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In these technologically-oriented times, the arts, specifically filmmaking, rarely gets the attention it deserves. With that being said, ReFrame focuses on bringing the spotlight back on film by returning to the Electric City for the 10th annual Peterborough International Film Festival, taking place from January 24-26.

Founded in 2005 in Courtenay, B.C, ReFrame is a non-profit organization which focuses on celebrating the latest works created by local filmmakers. The festival showcases a diverse array of films, many of which are so independent, they would likely never find any form of mass distribution. Soon after ReFrame’s founding, the inspiration spread to Peterborough in 2006, when they invited local filmmakers to join the festival. From there, Peterborough’s artistic culture grew as the attendance grew to its peak in 2011. ReFrame’s mission is to celebrate film and art by raising awareness about local and international issues, as well as to engage and collaborate with the community.

The focus of the festival itself is to build engaged audiences that explore and document issues of human rights and social justice, from the local to the global; to use film and art to provide educational opportunities and encourage activism and thoughtful debate. The theme of this year’s festival appears to be the violation of human rights, with films dealing with issues of greed, corruption, feminism, and sexual orientation.

“Peterborough possesses a strong community for film that needs a vehicle. These are hugely interesting stories that otherwise do not get told,” said Festival Director Krista English in an interview with KawarthaNOW.

In 2011, 35 students, seven schools, eight staff advisors, and two filmmakers took part in the RPIFF, and as a result, produced seven short films. This year, the festival is set to take place at a number of theaters including the Market Hall, Showplace Performance Centre, and The Venue. It will feature 59 film screenings from various directors including Andrew Bartlett, Jeffery Schwarz, and Karima Zoubir.

In addition, ReFrame is launching an art exhibition entitled Still ReFrame 2014 from January 6-31, which takes its cue from the theme, “Looking Forward, Looking Back.” It focuses on the way in which humans relate to, change with, and have an impact on their surroundings. Many of us are guilty of turning the other way when it comes to international issues. The focus of the exhibition is to highlight art’s ability to raise awareness about local and international issues, and to be mindful of society’s collective responsibilities, and potential for change.
A feature of ReFrame is REELkids, a four-day celebration of film and media designed for elementary school children in grades 1-8. The festival features important award-winning films from around the world on topics including the environment, indigenous peoples, human rights, and world issues. These films are specifically chosen to screen for schools and families, and are used to create a social dialogue for younger audiences.

Other smaller events taking place throughout the month of January include REWINDING: From the Bradburn to Peterborough Square to the Galaxy, Rewind: The Electric City Goes to the Movies, and Offshore: A Digital Interactive Website Sneak Preview.

When not in the spotlight, ReFrame works with local organizations such as the Ontario Public Interest Research Group (OPIRG) Peterborough, the Peterborough AIDS Resource Network (PARN), and, more recently, the Jamaican Self-Help Group.

More information about these events can be found on ReFrame’s website, reframefilmfestival.ca

Tickets can be purchased at the door for $10 a film, and festival passes are available for $35 for adults and $20 for students and un(der)employed individuals. Passes can be bought at any of the following locations:

GreenUp Store
378 Aylmer Street North

Green Eyewear Optical
374 George Street North

Trent Central Student Association
Trent University, Champlain College
Suite S110

KWIC
The Environmental Sciences Building
Trent University, Rm B101

More information will be released following the festival’s conclusion.