kids from the track clubs to transport their drugs using track buttons. It seems like the perfect plan, but standing their way is Coach, Archie Miles who has a different plan for these inner city kids.

In attendance for audience questions will be author, speaker, teacher, and actress, Dr. Brenda Combs.

Short films with this feature:

CANNED, 3:02 min, U.S.A, Director: Tanya Zaman.
THROUGH THE DIVIDE, 11:25 min, Canada. Director: Faran Moradi, World Premiere.

  • Genre: Drama
  • Runtime: 94 min
  • Rating: 14A (language, violence)
  • Country: U.S.A.
  • Year: 2016
  • Director: Jerome V. Green
  • Cast: Jerome V. Green, Cecilia Youkhana
  • Venue: cinemas, 171 Speers Rd.
  • Date: Sunday, June 26, 2016
  • Showtime: 9:30PM
  • Canadian Premiere

back to film schedule >

The Sabbatical

When a middle-aged university professor (James Whittingham) is forced to produce a new photography book while on his sabbatical, he finds that he’s no longer the hot-shot artist he once was. His workaholic wife (Bernadette Mullin) is nowhere to be found and his best friend is busy leading a family life. Alone and desperate, he befriends a young artist (Laura Abramsen) who turns his world upside down.

Attending for questions with the audience will be the director, Brian Stockton, associate producer Emily Berntson, and props and production designer, Kirsten Bligh.

Short films with this feature:
THE CHIMNEY SWEEP, 1:30 min, France, Director: Nicolas Bianco-Levrin, Canadian Premiere.
HOLOHOME, 1:20 min, Canada (Sheridan College), Director: Andre Boulet, World Premiere.

  • Genre: Comedy
  • Runtime: 82 minutes
  • Rating: PG
  • Country: Canada
  • Year: 2015
  • Director: Brian Stockton
  • Cast: James Whittingham (Just for Laughs, Wolf Cop), Laura Abramsen
  • Venue: cinemas, 171 Speers Rd.
  • Date: Sunday, June 26, 2016
  • Showtime: 6:30PM
  • Regional Premiere

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Based on James Franco’s “Palo Alto Stories” and “A California Childhood”, “Memoria” is an emotionally charged portrayal of youth struggling and faltering on the journey to manhood. Ivan (Sam Dillon) clings to faint memories of the father who long ago abandoned him and his mother. He is on that precipice of youth where confusion and desires mix with contempt for teachers, unwanted virginity, and the banalities of hanging out with his slacker friends. When a caring teacher (James Franco) offers help, Ivan is already on a dangerous path. Memoria raises questions about the memories we choose to keep, the ones we try desperately to forget, and the ones we use as fuel to create our future.

In attendance for audience questions will be writer/co-director, Nina Ljeti.

Short film with this feature:

NIGHT LINE, 14:26 min, Serbia, Director: Marco Jocic, North American Premiere.

  • Genre: Drama
  • Runtime: 70 min
  • Rating: R
  • Country: U.S.A.
  • Year: 2016
  • Writers-Directors: Nina Ljeti and Vladimir de Fontenay
  • Cast: Sam Dillon (Boyhood), James Franco (127 Hours, Spider-Man)
  • Venue: Oakville Centre for the Performing Arts
  • Date: Saturday, June 25, 2016
  • Showtime: 8:00PM
  • Canadian Premiere

back to film schedule >