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Founded 2016

Previous Years

Since 2016 The Forest City Film Festival has brought audiences together to celebrate films with a connection to the region of Southwestern Ontario. From major Hollywood films to wonderful independent cinema this region boasts some incredible world class talent and we have a great time each October with screenings, parties and industry events.

2019 Festival

Forest City Film Festival 2019

The fourth Forest City Film Festival opened with an exciting Youth Film Festival on October 23 and continued with back-to-back screenings featuring 64 films at four venues over five days until October 27. We started the festival with a day of seminars for area high school students and then celebrated the best of the youth films in the evening with an amazing show and screenings. The Lerners Opening Night featured a wonderful opening party at Che Restobar, followed by a very special short film that shows the best of the Fanshawe Advanced Filmmaking Program and the important, powerful and engaging documentary, Prey. The emotional Q&A afterward was one that will not soon be forgotten by the nearly sold-out crowd that attended. Friday night saw internationally acclaimed director and Ingersoll native Robert Budreau here for a Q&A for his film, Stockholm. Saturday night was a retrospective of films by critically acclaimed, Sarnia-born director, Patricia Rozema. Sunday morning a sold out house was captivated by Anne Dagg, The Woman Who Loves Giraffes. The weekend closed with our closing celebration where we awarded $4,000 in prize money and sculptures presented to winners in seven categories.

Over the course of the weekend, we had 44 films in competition with 15 shorts, 14 short documentaries, five feature films, five documentaries and five animations. We screened 20 films out of competition. Most of the films had someone from the creative team present for a Q&A after the screening. Audiences were engaged by asking questions at the Q&A sessions and handing in ballots for the Old Oak Audience Choice Award. They could then go and spend time in the Drewlo Filmmaker Lounge to chat one-on- one with filmmakers. It was a full, exciting and engaging weekend of local film

Films 2019

Industry Sessions

Industry Sessions

The filmmakers had an opportunity to learn and network from Friday through Sunday in nine Industry Sessions workshops and panels. Over three days we:The filmmakers had an opportunity to learn and network from Friday through Sunday in nine Industry Sessions workshops and panels. Over three days we:

  • Offered eight panels, three networking opportunities, one seminar and one pitch session
  • Engaged with 33 industry experts representing organizations such as Ontario Creates, National Screen Institute, CBC, William F. White International and ACTRA. In total, 40% of our experts were local, 60% came from Toronto, Vancouver and Halifax and 63% of experts were female while 59% of the audience was female
  • Finally, 380 people participated in the Fanshawe Industry Sessions, $11,000 Pitchfest and LEDC Networking Party

Youth Film Festival

Youth Film Festival

The Youth Film Festival celebrates, inspires and showcases the exceptional talent of students across Southwestern Ontario as they gain industry knowledge and it empowers them to share their vision through film and contemporary media. We give opportunities to high school students to celebrate their creativity and for their work to be seen on the big screen. In 2019 we:

Forest City Youth Film Festival provides year round experiences for students to learn to create from film industry professionals and post secondary educators.

  • Offered four educational seminars in London and one in St Thomas to high school students, attended by 600 students, and live streamed into seven classrooms
  • 89 submissions from five schools at two school boards
  • 24 finalists screened to an audience of 300 people and judged by five industry experts
  • $3,750 in prize money awarded0
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2019 Festival

Winners

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Best Short FilmCHRISTMAS GREENDirector: Clara Altimas

A disgruntled woman pays an unwanted visit to her lonely neighbour, but both end up finding…

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Best Feature FilmOPEN FOR SUBMISSIONSDirector: Bryan Skinne

Open For Submissions is a comedy about a small film festival with big problems. Desmond Baggs, the ne…

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Best Short DocumentaryTAKE ME TO PROMDirector: Andrew Moir

Queer Canadians retell a moment from their high school prom…

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Best Feature Documentary
Old Oak Audience Choice Award
PREYDirector: Matt Gallagher

Winner of the prestigious 2019 Hot Docs Rogers…

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Best AnimationISKWĒ - LITTLE STARDirector: Sarah Legault

The song and video recap the callous and racist way the media covered the murders of two Indigenous…

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Best AnimationMY CANADIAN SONDirector: Ted Bezaire
2018 Festival

Forest City Film Festival 2018

The third Forest City Film Festival ran from preview night on October 24 at 6 pm to Sunday October 28 at 10pm with back-to-back programming of 48 films all with connections to the region. We started the festival with a special preview night screening of the She Has a Name, a feature film about human trafficing, written by Londoner Andrew Kooman. The Lerners Opening night was on Thursday night with a wonderful starting party at Che, followed by a very special short film that was pitched here last year and then we moved on to the perfect Southwestern Ontario Feature Film. The Drawer Boy by Arturo Perez Torres and Aviva Armour-Ostroff thrilled a full house and Miles Potter charmed the audience with his opening talk. Friday night saw our special Flashback Friday event with famous Londoner, John Kapelos, coming into town for the screening of The Breakfast Club. Sunday afternoon was the inaugural International screening. A sold out house was captivated by On Her Shoulders, a very special film. The Weekend closed with the TD Awards Celebration with local band Waterbaby entertaining us and $4000 in prose money and sculptures given out among all the categories.

Over the course of the weekend, we had 37 films in competition with 11 shorts, 10 short documentaries, 3 feature films and 5 documentaries and 8 animations in our new category. We screened 11 films out of competition. Most of the films had someone from the creative team present for a Q&A after the screenings. The filmmakers had an opportunity to learn and network from Friday through Sunday in eight industry workshops and panels. Audiences were engaged by asking questions at the Start.ca Q&A sessions and handing in ballots for the Old Oak Audience Choice Awards. They could then go and spend time in the Labatt Filmmaker Lounge to chat more one on one with filmmakers. It was a busy, full and engaging weekend of local film.

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2018 Festival

Winners

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Best Short FilmLITTLE BLACK DRESSDirector: Mackenzie Donaldson

Sally is on a mission to fund the perfect dress, as she recalls memories of her mother…

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Best FeatureFIRECRACKERSDirector: Jasmin Mozaffari

Two best friends’ plan to escape their destitute town becomes derailed when the consequences of a nig…

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Best Short DocumentaryNESTS OF GOLDDirector: Alan Poon

A disgruntled woman pays an unwanted visit to her lonely neighbour, but both end up finding…

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Best DocumentaryWHAT WALAA WANTSDirector: Christy Garland

A disgruntled woman pays an unwanted visit to her lonely neighbour, but both end up finding…

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Old Oak Audience Choice Award WinnerTHE DRAWER BOYDirector: Aviva Armour-Ostroff

A disgruntled woman pays an unwanted visit to her lonely neighbour, but both end up finding…

2017 Festival

Forest City Film Festival 2017

The second Forest City Film Festival ran from Thursday Oct. 26, 6PM to Sunday Oct. 29, 10PM with back-to-back programming of 46 films all with connections to the region. We started the festival with a sold-out preview night screening of the world premiere for Clearing the Way, a documentary about Canadian military engineers in Kandahar province Afghanistan from London director Paul Culliton. This was a powerful experience that will not soon be forgotten by those who were lucky enough to be there. The emotional night saw Silver Cross families, the loved ones of soldiers killed in action, joining military brass and soldiers profiled in the film, on stage at Wolf Performance Hall. We opened on Friday night with a special screening of the Truth is in the Stars, the documentary by Stratford filmmaker Craig Thompson featuring Williams Shatner’s study on Star Trek’s influence on science. We had 36 films in competition with 11 shorts, 11 short documentaries, three feature films and two documentaries and eight animations in our new category sponsored by Digital Extremes. We screened 10 films out of competition. Many of the films had someone from the creative team present for a Q&A after the screenings. The filmmakers had an opportunity to learn and network fromFriday through Sunday in eight industry workshops and panels. Audiences were engaged by asking questions at the Start.ca Q&A sessions and handing in ballots for the Old Oak Audience Choice Awards. They could then go and spend time in the Labatt Filmmaker Lounge to chat more one-on-one with filmmakers. It was a busy, full and engaging weekend of local film.

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2017 Festival

Winners

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Best Short FilmMARTIN'S HAGGEDirector: Penny Eizenga

By Gordon Pinsent. Martin, a middle-aged despondent writer, is burdened with Hagge, his wil…

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Best FeatureGO FISHDirector: Brett Heard & Kate Drummond

While struggling with the death of her mother and the loss of a privileged life, a frustrated young…

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Best Short DocumentaryBABE, I HATE TO GODirector: Andrew Moir

Delroy, a migrant worker, has spent his life working in the Ontario tobacco belt to support his family in…

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Best DocumentarySEA OF LIFEDirector: Julia Barnes

Sea of Life leads audiences through the stunning world of coral reefs into the heart of the…

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Best Short AnimationIT HAPPENED DURING RECESSDirector: Cherry Zong

A Rocketmon card has been stolen and it's up to Colt Magnum, detective extraordinaire, to crack the cas…

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Old Oak Audience Choice Award WinnerCLEARING THE WAYDirector: Paul Culliton

The true story of 23 Field Squadron, Canadian Combat Engineers in Kandahar Province…

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Winning ScreenplayLOST SLAVES OF SAND ISLAND
2016 Festival

Forest City Film Festival 2016

The inaugural Forest City Film Festival ran from Nov. 11 to Nov. 13, with back-to-back programming of twenty-eight films, all with connections to the region. We opened the festival with a fabulous sold-out Opening Gala Party and a screening of Room with a speech from screenwriter and Londoner, Emma Donoghue. We had twenty-two films in competition with ten shorts, eight short documentaries, three feature documentaries and one feature film. We screened six films out of competition. Many of the films had someone from the creative team present for a Q&A after their screenings. The filmmakers had an opportunity to learn and network at Saturday and Sunday morning industry workshops and panels. Audiences were engaged by asking questions at the start.ca Q&A sessions and by handing in ballots for the Audience Choice Awards. It was a busy, full and engaging weekend of film with local connections.

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2017 Festival

Winners

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Best Short FilmGO FISHDirector: Evan Hamza
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Best FeatureLIMINALITYDirector: Darryl Callcott
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Best Short Documentary
Old Oak Audience Choice Award Winner
REVEALING MARIE SAINT PIERREDirector: Janice Zolf
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Best DocumentaryMISSING MOMDirector: Robert McCallum & Jordan Morris