Féstival du Cinéma de Knowlton revived after a two-year hiatus

By Taylor McClure – Special to Brome County News

Féstival du Cinéma de Knowlton is back for its third edition after a two-year hiatus. Bringing together film producers, screenwriters, and directors from across the province, the three-day festival, running from Aug. 25 to Aug. 28, welcomes the community to Theatre Lac-Brome, and potential other venue spaces, to view a variety of films from animation, to short films, and long feature films. As a special touch to this year’s event, Féstival Cinema de Knowlton will have its first spokesperson in actor Émile Schneider, from Dunham, and will pay tribute to local director, producer, screenwriter, and three-time Oscars finalist, Gerald Potterton.

“It’s like a rebirth because we have been dormant for two years. Right now, we want to see people look at big screens and attend the cinema. It’s a joy to be with others to talk about films” said Michèle Bazin, chair of the festival’s board of directors. “We have the Cinéclub at the theatre and everybody loves it. When you have the festival. it’s different because a lot of people are there and you have a movie, then another movie, it’s very busy. The film finishes at 1 o’clock and you find people in the bar talking about cinema. We need that and we are looking forward to it.”

Actor Émile Schneider, who Bazin described as “charismatic” will be serving as the festival’s spokesperson this year and Bazin said that the group is happy to have more young people involved.

“He’s going to choose some films, and help with the drive-in, he’ll have a strong role,” mentioned Bazin. “It’s the first year we have so many young people involved. They’re not so conservative, they are not afraid, and they have more ideas of new things.”

The festival will run from Thursday Aug. 25 to Sunday Aug. 28 and a pre-festival will take place on Aug. 24.

“We will have a pre-festival with short films, cocktails, beer and pizza for the younger people. We have about maybe 15 to 20 short films and after that, it will be the festival. There is an opening feature film, but I won’t tell you about that right now because not everything is settled,” said Bazin.

English speakers can expect films like Julia, a documentary film on Julia Childs, and Beans, a story about a little girl witnessing the Oka events in 1992, written and directed by Tracy Deer who will attend the event to present her film. On opening night, the festival will be screening the movie Coda, about pianist Henry Cole, by local writer Louis Godbout from Bolton-Ouest and produced by Les films Primatice

“We will have the pianist who plays the music in the film Serhye Salov. He will be at the opening and will play all the music from the film,” added Bazin.

The festival will also be honouring Gerald Potterton, local director, producer, screenwriter, and three-time Oscars finalist for his animated short films. He will be presenting one of his films entitled Rainbow Boys.

“It was Nick Pynes who said suggested we choose him. He lives here in Knowlton, he knows cinema, and he was at the National Film Board for so many years,” said Bazin.

Other films that can be expected include Babysitter, directed by Monia Chokri, who previously won at the Cannes Film Festival for her film La femme de mon frère, and Jukebox, a film about music in Quebec during the 80s and 90s, a time when muscians were translating American music into French, from Éric Ruel and Guylaine Maroist.

Most of these films will be screened at Theatre Lac-Brome, but Bazin said that they are hoping to set up a drive-in cinema for attendees.

Apart from the film screenings, the festival will also host a few conferences, including one on animation in cinema from Chloé Grisole.

“We have two conferences in French on the financing of movies and the place of women in cinema. After the conference, we have the film Libre, from Hélène Bélanger and her husband André Desjardin from Magog. Desjardins is an international artist and sculpture,” added Bazin.

For each day of the festival, attendees will be able to purchase coupons and enter a draw to win top prizes, including an all-exclusive stay at Hotel Suite Lac-Brome. Other surprises and the full programming for Féstival du Cinéma de Knowlton is expected to be unveiled at a later date.

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