First Annual Reel Canadian Film Festival (2009)
In 2009 our first festival featured 4 high quality feature films plus children's films from the National Film Board of Canada on Saturday morning and 'Focus on Winnipeg' shorts from talented new filmmakers. The festival received incredibly positive feedback and the opening gala of 'One Week' was a sell-out success. Guest director Michael McGowan was thrilled to see such an enthusiastic crowd at his film and was an entertaining hit at the reception following the screening. Other films for 2009 were the stunning french feature 'Maman est chez le coiffeur,' Paul Gross' historical 'Passchendale' and comedy-drama 'Mothers & Daughters.'
Our Second Annual Festival (2010)
2010's 2nd annual festival featured a gala presentation of the feature film, 'Hot Tub Time Machine,' filmed exclusively in Fernie and Vancouver BC. A reception followed afterwards next door at The Central with awards and prizes for best costumes and locals who had participated in making the film. Saturday's events kicked off with children's shorts at the Arts station followed by 'Focus on Calgary' featuring new shorts from talented Calgary film-makers. A special Italian-themed 'Reel Italian' Directors' Dinner and screening followed later in the day. Two evening screenings of full length feature films at the Vogue Theatre rounded out the day of over 420 minutes of film!
Features on Saturday were the powerful BC drama 'Cole' from 'Mothers & Daughters' director Carl Bessai and drugged-out Winnipeg caper 'High Life.' Sunday featured the emotional powerhouse directorial debut 'J'ai tue ma mere' and sweeping high-budget period piece 'The Young Victoria.'
Our Third Annual Festival (2011)
For 2011, another packed schedule kicked off with the second installment of Carl Bessai's observational tryptych 'Fathers & Sons' followed by a reception with stars Stephen Lobo and Jay Brazeau. Saturday's ever-popular NFB shorts for kids took up the morning at the Arts Station, while the afternoon was filled with engaging 'Focus on Vancouver' shorts. Saturday evening's youthful presentations included high-school drama 'Daydream Nation' and 'Fubar II,' the even-more-hilarious-than-the-first romp with Terry and Dean. Directly after the film, Terry entertained us in person while the foot-stomping Mudmen played beer-swilling tunes at the Central. Sunday was a more thoughful day featuring the heart-rending documentary 'Last Train Home' and Oscar-nominated powerhouse 'Incendies.'
Our Fourth Annual Festival (2012)
In 2012, we started the festival off a week early by hosting a special preview night at the Arts Station (featuringSisters & Brothers, the third film in Carl Bessai's trilogy, and Wiebo's War.) Friday's opener was award-winning Monsieur Lazhar and our annual reception followed next door at the Central with a live band for entertainment. Saturday began with our annual NFB shorts program for kids at the Arts Station, while the afternoon was filled with 'Focus on Edmonton' shorts with several directors in attendance. Saturday evening's films included Quebec's highest grossing film in history (and hilarious) 'Starbuck' and David Cronenberg's 'A Dangerous Method.' Sunday concluded with the thought-provoking documentary 'Pink Ribbons Inc.', our ever popular closing reception and the entertaining Maritime comedy, 'Cloudburst.'
Our Fifth Annual Festival (2013)
For our 5th Annual festival we were pleased to welcome a special guest to Fernie, the director of My Awkward Sexual Adventure, Sean Garrity. After introducing and showing his film on Friday night to kick off the festival, he joined us next door at the Central for a Q&A session, appies and drinks. Saturday began with our annual NFB shorts program for kids at the Arts Station, while the afternoon was filled with 'Focus on Halifax shorts. Saturday night's line-up included director Michael McGowan's latest feature 'Still Mine' and Academy Award Nominee (for Foreign Language Film) 'Rebelle' (War Witch). Sunday concluded with 'Blackbird', our always popular closing reception and director Sarah Polley's interesting documentary, 'Stories We Tell.'
Our Sixth Annual Festival (2014)
For our 6th Annual festival we welcomed special guests filmmaker Miriam Needoba and photographer Jim Lawrence for the screening of their short film Eyes in the Forest. They joined us after Friday night's opening film, The Art of the Steal, next door at the Central for our Opening Reception with appies and drinks. Saturday night's line-up included director Jason Priestley's debut feature 'Cas & Dylan' and mulitple Academy Award Winner 'The Dallas Buyers Club'. Sunday concluded with the documentary 'Our Man in Tehran', our always popular closing reception and Quebecois director's Louise Archambault feature film, 'Gabrielle.' Big thank yous go to our Lead Festival Sponsor, Finning, and our Lead Media Sponsor, The Free Press, for their generous support and to all of our other incredible sponsors.
Our 7th Annual Festival (2015)
In 2015 we welcomed special guests from Vancouver, Phillp, Terry and Caitlin of Image Nation Films. They produced and directed our Opening Night made-in-BC film: 'When the Ocean Met the Sky' which played to a full house athe Vogue. Saturday night's line-up included Andrea Dorfman's 'Heartbeat' and director David Cronenberg's 'Maps to the Stars.' Sunday concluded with the documentary 'Monsoon', our annual closing reception and young Quebecois director's Xavier Dolan's latest (5th) feature film, 'Mommy.' Congratulations to When the Ocean Met the Sky for winning our People's Choice Award for 2015. And special thanks to our Lead Festival Sponsors, The Park Place Lodge and Columbia Basin Trust and to our Lead Media Sponsor, The Free Press, for their generous support and to all of our other incredible sponsors.
Our 8th Annual Festival (2016)
Last year we were pleased to be able to present the made-in-BC film Eadweard for our Opening Night movie and Gala Reception. We welcomed two very special guests, Eadweard's producer and co-writer Josh Epstein and Fernie's own award-winning costume designer, Flo Barrett (Flo won a Leo award for Best Costume Design in a Feature Film for Eadweard.) The full house crowd thoroughly enjoyed both the film and reception afterwards.
Saturday night's line-up included Suzanne Crocker's All the Time in the World (which won our People's Choice Award) followed by the much anticipated Room which won 40 awards and had another 80 nominations. We rounded out the line-up with the French Canadian film My Internship in Canada starring Patrick Huard and also held our popular closing reception with refreshments upstairs. Our final film of the festival was Brooklyn (23 awards, 83 nominations).
Our 9th Annual Festival (2017)
For our 9th edition we enjoyed presenting the Vancouver-made film Grand Unified Theory for our Opening Night movie and Gala Reception. We welcomed three very special guests, the film's writer/producer David Ray along with two of the movie's lead actors, Emma Grabinsky and Andrew McNee. Following the showing at the Vogue, we moved down the street to the Arts Station where an excellent Q&A session was held with our three visiting guests.
Other highlights from the weekend was the introduction of our Young Filmmakers' Program and Competition. Young local filmmakers submitted their short films for consideration and these were screened on Saturday afternoon at the Vogue Theatre along with other National Canadian Film Board shorts. We look forward to seeing what our young competitors come up wtih for our special 10th anniversary edition in 2018.
All films were well attended and received last year and included Xavier Dolan's 'It's Only the End of the World', Bruce McDonald's 'Weirdos', Nettie Wild's 'Koneline' and Kelly Fremon Craig's 'The Edge of Seventeen'. But don't just take our word for it. Read The Free Press' editor Phil McLachlan's editorial on how for him it was the "Best Weekend Ever".
Get Ready to Enjoy our 10th Annual Festival on January 26 - 28, 2018!