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Snowdance: Trent Film Society’s first ever film festival


Trent Film Society has been experiencing a wonderfully successful year. After being contacted by several filmmakers and local artists, we knew that we wanted to offer an event through which to showcase the short, independent films that are being produced in our community.

We threw around ideas, contemplating pairing up with other groups or organizations to make such an event possible.

But ultimately, we knew that this was something that we wanted to offer to the city, something we should put together ourselves.

As soon as we began discussing it, we felt an excited energy building. People wanted to know when and how to submit their films. People are asking about the festival long before we were ready to announce it, so we knew we were putting together something special.

And thus, the Snowdance Film Festival was born. Snowdance, an obvious reference to the Sundance Film Festival, was meant as both a humourous title, but also an allusion to our Canadian heritage and springtime in Peterborough.

While none of us have had any prior experience putting together a film festival, we knew that this would be a wonderful opportunity for Trent Film Society.

We decided early on that if it were a flop, we would laugh it off and not repeat the same mistake.

We grew anxious that we would not receive many submissions or that people would not be interested in the event. We knew we were taking a chance; the entirety of the planning felt tentative.

However, it was a thrilling risk and we strongly felt that it had great potential for success. We put out our call for films, booked Market Hall, and then waited with bated breath. We assured one another that it was a small risk; if it didn’t work out it wasn’t the end of the world.

But inside, we were eagerly hoping for something spectacular. Then, it happened. Someone submitted their film!

We were overcome with relief – Snowdance would happen, even if we only had one film! Then, another came in. And another!

Soon, filmmakers were submitting several of their films. We were ecstatic; a substantial number of artists wanted to be a part of our film festival. People were enthusiastically contacting us to find out more about the festival.

It was no longer tentative… Snowdance was happening and it was going to be a supported by a host of talented artists!

After watching all the submissions, we were challenged with the task of choosing our favourites. We discussed the films, arguing for our preferences and painstakingly conforming to our time restraints.

Finally, we had curated our top picks and we were ready to announce the films that would be shown at our first ever Snowdance Film Festival.

We were so excited to contact our filmmakers and share the good news.

Snowdance Film Festival will be held at Market Hall on March 16. The doors will open at 7p.m., and people are encouraged to join us for a pre-screening reception with a cash bar and free snacks, as our filmmakers informally mingle and talk about their work.

At 8p.m., we will begin screening the films, and then we will host a small award ceremony to celebrate the best contributions. But everyone is a winner with our festival. The event will be free, as always, so please bring your friends and family to support your local artist community.

The short films in the festival will cover a wide range of topics and styles. We have a mysterious science fiction thriller by Matthew Hayes entitled Milkweed.

Angel Hamilton’s film Angel’s Bike is a documentary-style film with a fascinating local perspective.

We will screen an independent zombie film based on an underground Montreal comic entitled Pro-Can. Kirsten Johnson’s Dollface is sure to delight and amuse audiences. We even have experimental films created by local students at Trent University.

These are just a few films that will be screened at Snowdance this spring. Join us at Market Hall and be sure to reach out and tell us which films were your favourites. Which films spoke to you, which films inspired you, which filmmakers are you most excited to see again next year!

For us, this is the first Snowdance Film Festival, but we intend to make this a yearly event.

If you are a local filmmaker, keep an eye on our Facebook page to submit your own films for next year’s festival. In the mean time, come out and celebrate the work of local Canadian filmmakers.

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