Kingston Canadian Film Festival’s first-ever hybrid edition ready to launch

Credits: Kingston Canadian Film Festival

In its 22nd year, the Kingston Canadian Film Festival (KCFF) will welcome film aficionados through a hybrid model, with virtual and in-person screenings of each film running simultaneously from March 3 to 13, 2022. 

The virtual screenings will take place on the KCFF digital platform, as they did last year, and the in-person events will be held March 3 to 5 at the Isabel Bader Centre for Performing Arts and The Screening Room.  

“Our hope is that we’ve provided something for everyone, no matter their [pandemic] comfort level,” said Marc Garniss, KCFF Director. 

The in-person screenings will be capped at 50 per cent seating capacity to comply with provincial health guidelines during the pandemic. A Q&A will accompany all the films, with the filmmaker attending both in person and virtually. 

This year, 75 films are shortlisted out of 300 submissions for the festival, and around 30 of them will be included in KCFF’s feature film program. Beyond that, the team at KCFF also looked at other films created but not directly submitted to the festival that made total submissions close to 500 this year. 

Garniss shared that this year’s lineup highlights include Drunken Birds and Scarborough, which will be playing in person at The Isabel on Friday, Mar. 4, 2022. Drunken Birds was Canada’s submission to the Oscars this year, and Scarborough seems to be popping up on ‘Best Of’ lists everywhere. Both films appear on the Toronto International Film Festival’s annual ‘Top Ten’ list. “We should have guests in attendance for both films for a post-show Q&A,” said Garniss.

A sampling of just some of the films on offer at this year’s Kingston Canadian Film Festival. Top row (L to R): All My Puny Sorrows, Carmen, Drinkwater, and Drunken Birds. Bottom row: Peace By Chocolate, Run Woman Run, Scarborough, and Wildhood. Images via Kingston Canadian Film Fest website.

He went on, “Just getting festival fans back in the same room is a highlight for me. But I don’t want to downplay the digital event, which still feels special. We’ll have post-show Q&As for all digital screenings, and it’s exciting to know that people are watching around the world. We had viewers from all but one continent last year.”

Another vital program within the festival is dedicated to locally-produced short films, which feature filmmakers with close connections to Kingston. 

“It’s one of the more exciting programs,” Garniss said, “because you always end up seeing some of Kingston in the films, things like local landmarks and people that you may know or at least recognize. None of our feature films are made by Kingstonians, but tons of cast and crew have connections to our area, like Peter Raymont and Janet Wells.” Raymont and Wells are both Queen’s alumni, and producer and director (respectively) of the film Sleeping Warrior.

The lineup of films is available on the KCFF website, and tickets will go on sale Friday, Feb. 4, 2022. There are a total of eight in-person screenings this year; those interested in the in-person events should buy tickets early, as additional screenings are unlikely to be added.  

KCFF was founded in 2001 as a charitable cultural organization that provides access to Canadian film in a dynamic festival setting. For the past two years, the festival was screened online due to the pandemic, but organizers hope to begin returning to the original format starting this year, moving forward while following the health and safety protocols. 

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