They say laughter is the best medicine.
There should be a lot of healthy movie buffs populating the city after the North of Superior Film Association’s annual film festival hits Thunder Bay later this month.
Organizers say they often run into difficulties landing comedies for the two-weekend event, but this year proved different.
Along with the Oscar-nominated Nebraska and Philomena, the festival line-up is dotted with comedic fare, including The Kings of Summer, In a World and Love is All You Need.
The roster also includes Kevin Durand’s highly acclaimed Fruitvale Station, a drama that garnered early Academy Award talk, but never made its way to Thunder Bay, Durand’s hometown.
There’s a little something for everyone, said NOSFA’s Marty Mascarin.
“We have roughly 16 international films – eight dramas, five comedies and three documentaries, so it’s a really nice mix of international cinema,” Mascarin said.
Picking what films to put on the line-up is based on several factors. First and foremost they should be films people want to see.
Availability is also key.
“We are provided a list of releases by the film circuit, which is a branch of the Toronto International Film Festival and they co-ordinate the activities of ourselves and about 180 other film societies across the country,” Mascarin said.
“We get a list from them on a quarterly basis and we use that for a starting point. But we’re not limited to that. There are titles we become aware of. Obviously we’re looking at films that are being released in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver.”
NOSFA members study reviews and make their choices from there.
“We put in our requests and then we keep our fingers crossed,” Mascarin said.
This year’s selections originate from seven different countries.
It’s Wadjda, a film from Saudi Arabia that has Mascarin most excited.
“It’s quite a repressive country, the regime there, and that’s the theme of the movie. It’s a 10-year-old girl who sets her sights on wanting a bicycle, and that’s not allowed for women generally. So she’s bucking the cultural morays,” he said.
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Other dramas on the bill include Short Term 12, Inside Llewyn Davis (screening on March 20), Broken Circle Breakdown, The Past and The Selfish Giant.
The documentaries are Watermark, Good Ol’ Freda and The Crash Reel.
The festival, being held again at Silver City cinemas on March 23 and 30, will also feature shorts made by local film makers, including Ryan La Via’s Sticky Money and Red Light, Luke Gradmont’s Last Straw and To the Beat of the Beverly School, directed by Mike Pivar.
Festival co-ordinator Catherine Powell said she’s excited for a number of reasons, particularly the comedies.
“It’s nice to have lighter fare. Everyone’s been through such a hard winter. We’re all looking forward to spring, so it’s going to be a really fun festival. We’ve got great documentaries and some really wonderful dramas.”
Advance tickets for NOSFA members – memberships cost $10 for the season – go on sale on Friday at noon at the UPS store. Six-packs are $30 apiece.
Tickets can also be purchased at the door, $6 for members and $9 for non-members.
Powell said it’s best to show up early because advance tickets do not guarantee admission to individual shows and they often sell out.
The schedule will be released on March 20.
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