Save the dates: Kingston Canadian Film Festival announces 2024 opening night events

The Kingston Canadian Film Festival (KCFF) has announced the opening night events for the 2024 festival, which include Canadian actor and filmmaker Fawzia Mirza’s The Queen of My Dreams (second from left) and Montreal post-rock legends Godspeed You! Black Emperor (third from left). Images (L to R): Opening night of KCFF 2018 via KCFF website, still image from The Queen of My Dreams via Fawzia Mirza’s official website, Godspeed You! Black Emperor performing live via Wikicommons, and opening night of KCFF 2023 via KCFF website.

Ramping up to their 25th anniversary next year, the Kingston Canadian Film Festival is already proving the 2024 event will be one to remember, announcing two headline events for opening night of the festival.

Running from Wednesday, Feb. 28 to Monday, Mar. 3, 2024, the 24th annual Kingston Canadian Film Festival is sure to draw film and cinema enthusiasts from across North America, as it always does. With festival fan favourite the Slaight Music Video Showcase returning for the fourth year (details on last year’s showcase here), the 2024 festival will also include the inaugural 18 MM Program, which will feature short films from local youths who received film training and mentorship through the program, and the 25 Years in 25 Minutes pitch competition, which will see one pitch from a “filmmaker with significant connections to the Kingston community” selected to receive $25,000 from the festival towards the production of a film. That film will then debut at the 25th Kingston Canadian Film Festival next year. Those three events will take place among the screenings, workshops, mixers, concerts, and other events festival goers know and love, festival representatives explained in a press release urging cinephiles to “save the dates.”

And while the full festival lineup won’t be announced until the festival’s Launch Party on Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2024, (at which time, tickets and passes for the festival go on sale), the Kingston Canadian Film Festival has announced two powerhouse events for opening night to set the stage for the festival ahead.

The Opening Night Gala will see Canadian filmmaker Fawzia Mirza’s feature-length debut, The Queen of My Dreams, on the big screen.

“Mirza tells a sweet, poignant, and funny tale of mother-daughter conflict and acceptance against the backdrop of Nova Scotia and Karachi,” the festival said of the acclaimed film, which debuted at the 2023 Cannes Film Festival and took hold of a spot amongst Canada’s Top 10 at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) the same year.

The movie is the coming-of-age story of Miriam, a Pakistani Muslim woman, and Azra, her Canadian-born daughter, as they struggle through loss paired with their already-strained relationship, and will be followed by a Q&A session after its screen at the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts.

After opening night nibbles and drinks following the film screen at The Isabel – which should give patrons enough time to snap up the festival tickets or passes they want as they go on sale – the Kingston Canadian Film Festival’s Opening Late Night will see Canadian post-rock icons Godspeed You! Black Emperor take the stage at Kingston’s historic Grand Theatre.

“Godspeed delivers sense-rattling wall-of-sound performances, featuring as many as 14 performers and several 16mm film projectors. The band has gained a reputation for mesmerizing live shows marked by orchestral dynamics, epic rock power and clunky, beautiful film loops,” the festival said of the Montreal-based band.

“Experimental filmmaker Karl Lemieux has been the band’s primary creator (and projectionist) of 16mm film footage and loops; an array of analog film projectors remains central to Godspeed performances.”

Tickets for that show are already on sale through the Grand Theatre Box Office, and cannot be purchased as part of the festival’s Film Pass.

Overall, the opening night of the 2024 Kingston Canadian Film Festival (KCFF) offers two dynamic tastes of the experiences festival attendees have come to know and love, event organizers explained.

“It’s a perfect way to kick off our Fest, as it really conveys what we try to do at KCFF. First and foremost, show awesome films by up-and-coming Canadian filmmakers that people need to check out! Fawzia Mirza’s The Queen of My Dreams is among my favourite films of the past year and is really approachable for all sorts of audiences. The film stars Amrit Kaur, who I’m sure lots of people will recognize,” shared Marc Garniss, Executive Director of the festival.

“Then, the Godspeed You! Black Emperor concert is something that shows how KCFF is more dynamic than ‘just a weekend at the movies.’ For anyone that knows this band and their usage of 16 MM projections, it’s an awesome intersection of music and film from a Montreal band with a big cult following across the world,” Garniss continued.

“Our goal is for KCFF to be an event where you discover new films, filmmakers, and how film relates to other art forms (like music in this case).”

More information can be found on the Kingston Canadian Film Festival website.

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