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2014-03-23 at 13:49

Cinematic showcase

By Matt Vis,
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Internet streaming services and movie channels have made watching films easier than ever.

That doesn’t mean the charm of the theatre experience has vanished.

The intimacy and togetherness of the theatre is part of the reason for the success of the annual Northwest Film Festival, which gives patrons an opportunity to view acclaimed and hidden gem movies that don’t often hit the theatres on wide release.

“I think despite the fact that films are more accessible by various mediums there is still that desire to have that shared experience with something on the big screen,” said Marty Mascarin, president of the North of Superior Film Association.

“We’re all about providing that opportunity for something that doesn’t normally come to mainstream cinema and give people a chance to see them.”

The first full day of the 21st festival kicked off on Sunday at the Silver City cinema with the first films being screened shortly before 10 a.m. and wrapping up with a pair of evening showings beginning at 7 p.m.

The festival attempts to offer something for all audiences and brings in a wide array of choices, including some foreign flicks. Organizers believe there is at least one film for everybody.

This year’s selections are expected to be leaving people laughing more than the average year.

Perfect for what has been a long and gruelling winter, says Mascarin.

“We try to achieve a balance between dramas, comedies and documentaries. We’ve been very fortunate in the number of comedies we have this year, an unusual proportion,” Mascarin said.

“Usually we have dramas and documentaries galore and we’re crying for lighter fare but this time we have a lot of light-hearted movies that will buoy people’s spirits as they deal with the challenging weather.”

The fest kicked off on Thursday with a special screening of the critically acclaimed and Golden Globe nominated Inside Llewyn Davis.

Highlighting the bill for Sunday was the comedy-drama Nebraska, which garnered six Oscar nominations.

However, if the one film Mascarin recommends people check out is Philomena. The Judi Dench starring film had a previous release in the theatre but Mascarin said it “flew under the radar” until it received an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay.

It kicked off the Sunday showings and he said audience members were raving about it on their way out of the theatre. 

There is also a local flavour to the festival, with shorts by area filmmakers being shown. In addition, Fruitvale Station starring Thunder Bay’s Kevin Durrand has a prominent spot on the lineup.

The festival will be screening the Saudi Arabian film Wadjda on Thursday followed by a second full day next Sunday. The complete schedule can be found online.

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