Filmmakers Fall in Love with Canada’s Festival City at the Edmonton International Film Festival

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One of the most highly regarded festivals in Alberta, the Edmonton International Film Festival brings in world-class directors to mix and mingle with fans

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There is something uniquely different about being able to see a film with the filmmaker in the audience, to engage in a Q & A with them and have a beer with them afterwards

Edmonton is a city that loves movies but filmmakers love Edmonton too! This fall they once again have come for the same thing, the Edmonton International Film Festival. Just some of the acclaimed directors who have paid a visit to Edmonton in the past include: John (Hairspray) Waters, Norman (Jesus Christ Superstar) Jewison, Werner (Grizzly Man) Herzog, Bruce (Pontypool) McDonald and others.

One thing in particular that the filmmakers love about this festival, according to Edmonton International Film Festival producer Kerrie Long, is its relaxed vibe. "There is something uniquely different about being able to see a film with the filmmaker in the audience, to engage in a Q & A with them and have a beer with them afterwards," says Long. "Some of the other festivals put them in the VIP spot. We don't do that. They love it! Our audiences love it too!"

Each year at the Edmonton event, that audience is getting more and more varied. "A lot of film festivals start with the hardcore cinephiles who live, eat and breathe movies and will see 40 movies in a week, but not everyone is a dyed-in-the-wool dedicated cinephile," explains Guy Lavallee, festival programmer. "We're reaching a wide variety of people. We make it easy too. There are no rules. Just show up and enjoy some great movies."

Just some of the films to watch for this year are the festival's opening night film, the crowd-pleasing Score: A Hockey Musical; Steam of Life (a fascinating, poignant documentary about Finnish men in saunas sharing their feelings!); and the festival's closing film, The Rock and Roll Dreams of Duncan Christopher. "People are going to love it," says Lavallee. This hilarious movie is about the son of a famous rock and roll star who figures he's destined for stardom too. There are just two catches. One, he has crippling stage fright and two, he's into karaoke.    

Among the most popular festivals in Alberta, the Edmonton International Film Festival attracts and retains hardcore fans. Brad Smilanich, an assistant principal who teaches film studies at an Edmonton high school, is one of them. "I've been attending the film fest for years and years, but this is my first year volunteering on the programming committee," he says. "I would do anything for this festival. Kerrie and Guy are the hardest working people in show business. What they love is film. And they're so gracious and kind to their guests." The Edmonton Film Festival runs September 24 – October 2, 2010.

For those seeking a different festival experience in addition to the Edmonton Film Festival, take in the Edmonton Chante Festival. If the Edmonton International Film Festival brings the rest of the world to Edmonton, the Edmonton Chante Festival brings a particular part of the world to the city this September.

Set up in handpicked and thoroughly charming and warmly intimate venues in Edmonton's historic Old Strathcona area, the Chante Festival offers a full week of Francophone music and activities, mostly-but-not-necessarily-in-French. It's your chance to enjoy the very best of Francophone flavours with music, food and atmosphere. The Edmonton Chante Festival runs September 23 - October 2, 2010.

For more information about Edmonton events, including the Edmonton International Film Festival and the Edmonton Chante Festival, visit http://www.edmonton.com.

About Edmonton Tourism
Edmonton Tourism promotes Greater Edmonton as the destination of choice for tourism, conventions, major events and film production and is a division of Edmonton Economic Development Corporation (EEDC). For more information, visit http://www.edmonton.com.

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Jenifer Christenson
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