Continuing our series of guest articles, here is how Nancy Fornasiero experienced the Oakville Film Festival.
My Oakville Film Festival Experience
With all the recent buzz around TIFF, I’m reminded of our own little indie film fest that took place here in Oakville in June. Obviously it would be a stretch to compare OFFA to TIFF, which is a much bigger deal, but I thought our local festival was a first-rate event, especially considering that it’s just in its infancy. I saw seven films – actually a lot more if you count the shorts – and went to a couple of the special events. You could say I that got a pretty good taste for the festival!
Highlights: First of all, the gala (feature film and after-party) made for a perfect date night for my husband and me. We don’t do stuff like that together very often, especially not in Oakville! Our favourite part of the evening was the director’s Q&A session where we got to hear the whole story of the film’s journey, from kernel of an idea all the way up to finished product. Another highlight was having my TIFF-loving girlfriend visit from Toronto to watch a couple of flicks with me. Afterward we dissected the plots and dialogue and camera angles, and film-geeked it up over a few glasses of wine on a Kerr Street patio. Another fun moment was bringing my 18-year-old to the screening of James Franco’s Memoria—I found some scenes in the film tough to watch (angsty foul-mouthed teens getting into all sorts of trouble), but he thought it was gritty and authentic. Either way, it turned into a great conversation starter for us.
Granted, TIFF is a bigger and sexier affair, but OFFA has the advantage of being intimate and relaxed. I found the casual vibe refreshing. I had the opportunity to have one-on-one chats with the festival host, with screenwriters and directors, and even with the subject of one of the inspiring documentaries. That wouldn’t have happened at TIFF!
My only complaint is that for the second year in the row there have been technical difficulties getting the films started. It’s a bit irritating to watch the first three minutes of a movie over and over until it gets going properly. I’m sure the folks at OFFA will iron that glitch out, though, especially since they’re well on their way to becoming a respected stop on the international indie film circuit.
All in all, as Mr. Ebert and Mr. Siskel used to say, I’d give the Willson International Film Festival “two thumbs up.”
by Nancy Fornasiero
Nancy Fornasiero is an indie-film fan, and an Oakville-based writer, editor, and communications specialist.