Friday, June 8, 2012

Windsor festival grows (and grows again?)

Good news for Windsor cinephiles (and our friends in Detroit of course). The Windsor International Film Festival (WIFF) is adding an extra day to its schedule this November. And WIFF is also looking at filling the gap – at least a little bit - after the loss of Windsor’s only downtown movie theatre, the Palace, earlier this year. WIFF director Peter Coady says people have been approaching him about launching additional monthly screenings at the Capitol Theatre, WIFF’s home. Up to now WIFF has been screening usually once-a-month films in addition to the November festival. Those screenings have been interrupted of late because of renovations to the Capitol. The city took over the theatre and the Windsor Symphony Orchestra is managing it. But renovations need to be made before the theatre can be re-opened this fall. Coady says he’s heard from people asking WIFF if it can “step up to the plate” and show at least another monthly screening. There wouldn’t be mainstream fare (thank goodness!) but WIFF would stick to its “mandate” of showing independent, art house and foreign films.....Meanwhile WIFF is expanding to another day with the gala opening night being Wednesday Nov. 7 rather than the usual Thursday with the fest closing the following Sunday. The premiere, as usual, will be a Canadian film which features the director and/or actor(s) in attendance. The reason for the extra day also owes to the Palace closure (to make way for The Windsor Star’s new offices). “We’re going to open a day earlier because we needed another day or so to fill the void left by losing the four screens at the Palace,” Coady says. Prior to the main festival there are nights devoted to showcasing local filmmakers’ and students’ works, and  screenings of two Canadian and two US films in cooperation with the Detroit Film Theatre.....One of the last screenings at the Capitol was a series of short films in February which sold out. Coincidentally Coady was about to leave for this week’s Toronto Worldwide Short Film Festival ( “I couldn’t believe there’d be that much interest in short film,” he says. “The irony is I’m leaving to to go down to Toronto for this short film festival that starts tonight. I figure that if there’s that much interest in short film, here we go. If I can find some good short films I’m going to include (them) in our regular program.”

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