Pop the popcorn because the Forest City Film Festival is back!

Southwestern Ontario’s top regional film festival is back from October 19 to 30, 2021! This year, the Forest City Film Festival is offering a choice of in-person or online experiences. No matter how you join in, an incredible array of screenings, panels, seminars, and even a music video dance party awaits! There’s a lot to watch, and we’ve got just a few highlights for you below.

Learn How to Be (An) Extra

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be a background actor? Well, you can learn all about what it takes to be an extraordinary extra in this two-hour afternoon session at the Wolf Performance Hall! Learn the expectations for background actors on small and large film sets directly from panel experts Angelica Alejandro of the Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists (ACTRA) and Lize Van Der Bjil of the Directors Guild of Canada. 

A woman stands out of focus in the background while in the foreground, a hand reaches in to adjust focus on a camera.

From what headshots to use to how to find talent agencies, you’ll get all the info you need to become an official ACTRA Additional Background Performer member.

Dress Up for Opening Night

Attend the in-person (!) Lerners Opening Night at the Wolf Performance Hall, and you’ll catch a program featuring the short film My Soul to Take, directed by Laura Vandervoort, followed by feature film Trigger Point, directed by Brad Turner. Fans of Canadian cult favourite Bon Cop, Bad Cop take note – both films feature Canadian Screen Award winner Colm Feore! After the screening, Feore, Vandervoort, and Turner will be taking part in a Q&A.

The poster for the Forest City Film Festival Opening Night, featuring posters for films Trigger Point and My Soul to Take.

If you can’t make opening night, there are a whopping 24 other screenings that you can buy tickets for during the festival. With 95 films to choose from, you’re sure to find cinematic gems with southwestern Ontario connections.


Go Behind the Scenes

One of the things that give film festivals their flair is the opportunity to go behind the scenes and learn about the art of filmmaking. The Forest City Film Festival has some incredible programs lined up for the 2021 festival, including chats with celebrated author Emma Donoghue, aforementioned actor Colm Feore, and Emmy-winning TV writer David Shore, creator of House.

A woman, author Emma Donoghue, smiles and looks into the camera.

There are also masterclasses and panels on sound, volumetric video, music publishing, and more in the Ontario Screen Creators Conference. Without a doubt, the professional development side of the festival is bigger and better than ever. 

Celebrate Indigenous Voices

Mohawk filmmaker and artist Janet Rogers is hosting two programs packed with Indigenous talent. The shorts bundle explores reclaiming identities, processing trauma, and finding tradition, among many other rich subjects across formats, including animation and poetry. These films were curated by filmmaker Judith Schuyler of the Oneida of the Thames First Nation.

Another showcase of Indigenous talent is Beans, a feature film directed by Mohawk director Tracey Deer, director of documentaries Mohawk Girls and Club Native, among others.

A Poster for the Forest City Film Festival Screening featuring the poster for the film Beans.

Beans follows a young Mohawk girl’s experience of the 1990 Oka Crisis. The film has won awards at TIFF, VIFF, several accolades from the Directors Guild of Canada, Writers Guild of Canada. Beans has also made an international splash by winning the Crystal Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival. The screening will begin with an opening prayer led by Language Keeper Ozaawaa Giizhgo Ginew, Monty McGahey from Chippewa of the Thames First Nation.

Party at Music Video Night

Occupying a space between the narrative and the experimental, music videos represent an art all on their own. This year’s Music Video Night will be a party to remember on Saturday, October 23, at The Factory at 100 Kellogg Lane. Music Video Night will feature performances from local sensation Saveria and Rude Girl DJ Zahra Habib, along with screenings of 15 of the region’s top music videos.

A poster for the Forest City Film Festival Music Video Night, featuring images from nominated music videos.

Bring on the MuchMusic Video Dance vibes, and find out who will win the top Music Video of the festival! With nominees including Lido Pimienta, Status/Non-Status, and Austra, it’s going to be an incredible night.

Support the Next Generation of Filmmakers

If you want to see what the future of filmmaking will look like, pick up some tickets to the Forest City Youth Film Festival. This festival within a festival has grown to be an incredible venue for nurturing young talent.

The poster for the Forest City Youth Film Festival.

Spanning six categories, the dozens of films available highlight the fantastic emerging talent southwestern Ontario has to offer. Tickets are available for the in-person film screening, and the livestream presentation is also available for free.

For tickets, showtimes, and all of the info you need to enjoy the festival to its fullest, visit the Forest City Film Festival website.

This post has been powered by the Forest City Film Festival. The Forest City Film Festival brings the best of the work of film artists connected to Southwestern Ontario in a juried competition for features, shorts, documentaries, short documentaries and short animations.

Feature photo courtesy of the London Public Library.


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