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Films (2023)





7:00 PM

Close (Wed, Feb 22, 7:00 pm)
105 min. | Belgium, France, Netherlands | 2022 | Drama | French and Dutch with English subtitles | PG
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Director: Louise Archambault

Leo and Remi are two thirteen-year-old best friends, whose seemingly unbreakable bond is suddenly, tragically torn apart. Winner of the Grand Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival, Lukas Dhont’s second film is an emotionally transformative and unforgettable portrait of the intersection of friendship and love, identity and independence, and heartbreak and healing.

“Close” is a film about friendship and responsibility.

Winner of 29 International awards, including Oscar nominee for Best International Film

An exceptional film of empathy and vision. BBC

It’s one of the best films of 2022 and features world-wise performances from the entire cast. San Jose Mercury

Presented in Partnership with Algoma International Films


9:30 AM

Insanity (Thu, Feb 23, 9:30 am)
79 Min. | Canada | 2022 | Documentary | English | NR | ADMISSION BY DONATION
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Director: Wendy Hill-Tout

From the perspective of Calgary writer/director Wendy Hill-Tout, INSANITY looks at how society has transitioned from the asylums of old to the “asylums” of the streets and jail cells. Despite experiencing suicidal ideation and being diagnosed with schizophrenia, Hill-Tout’s brother, Bruce, was released from the hospital and never seen again. 25 years later, the filmmaker recounts her family’s journey as they search for Bruce on the streets of Vancouver..

1:30 PM

FASD: The Hidden Disability – The Movie (Thu, Feb 23, 1:30 pm)
50 Min. | UK | 2021 | Documentary | English | NR | ADMISSION BY DONATION
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Director: Robert Garofalo

The documentary tackles some of the myths surrounding FASD, including ‘Its ok to have 1 or 2 drinks in pregnancy’, ‘You can tell if someone has FASD because of the way they look’ and ‘People with FASD just behave badly’. In fact, in the UK, chief medical officers have said, since 2016, that there is no safe amount of alcohol to drink in pregnancy with some research showing that just one drink of alcohol can affect fetal behaviour in the womb. Often associated with distinctive facial features, less than 10% of people living with FASD will actually have different facial features and rather than their behaviour being something that they can simply overcome, FASD instead makes cognitive processing, emotional regulation and impulse control harder for people living with the issue.

While there is some awareness of FASD across the media and wider society, a clear understanding and straightforward path to diagnosis is still some way off in the UK, which is held to be 20 years behind Canada and the US in dealing with FASD.

This documentary features interviews with professionals, parents and individuals living with FASD. The documentary strips back the layers of misunderstandings about drinking during pregnancy and, rather than dictate terms to pregnant women, the film sets out the truths behind the disorder and highlights that FASD can occur with one drink.

Panel dissuasion to follow

6:45 PM

The Middle Man (Thu, Feb 23, 6:45 pm)
95 min. | Norway, Canada, Germany, Denmark | 2021 | Drama | English | PG | Filmed in the Sault… Screened in the Sault
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Director: Bent Hamer

THE MIDDLE MAN is a darkly humorous social satire which takes place in a small town that is experiencing an epidemic of accidents and deaths. The town is run by “The Commission” – the Sheriff, the Doctor and the Pastor – who decide to hire a ‘Middle Man’ whose sole responsibility will be to inform the family when an unfortunate incident occurs. Frank Farrelli is a quiet, thoughtful man who proves perfect for the job. He takes his new role on with gusto and quickly becomes the town’s beacon of bad news. But the pressures of the job and a budding new romance overwhelm Frank. To ease his burden, he calls in a ‘favour’ that ends up in a horrifying yet oddly amusing murder.

Winner of 3 International awards

Bent Hamer’s fiercely singular The Middle Man matches its bleakly absurd laughs with thoughtful musings on fate and small-town life. Original Score

9:00 PM

The Swearing Jar (Thu, Feb 23, 9:00 pm)
111 min. | Canada | 2022 | Drama | English | PG
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Director: Lindsay MacKay

Carey, a music teacher, throws a birthday concert for her husband, Simon, which rekindles reminiscences of their past. Through comedy, music and memory, we follow the story of Carey and Simon’s relationship, the birth of their child and the lie that threatens to f*&k it all up! Equal parts humour and heartbreak, it tells two love stories at once, exploring the blessings and challenges of romance, marriage, parenting, loss and moving on.

Director Lindsay MacKay’s sophomore film, THE SWEARING JAR, is an intricately constructed musical romance. From swearing off swearing to keeping life-changing secrets to holding on to feelings longer than most would expect, there is no end to what a couple will do for love. Screenwriter Kate Hewlett’s incredibly powerful story began as an award-winning stage play at the Toronto Fringe Festival. Now, it is taken to the screen, featuring a score of her own original music.

A movie you didn’t expect… equally thoughtful and full of feeling. Globe and Mail

The Swearing Jar will play with your emotions and your anticipations. But it will also earn every tug on your heartstrings, every reversal of expectation. National Post 4.5/5


9:30 AM

After Louie (Fri, Feb 24, 9:30 am)
100 Min. | USA | 2022 | Drama | English | NR | ADMISSION BY DONATION
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Director: Vincent Gagliostro

After Louie explores the contradictions of modern gay life and history through Sam, a man desperate to understand how he and his community got to where they are today. As an AIDS activist and member of ACT UP in the 1980s and 90s, Sam witnessed the deaths of too many friends and lovers. Battle wounded and struggling with survivor’s guilt, Sam now resents the complacency of his former comrades and derides what he sees as the younger generation’s indifference to the politics of sex, and of death. An unexpected intimacy with a much younger man challenges Sam’s understanding of contemporary gay life. Through this unconventional romance, he is forced to deal with the trauma that so informs his past, their present, and an unknown future. —After Louie

“My hope is that my film is the new conversation. A start. We need to start talking.” Vincent Gagliostro

Panel Discussion to follow Film

Film provided courtesy of Jeff Wolk – Producer

1:00 PM

Shorts Programme (Fri, Feb 24, 1:00 pm)

Sault Film Festival Presents: Short Films produced in Northern Ontario

6:45 PM

The Inspection (Fri, Feb 24, 6:45 pm)
94 min. | USA | 2022 | Drama | English | 14A
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Director: Elegance Bratton

Elegance Bratton’s remarkable debut, inspired by the filmmaker’s own life story, follows a man (Jeremy Pope) who joins the Marine Corps after being thrown out of his mother’s home at 16 for being gay and living for years in housing precarity.

At war with his sense of belonging, Ellis French (Jeremy Pope) is a sensitive young Black man who enlists in the Marine Corps to pull himself out of homelessness and gain the love of his dogged and combatant mother (played by the scene-stealing Gabrielle Union). While the film takes place in the age of America’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Don’t Pursue” policy, which directed those applicants to the military not be asked about sexual orientation, homophobia is deeply entrenched in all aspects of service, from bootcamp to battle. Once enlisted, French struggles to conceal his sexual identity — as well as his invading attraction to his drill instructor (Raúl Castillo) — while under the watchful eye of the belligerent and hard-lining unit commander (Bokeh Woodbine).

A stunning look at a gay man’s terrifying, triumphant time at Marines boot camp. Daily Beast

Awards: 5 Wins and 27 Nominations

9:00 PM

Call Jane (Fri, Feb 24, 9:00 pm)
95 min. | Norway, Canada, Germany, Denmark | 2021 | Drama | English | PG
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Director: Phyllis Nagy

Chicago, 1968. As the city and the nation are poised on the brink of political upheaval, suburban housewife Joy (Elizabeth Banks) leads an ordinary life with her husband and daughter. When Joy’s pregnancy leads to a life-threatening heart condition, she must navigate an all-male medical establishment unwilling to terminate her pregnancy in order to save her life. Her journey for a solution leads her to Virginia (Sigourney Weaver), an independent visionary fiercely committed to women’s health, and Gwen (Wunmi Mosaku), an activist who dreams of a day when all women will have access to abortion, regardless of their ability to pay. Joy is so inspired by their work, she decides to join forces with them, putting every aspect of her life on the line.

The film, despite its heavy subject, has a bright, vibrant energy. It’s not so much optimistic as galvanizing. TIME



9:00 AM

Love in the Time of Fentanyl (Sat, Feb 25, 9:00 am)
80 Min. | Canada, USA | 2022 | Documentary | English | NR | ADMISSION BY DONATION
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Director: Colin Askey

Set in Vancouver’s Downtown East side, LOVE IN THE TIME OF FENTANYL is an intimate, observational look beyond the stigma of injection drug users, revealing the courage of those facing terrible tragedy in a neighbourhood often referred to as ground zero of the overdose crisis. As the number of overdose deaths in Vancouver reaches an all time high, the Overdose Prevention Society (OPS) opens its doors—a renegade safe injection site that employs primarily current or former drug users, its staff and volunteers save lives and give hope to a deeply marginalized community as the overdose crisis rages widely ignored crisis ravaging their community. Colin Askey’s debut feature documentary looks beyond the stigmatization of injection drug users and offers hope and empathic ways to approach the crisis ravaging too many communities.

Panel Discussion to Follow Film

The opioid crisis continues to have a devastating effect on communities across northern Ontario, including the Algoma region. During this time of tragic loss, community partners are coming together to address opioid-related harms by exploring evidence-based interventions, and the amplification of voices of people with lived experience. Algoma Public Health (APH) will be facilitating a panel discussion following the film, with representation from: people with lived experience using substances, Save Our Young Adults (SOYA), Maamwesying North Shore Community Health Services, Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), and Sault Area Hospital (SAH). Together, we can make a difference in Algoma.

12:00 PM

Guitar Lessons (Sat, Feb 25, 12:00 pm)
90 Min. | Canada | 2022 | Comedy, Drama | English | PG
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Director: Aaron James

A 15-yr-old Metis boy (Kaden Noskiye) inherits an old guitar from a dead dad he never knew. Intent on learning to play, he reaches out to a cantankerous oilfield contractor (Corb Lund) who is reputed to have been something of a rock star back in the day. After several put-offs and failed attempts, lessons finally commence, and a 15-yr-old and a 50-year-old learn to grow up together over guitar lessons.

Canadian Connection Canadian Connection: A Canadian production filmed in High Level, Alberta with an all-Canadian cast and crew.

2:15 PM

Here We Are (Sat, Feb 25, 2:15 pm)
94 min. | Israel, Italy | 2020 | Drama | Hebrew with English subtitles | PG
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Director: Nir Bergman

Aharon has devoted his life to raising his son Uri. They live together in a gentle routine, away from the real world. Uri is autistic, and now as a young adult it might be time for him to live in a specialized home. While on their way to his new independence, Aharon decides to run away with his son and hits the road, knowing that Uri is not ready for this separation. Or is it, in fact, his father who is not ready?

Moving but unsentimental, this Israeli drama is a perfect example of how a cinematic story becomes paradoxically more universal by being very specific about people and places. The Guardian

At the end, you will be glad that you spent 90 minutes with Aharon and Uri, and be thinking about them long after the credits have rolled. Jerusalem Post

Nominated for nine Ophir Awards including Best Feature Film

Winner of 5 international awards

Festival De Cannes Official Selection 2020

4:30 PM

All The Beauty and Bloodshed (Sat, Feb 25, 4:30 pm)
113 min. | USA | 2022 | Documentary | English | 14A
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Director: Laura Poitras

The rare documentary to win the top prize (the Golden Lion) at the Venice Film Festival, this is an important film of our times from Academy Award-winning director Laura Poitras (Citizenfour).

American photographer Nan Goldin is famous for her candid, empathetic documentation of the intimate, exuberant, anguished lives of urban bohemia, sex workers, gay and trans communities, artists, addicts, and her own sexual and romantic life. But since 2017 Goldin has used her celebrity to denounce the Sackler family’s art-washing tactics in light of their complicity in the opioid crisis. Goldin’s own experience with opioid addiction makes this a deeply personal crusade, and the film tightly binds her life, art and activism together in a way that is, simply, inspiring.

Stunning… Ultimately, Poitras’s portrait of Goldin reveals the ways in which she has always sought to destigmatize marginalized subjects like sex work, battered women, queerness, and addiction. She did so not only through her art, but in how she lived her life with passion and clarity of vision. In the end, everyone leaves an impact on those around them. What matters most is having the courage to harness that power for a lasting good.   Mary E Gates,

Oscar Nominee for Best Documentary Feature.

Content consideration: This film addresses suicide, sexual abuse, drug addiction, sometimes with graphic imagery.

7:15 PM

The Good House (Sat, Feb 25, 7:15 pm)
103 min. | USA | 2021 | Romance-Comedy, Drama | English | 14A
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Directors: Maya Forbes, Wallace Wolodarsky

Sigourney Weaver delivers a stellar performance as Hildy Good, a realtor in an idyllic New England town, whose wickedly funny tongue and seeming success mask her life’s one dark truth: She enjoys her wine a bit too much. But Hildy’s good at keeping it together – until, that is, a rekindled romance with high school flame Frank Getchell (Kevin Kline) sets in motion a chain of events that forces a decades-in-the-making confrontation with Hildy’s buried past. Based on the best-selling novel, The Good House is a multifaceted portrait of a proud, resilient woman who wouldn’t think of asking for help…and whose life won’t change until she does.

Sigourney Weaver gets her best role in years playing a North Shore realtor whose seemingly ideal life conceals tides of alcoholism and loneliness. The Film Yap 4/5

9:00 PM

Revival69: The Concert That Rocked the World (Sat, Feb 25, 9:30 pm)
97 min. | Canada | 2022 | Documentary | English | NR
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Director: Ron Chapman

In 1969, there were three music festivals that changed the world. “The second most important event in rock & roll history” was a one-day event held at the University of Toronto’s 20,000 seat Varsity Stadium called the Toronto Rock & Roll Revival. An incredible back-door story of how – against all odds – a life-changing concert came together. Director Ron Chapman reveals a series of colourful characters, murky deals and broken promises, culminating in John Brower, a young struggling promoter, putting his life on the line (literally) in order to achieve his goal. Included in the lineup were: Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, Bo Diddley, Gene Vincent, The Doors, Alice Cooper, and John Lennon with The Plastic Ono Band.

REVIVAL69 wisely does not to focus too much on Lennon. Instead, it strikes a fine balance in telling the stories of all the musicians and characters behind the scenes. The film is a fine addition to the canon of rock docs, because it cements the significance of the 1969 Toronto Rock ‘n’ Roll Revival as a pivotal chapter of rock history. It marked the end of The Beatles and the 1960s and heralded the 1970s. REVIVAL69 should be held in the same regard as Woodstock and Gimme Shelter. – Allan Tong

ChinoKino score A


11:00 AM

Buffy Sainte-Marie – Carry it On (Sun, Feb 26, 11:00 am)
90 min. | Canada | 2022 | Documentary | English and Cree with English subtitles | PG
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Director: Madison Thomas

This is a compelling and eye-opening documentary on the life of activist/songwriter/performer Buffy Sainte-Marie. The film features previously unseen archival footage, and chronicles Buffy’s amazing career which continually advanced the cause of Indigenous rights. Buffy Sainte-Marie remains the first Indigenous winner of an Oscar, (for the song ‘Up Where We Belong’ from AN OFFICER AND A GENTLEMAN in 1983). She also won a BAFTA and a Golden Globe for the same composition.

Initially riding the wave of the New York counter-culture folk scene, Buffy soon became a regular participant at sit-ins, rock shows and coffee houses. She was black-listed by both the Nixon and the Johnson administrations. She was also a victim of the music business’ insidious exploitation of its artists, as she had to buy back the rights to her own song UNIVERSAL SOLDIER. But her long and varied career has taken her to many different places. Now 80 years-old and living in Hawaii, WFF is proud to present CARRY IT ON, as a tribute to one of Canada’s most enduring and seminal artists.

“…a raw, searing portrait of an artist and activist who has been ahead of her time every step of the way.” Alex Hudson, Exclaim

2:15 PM

Rosie (Sun, Feb 26, 2:15 pm)
92 min. | Canada | 2022 | Drama, Comedy | English, French and Cree with English subtitles | PG
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Director: Gail Maurice

A film about family, love, and misfits, Rosie tells the story of a young, orphaned, Indigenous girl who is forced to live with her reluctant, street-smart Aunty Frédérique, AKA “Fred” (Bray). Rosie (Hill) is thrust into the fringes of 1980’s Montréal and into the care of Fred, who just lost her job, is on the verge of eviction, and who looks and sounds nothing like her. Fred, an artist who creates art from found and discarded objects or other peoples’ trash, introduces Rosie to her two best friends Flo (Bernard) and Mo (Trahan), glamorous, gender-bending street workers. In the end, Rosie transforms the lives of these colourful characters and finds love, acceptance, and a true home with her new chosen family of glittering outsiders.

TIFF Top 10

An uplifting story of acceptance, self worth, and the art of embracing exactly who you were born to be. That’s a message the world certainly could use a bit more of. Screen Zealots

4:30 PM

Ali and Ava (Sun, Feb 26, 4:30 pm)
95 min. | UK | 2021 | Drama | English | PG
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Director: Clio Barnard

Ali & Ava is a heartfelt tale of two people living in rainy Yorkshire, dealing with loneliness, complicated families and new love. The film explores their deepening connection while past relationships and family judgment come into play. 

Ali and Ava are two people nearing middle age, both their own kind of lonely. Ali is young at heart, with a bubbly personality and still dreams of his break-through as a DJ. His shameful secret is that he and his wife have separated. They still live together, because Ali is unable to break the news about the breakup to his more conservative family. Ava is a friendly and warm school assistant, who is now a widow after her violent husband died. Life largely consists of helping her children, especially her son Callum, who himself has recently become a father.

The two meets at random, warm feelings appear, and finally it seems that life has more to offer than a boring humdrum existence. Yet the relationship is met with deep suspicion by both of their families, threatening to put an end to this fledgling romance. Is it possible to make a relationship work across cultures, age gaps and vastly different personalities? Or should one just stick to one’s own?

Clio Barnard delivers a heart-warming piece of British social realism with this modern, working-class love story.

Winner of 5 International awards

7:15 PM

Nowhere Special (Sun, Feb 26, 7:00 pm)
96 min. | UK | 2021 | Drama | English | PG
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Director: Uberto Pasolini

James Norton and Daniel Lamont are superb in this heartfelt drama about a single father determined to do the best by his son before he dies. John (Norton), a 35-year-old window cleaner, lives with his three-year-old son Michael. He was recently diagnosed with terminal cancer and has decided that he will find the best family to take Michael in after his death. Against the advice of the adoption agency, he’s working with, John cannot face telling his son the truth, taking him on visits to prospective families under the guise of visiting new friends. But how can he judge a family from a brief encounter? And does he know his own child well enough to make this choice for him? Finding the right answer may very well be his life’s biggest struggle…

As with his previous feature “Still Life”, (Shadows 2015) writer-director Uberto Pasolini draws from a well of understatement.

Uberto Pasolini’s film takes a real-life story as his starting block and turns this tiny Northern Ireland-set tale into an almost sensory experience… Screen International

Winner of 4 International awards