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REEL CANADA to host world’s largest one-day film festival for Canada’s 150th

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Photo: George Pimentel Photography

Hey, Canada!

We’ve got big news: REEL CANADA has just announced National Canadian Film Day 150 (NCFD 150) at TIFF Bell Lightbox after one of our trademark “Welcome to Canada” festivals.

With a host of special guests on hand (Bon Cop Bad Cop 2 stars Colm Feore and Patrick Huard, Robert Lantos, Vinay Virmani, Liane Balaban – more on each of them below).

On April 19th, 2017, NCFD 150 will celebrate Canadian film with the largest one-day film festival in the world. Ever. By collaborating with hundreds of movie-loving Canadians across the country to set up screenings in every kind of venue imaginable, we’re planning on transforming Canada into one massive movie theatre, and counting on you to join in on the festivities!

REEL CANADA’s Executive Director, Jack Blum, and Artistic Director, Sharon Corder, were proud to announce our designation as a Government of Canada Signature Project commemorating the 150th anniversary of Confederation, as well as announcing its being a beneficiary of the Ontario 150 Fund.

This is big news — REEL CANADA received $2.6 million and $400,000 respectively from the federal and provincial governments. The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage sent greetings that were delivered on her behalf by beloved Canadian actors Liane Balaban and Vinay Virmani (who got laughs from the crowd when he read “… as the Minister of Heritage —- not yet!”). In her remarks, Minister Joly emphasized the importance of culture to the fabric of our country. Hon. Eleanor McMahon, Ontario Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport was next at the podium, outlining the widespread impact she expects NCFD 150 to have on Canadians’ sense of ownership of their culture. She spoke enthusiastically about this event, which will unite the country around cinema, and showcase Canadian films around the world.

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Photo: George Pimentel Photography

REEL CANADA’s longtime friend Denise Bolduc, Manager of REEL CANADA’s Indigenous Film Programme, astutely observed that “for many [Indigenous people] celebration is not ideal” but, that “at REEL CANADA, we recognize the occasion to publicly acknowledge the significant achievements, resilience and continued contributions of Indigenous peoples and, in particular, Indigenous filmmakers”. She then announced our Indigenous Film Summit, a special event in British Columbia which will be a precursor to NCFD 150. This celebration will highlight the achievements, resilience and continued contributions of our nation’s Indigenous peoples and filmmakers through engaging workshops and screenings. She took the time to “acknowledge the leadership of Jack and Sharon for recognizing the importance of Indigenous voices and presence in the growth of [REEL CANADA]”.

Finally, Robert Lantos, internationally acclaimed producer and co-chair of the NCFD 150 Advisory Committee shared his own story as an immigrant to Canada from Hungary via Uruguay and characterized his adopted homeland as the place that taught him what true freedom meant.

So, who better to help share the news of next year’s festivities than legendary actors Colm Feore and Patrick Huard? That’s right, the duo from BON COP, BAD COP 2 (in theatres across Canada May 2017) have reunited to share in the NCFD 150 excitement and get the word out that this isn’t your average film festival. Patrick made a poignant analogy between a country’s cinema and a photo album: Each film tells us more about ourselves by capturing a time and a feeling, a way of looking at the world. It’s a way of remembering and understanding who we are as a country.

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Photo: George Pimentel Photography

NCFD is such a massive undertaking that there were too many significant national partnerships to properly give credit to them all but we tried to shout out to a few – our Founding Sponsors CBC, Telefilm Canada and Cineplex Media, our more recent friends Google Canada, YouTube and REDspace, and of course, TIFF, whose Canada On Screen project will add 150 screenings to the big day through their film outreach programme Film Circuit. (A full list of partners and sponsors can be found at here).

But why stop there? Fun is contagious, and we’re happy to spread it. That’s why, with the help of the wonderful chair of RC’s board of directors, Curtis Barlow, we’ll be working with Canadian embassies around the world to organize screenings of their own. Canadians everywhere will be united in our appreciation of Canada’s incredible cinematic tradition.

Of course, all the most exciting stuff will be on home turf. Tentpole events in major cities are sure to draw the crowds in droves, especially when they’re as intriguing as a pop-up drive-in at the National Aviation Museum in Ottawa… (More thrilling details on that to come!)

All in all, the announcement was a terrific success. The who’s who of Canada’s film industry came and showed their support — it was really wonderful to see the industry rally around our very special and important project. The buzz was electric.

Canada, we’re asking you to clear your calendars on April 19th, 2017 — join your friends, family, neighbours, and compatriots for the Largest Film Festival in the World. Ever!

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