Film fest showcases Queen’s talent
The annual Kingston Canadian Film Festival opens Thursday featuring several films with connections to Queen’s alumni.
Screenwriter Elan Mastai, who graduated in 1997 from the film studies program, is attending the festival for the Canadian premiere of his film The Samaritan, starring Samuel L. Jackson. Now based in Los Angeles and working on screenplays for several major film studios, Mr. Mastai says Queen’s was instrumental in his development as a writer.
“When you’re just starting out, figuring out your strengths and weaknesses as a writer, you need a lot of encouragement to keep going,” he says. “I found Queen’s to be a really supportive environment.”
Mr. Mastai will also host, along with David Weaver, director of The Samaritan, a workshop on writer-director collaborations Sunday morning.
Landing Mr. Mastai’s film is a big event and speaks to the reputation the festival has developed over the past 12 years, says festival director Alison Migneault, a marketing coordinator in the Queen’s Department of Marketing and Communications. Launched in 2001 by Alex Jansen while he was studying at Queen’s, the festival has grown from a one-theatre operation to an event that screens films at several downtown theatres; hosts workshops and master classes at Queen’s, local art galleries and restaurants; and draws high-calibre Canadian filmmakers, musicians and critics.
Yet, while the festival expands, Ms Migneault says the focus is always on Canadian content and making the four-day event a “community celebration.” Involved with the festival for 10 years, Ms Migneault loves seeing people come together to enjoy the films, often gathering before and afterward to discuss the movies’ impact.
Other Queen’s connections include the thriller Cold Blooded, written and directed by Jason Lapeyre (Artsci ’97); The National Parks Project, produced by Geoff Morrison (Artsci ’02), Ryan J. Noth (Artsci ’01) and Joel McConvey (Artsci ’02); and the opening night film Edwin Boyd, produced by Allison Black, who spent the first two years of her film degree at Queen’s in the late ‘90s before transferring to the University of Toronto.
Complete festival details are available online.