10 Highlights of the Kingston Canadian Film Festival

By Sarah Houghton

As the Kingston Canadian Film Festival prepares to dim the lights and roll out its 18th annual screenings of Canadian feature-length and short films from March 1 – 4, we’ve collected 10 highlights from this year’s festival to get you hyped for movies in Kingston! Don’t worry, no spoilers here.

Kingston Canadian Film Festival 2018
Ava by Montreal director Sadaf Faroughi
1. Female Filmmakers lead the charge

It’s baffling to many how Hollywood and some major festivals — and the industry itself — have done a less than stellar job showcasing female filmmakers. If we look at the top grossing movies over the past decade, only 4% were directed by women! KCFF is giving women filmmakers their due, over half of the films on the 2018 lineup were directed women (45% of features and 61% of shorts)! Montreal-based Sadaf Faroughi makes her directorial debut with Ava, and Molly McGlynn brings Mary Goes Round. We’re excited to see what these talented women are going to share with us!

Kingston Canadian Film Festival 2018
Adventures in Public School with Judy Greer and Russel Peters
2. It’s a funny old year

Canada is well known for its roster of comedy actors and their contributions to some of the best-loved blockbuster comedies over the years (that one you’re thinking of right now? That one, too). KCFF brings the laughs this year with comedies from some Canadian powerhouses. Make sure you round off your festival binge with Adventures in Public School (feat. Judy Greer, Russell Peters), Don’t Talk To Irene (feat. Scott Thompson of Kids in the Hall) and Room For Rent (feat. Mark Little from Mr D, Brett Gelman from Stranger Things), just to name a few.

3. Shiny new venues

The Film Fest will be screening in style this year. With a newly renovated Screening Room, it’s always exciting to showcase independent films in local, independent theatres. It’s the quintessential film festival experience! Showings will also take place at The Isabel Bader screening room and the Baby Grand. Check out KingCanFilmFest.com for showtimes and ticket information.

4. More screenings mean longer marathons

It’ll be a delicate balancing act, but if you plan right, you can maximize your festival experience! With more films joining the 2018 lineup than previous fests, KCFF is hosting more screenings across venues. Most time slots will be playing 5 different films, so you’ll have to choose wisely. But with 4 days of film festival at your disposal, we’re confident you’ll experience the movie marathon of a lifetime.

Kingston Canadian Film Festival 2018
Birth of a Family by Saskatoon director Tasha Hubbard
5. Indigenous representation

The Kingston Canadian Film Festival is a place for indigenous filmmakers to share their stories. Nearly 20% of the feature films on the bill this year are by indigenous filmmakers — compared to other festivals, international or otherwise, KCFF has an impressive lineup! Don’t miss Birth of a Family by First Nations/Métis director Tasha Hubbard, and The Road Forward by writer-director Marie Clements.

Kingston Canadian Film Festival 2018
Meditation Park director Mina Shum joins the KCFF guest list
6. KCFF feat. a star-studded guest list

Besides an all-star lineup of great Canadian films, the KCFF also welcomes an elaborate guest list to the stage. Most films on the bill are accompanied by their filmmakers or cast. The special guests engage the audience in a Q&A and make themselves available to the audience throughout the fest for chats and insights. We won’t unveil the entire guest list yet, but we’ll namedrop a few stars you can expect to see milling about the fest including Alanis Obomsawin, Mark Little, Amanda Strong, Simon Lavoie, Mina Shum, and many many others.

Kingston Canadian Film Festival Podcast
Canada’s #1 podcast comes to KCFF
7. The year of the podcast

We all found ourselves getting into Podcasts last year. We collectively opened the Holy Grail and found it was filled with hours and hours of content spanning the genres of comedy, politics, crime, advice, and more. Joining the fest this year is Canada’s number 1 podcast Someone Knows Something (joined by creator David Ridgen for a behind-the-scenes discussion about the series) and Grownups Read Things They Wrote As Kids. KCFF has raised the bar as a multimedia experience!

Kingston Canadian Film Festival 2018
Live music from Lowest of the Low
8. Very special Special Events

But wait, there’s more! The Kingston Canadian Film Festival is bringing more than a killer lineup movies and shorts. In addition to podcasts, attendees can expect live music from Lowest of the Low, workshops for kids and adults alike with Kids Animation Workshops, the Breaking In career event, and more receptions and parties than you can shake a bag of popcorn at. Take a break from the movies and join your fellow audience members for an intimate evening with the legendary Deaner (aka Paul Spence) from the cult-classic Fubar.

Kingston Canadian Film Festival 2018
Festival Director Marc Garniss’ favourite flick The Little Girl Who Was Too Fond of Matches
9. Festival favourites

We caught up with Festival Director Marc Garniss to see if he could play favourites with this year’s lineup. “It’s so hard to pick personal favourites because I love our entire lineup,” he says. “But, two films that made my annual ‘year-end’ list are Unarmed Verses and The Little Girl Who Was Too Fond of Matches. We’re excited to have guests in attendance on behalf of both!” Be sure to check them out before the fest is over!

10. Local filmmakers shine at KCFF

Filmmaking is alive and well in Kingston and thanks to the new Kingston Film Office; the city has seen more and more opportunities for local and young filmmakers. The KCFF welcomed tons of submissions by local filmmakers including some 17 years old and under! The festival has a dedicated program for locals (the Local Shorts Program) and youth (the Youths Shorts Program) which are always a blast to attend. The program offers awards and a chance to experience homegrown creativity on the big screen.

Can’t get enough of Kingston’s film scene? Tourism Kingston just announced the formation of a brand new Kingston Film Office aimed at attracting and supporting large-scale film and television production within the area.  This exciting new office is lead by the Kingston Canadian Film Festival’s original founder, Alex Jansen.  Watch for updates coming soon…