Kingston Canadian Film Festival 2017: A Preview

By Jordan Whitehouse

The Kingston Canadian Film Festival returns for its 17th year in 2017 (March 2 – 5), and while it’ll once again be the world’s largest stand-alone showcase of Canadian flicks, that doesn’t mean those films will just be about The Great White North. That wouldn’t be very Canadian anyway, would it?

LIVE in Kingston, a romantic comedy about K-Town’s live music scene, makes its much-anticipated debut at KCFF 2017]
LIVE in Kingston, a romantic comedy about K-Town’s live music scene, makes its much-anticipated debut at KCFF 2017]

Sure, LIVE in Kingston, a romantic comedy about K-Town’s live music scene, may be one of the most anticipated movie this year, but there are features, docs and shorts set in places ranging from the Ukraine to the Arctic to Washington, D.C.
In other words, expect these films to make you think about what it means to be Canadian, but just because you’ll be in one of at least nine downtown Kingston venues, don’t expect to only do that thinking in Canada.
Read on for a few can’t-miss flicks at KCFF 2017 and details about locations, passes and tickets, along with special events that’ll include free workshops, concerts from the likes of Mother Mother, and comedy from pros like Cathy Jones (This Hour Has 22 Minutes).

Film Picks

Pays (Boundaries), Quebec filmmaker Chloe Robichaud’s second feature, is a political satire about the natural resources of a small island off Canada’s east coast.
Pays (Boundaries), Quebec filmmaker Chloe Robichaud’s second feature, is a political satire about the natural resources of a small island off Canada’s east coast.

As of writing, the lineup is still being finalized and films are still being selected, but for now, here are a few to put on your must-see list. The date, time and venue for each will be announced soon.

Live in Kingston

Made by Kingstonians and shot in the Limestone City itself, this is a romantic comedy and snapshot of the city’s live music scene. Following eternal grad student Emily as she scrambles to save the campus radio station and earn her final credits, the film features live shows from Kingston favourites PS I Love You, Lost Cousins, B. Rich, Wild Rivers, Miss Emily, Rocket Surgery, Forty Seven Teeth, Justin Bird, Paper Ladies, Sheesham & Lotus, Mauricio Montecinos and Sarah Harmer. Watch trailer

All Governments Lie: Truth, Deception and the Spirit of I.F. Stone

Vancouver-based filmmaker and TV news veteran Fred Peabody uses the documentary form to explore the life and legacy of the maverick American journalist I.F. Stone, whose long one-man crusade against government deception lives on in the work of such contemporary filmmakers and journalists as Laura Poitras, Glenn Greenwald, David Corn and Matt Taibbi. Watch trailer

Maliglutit (Searchers)

In 2001, Inuk filmmaker Zacharias Kunuk won the prestigious Caméra d’Or for Best First Feature at the Cannes Film Festival. Sixteen years later, he returns with this Arctic epic inspired by the classic John Ford western of the same name, about a vengeful husband who sets off in pursuit of the violent men who kidnapped his wife and destroyed his home. Watch trailer

Pays (Boundaries)

In Quebec filmmaker Chloe Robichaud’s second feature, the natural resources of a small island off Canada’s east coast become the focal point for international wheeling, dealing and politicking. Telling the stories of three women navigating careers and personal lives, Pays is an energetic political satire that’s set to be a standout at KCFF 2017. Watch trailer

Special Event Picks

Vancouver art-pop quintet Mother Mother kicks off the festival’s late-night concert series on March 2 at The Ale House.
Vancouver art-pop quintet Mother Mother kicks off the festival’s late-night concert series on March 2 at The Ale House.

It’s not just about the flicks at KCFF. This year, you can also look forward to four short film programs, free workshops, industry guest appearances, receptions, music, comedy and awards. Here are three special events to add to your list.

Cathy Jones

This Hour Has 22 Minutes star Cathy Jones returns to the stage with her third one-woman show, Stranger to Hard Work. Ranging in topics from food to money to the troublesome people in Jones’ life, the show is a funny, thought-provoking look at what the Canadian comedienne has learned in life so far.
Saturday March 4, 2017 – 7:30 pm
BLU Martini – 178 Ontario Street
$25

Damian Abraham: Turned Out a Punk

This former Much Music host of The Wedge and current lead vocalist of Toronto band F*CKED UP has used his podcast “Turned Out a Punk” to interview Arcade Fire, David Cross, Craig Ferguson and many others since 2014. Head to The Mansion for a special live broadcast featuring guests soon to be announced.
Saturday March 4, 2017 – 9 pm
The Mansion – 506 Princess Street
$15

Mother Mother, with special guests We Are the City

Mother Mother is a Vancouver art-pop quintet with three Juno nominations and six critically-acclaimed albums. We are the City, also based in Vancouver, balances pop- and prog-rock leanings. Together, they’ll throw one heck of an opening night concert easy on the ears.
Thursday March 2, 2017 – 9 pm
The Ale House – 393 Princess Street
$25

Passes and Tickets

Although rush lineup tickets will be available at each venue, consider buying passes and tickets ahead of time to avoid disappointment.
Although rush lineup tickets will be available at each venue, consider buying passes and tickets ahead of time to avoid disappointment.

Organizers have expanded pass and ticket options this year to give you more ways to enjoy all of that CanCon. Below are your six options. Once you’ve decided what works for you, head to kingcanfilmfest.com/2017-festival/tickets to buy online.
3-Film Pass – $35
Includes admission to three film screenings. No need to select films ahead of time; just show up to the venue and head to the pass-holder line.
VIP Film Pass – $100
Includes admission to all of the film screenings, access to all of the festival parties, free drinks at all of the KCFF parties and other special offers that will be emailed to you.
VIP+ Pass – $300
Includes everything that the VIP Film Pass covers, as well as invitations to all of the KCFF special events, including concerts, comedy and more. You’ll also have access to the KCFF hospitality suite, where you can enjoy catering and opportunities to chat with industry guests.
Advance Film Tickets – $12
For the first time organizers are selling tickets to all of the movies in advance of the festival. These tickets guarantee admission.
Rush Line Film Tickets – $12
After pass and advance ticket allotments have been filled, organizers sell the remaining tickets just before a screening. Normally, all patrons in the rush line attain entry.
Special Event Tickets
Ticket prices to see concerts, speakers, comedians and more vary according to the show and, like film tickets, will be available online and in-person.

Venues

The Isabel Bader Centre will host film screenings and special events during KCFF 2017.
The Isabel Bader Centre will host film screenings and special events during KCFF 2017.

More venues may be added to this list, but for now these are the nine venues where most of the action will happen.
The Screening Room
120 Princess Street
screeningroomkingston.com
The Baby Grand
218 Princess Street
kingstongrand.ca
Theological Hall
Queen’s University
queensu.ca/theological-hall
Blu Martini
178 Ontario Street
blumartini.ca
The Isabel Bader Centre
390 King Street West
theisabel.ca
Delta Hotels by Marriott Kingston Waterfront
1 Johnson Street
marriott.com
The Mansion
506 Princess Street
mansion.rocks
Tango Nuevo
331 King Street East
tangonuevo.ca
The Ale House
393 Princess Street
thealehousekingston.ca
Head to kingcamfilmfestival.com to stay up to date on what’s happening at the Kingston Canadian Film Festival and to buy passes and tickets. Happy watching!