Forest City Film Festival prepares for annual week-long celebration

A photo of FCFF creators speaking to an audience at a past festival. CREDIT: OMAR ALVADERO
The Forest City Film Festival returns with over 80 films set to screen from Oct. 14-22.

The Forest City Film Festival (FCFF) is preparing for its annual week-long event from Oct. 14 to 22. FCFF Executive Director Dorothy Downs said that this festival celebrates and nurtures the film industry in southwestern Ontario.

“Film is vital for our culture, history and moral compass,” Downs said. “We have fantastic talent in this region and city to show. It is overlooked because we tend to be very humble. What better way to show that talent than with a festival where people can honour, learn and connect with the work being made in this region?”

Downs said they expect around 5,000 attendees for this year’s festival. She added that all films at the festival come from the “hearts of artists.”

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“It is a different experience than seeing big blockbusters that studios might regurgitate. Those are not stories from the people’s hearts that the audience can connect emotionally with,” Downs said.

Downs said there is something for everyone as the festival screens feature shorts, documentaries, short documentaries, and short animations. She added that their opening night film this year is Mr. Dressup: The Magic of Make-Believe.

“There are about 80 films this year, and we also have a screenwriting competition to reward the best filmmakers of the night,” Downs said.

FCFF Fund Development Manager Jacqueline Demendeev said that film and, especially, film festivals are great places to encounter new ideas, have amazing conversations and get exposure to independent filmmakers.

“The younger generations who are curious about the world and want to know more about human nature, some other part of the planet, or themselves have the beautiful opportunity to explore all of those things through films,” Demendeev said.

Downs said that FCFF has always been about cultivating the talent around filmmaking. She added that they have always supported filmmakers through their filmmaking journey.

“We are bringing important people from the industry to be able to talk to filmmakers who are just getting on their feet. London is a way friendlier place to do this than in Toronto,” Downs said.

Downs stated that this festival has three primary purposes: to generate pride and art in their audiences for the talent that comes from among them, to build the capacity of regional filmmakers and to inspire future filmmakers.

“We are not here just for students or future filmmakers, we are here for anybody who wants to get in the industry, improve their work, make connections, learn, and grow,” Downs said. “Anyone can apply for this festival no matter where they are from.”

Down said Fanshawe students will benefit from attending the festival by seeing something unique and new, with great ideas and understanding the film community.

“You get the experience of hearing the reactions of other people around. Everyone is immersed in this incredible experience of impactful, powerful films,” Downs said.