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The National Screen Institute's Film Exchange. (Festival Wraps).

WINNIPEG 2/23 - 3/2/02

Winnipeg in February. Only in Canada, you say, would they hold a film festival in Winnipeg in February. Known as Local Heroes, Winnipeg last year (not to be confused with Local Heroes, Edmonton which is still a going concern in March) the National Screen institute (NSI See Network Solutions.

NSI - Network Solutions, Inc.
) in order to avoid any confusion in the future renamed its festival FilmExchange the all-Canadian film festival.

Festival director Bill Evans
For other uses see: Bill Evans (disambiguation).

William John Evans (better known as Bill Evans) (August 16, 1929 – September 15, 1980) was one of the most famous and influential American jazz pianists of 20th-century.
 says FilmExhange is the largest festival dedicated to 100 per cent Canadian films, and this year's program included 14 features 40 shorts, seminars, luncheons, invited guests and an opening night that featured SnowScreen, a hand-carved mound of snow shaped into a screen for a free outdoor showing in Old Market Square in the heart of the Exchange District Screened were the works of top Winnipeg animators Cordell Barker Cordell Barker is considered to be one of Canada’s best animators. He was born in 1957 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and began animating in his late teens, after taking on an apprenticeship at Kenn Perkins Animation.  (The Cat Came Back), Richard Condie (The Big Snit), and Strange Invaders, Barker's 2002 Oscar nominee.

Guy Maddin's visual stunning and innovative Dracula: Pages from a Virgin's Diary (see Take One No. 36) was only one of the few films to be shown that hadn't played in earlier festivals. It was screened as a fundraiser for the Royal Winnipeg Ballet The Royal Winnipeg Ballet, based in Winnipeg, Manitoba, is Canada's oldest ballet company and the longest continuously operating ballet company in North America.

It was founded in 1939 as the "Winnipeg Ballet Club" by Gweneth Lloyd and Betty Farrally.
 two days before its premier on CBC-TV. Other galas included the multi-Genie winner, Atanarjuat (The Fast Runner), Robert Cuffley's Turning Paige, Carl Bessai's Lola Denis Denis, king of Portugal: see Diniz.  Chouinard's Tar Angel, Helen Lee's The Art of Woo and Dwayne Beaver's The Rhino Brothers. A series of industry events were offered at the Fort Garry Hotel The Fort Garry Hotel was built by the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway in 1912 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and was then acquired by Canadian National Railway (CNR). The hotel was designed by Ross and Macdonald, and was built in the style and to the standards of the Park Plaza Hotel in New , which served as festival headquarters, where delegates, mostly young and enthusiastic film-makers from the thriving Winnipeg film community, could benefit from insider knowledge from the likes of director Gary Burns (waydowntown), producer Sandra Cunningham (The Sweet Hereafter) and writer Karen Walton (Ginger Snaps). Atom Egoyan talked at length with Geoff Pevere. The Toronto Star's movie critic, and Jacques Bensimon, the newly appointed Government Film Commissioner, gave a lunchtime address.

Undoubtedly the highlight of the festival was the closing night gala screening of Paul Gross's curling saga, Men with Brooms. The timing was brilliant as the Men with Brooms promotional tour coincided exactly with the dates of the festival. The tour swung into town Friday with Gross, Peter Outerbridge Peter Outerbridge (born June 30, 1966 in Toronto, Ontario) is a Canadian actor, currently starring in the TMN series ReGenesis. Biography
Peter Outerbridge grew up in Toronto as a youngest of five siblings. He is of Swedish and Bermudian descent.
, James Allodi, Leslie Nielsen, Michelle Nolden, Kari Matchett and Alliance Atlantis Alliance Atlantis Communications Inc. (formerly traded as TSX:AAC) is a Toronto-based media company, which now operates primarily as a specialty service operator in Canada.  PR staffers. On Saturday, Winnipeg's Granite Curling Club Granite Curling Club is the name of a number of curling clubs:
  • CCA Granite Club - Cumberland, Ontario
  • Chatham Granite Club - Chatham, Ontario
  • Coaldale Granite Club - Coaldale, Alberta
  • Dundas Granite Curling Club - Dundas, Ontario
  • Granite Club - Toronto
, the oldest in the country - formed in 1880 just 10 years after the province was founded - was the site for a media-staged event, two ends of celebrity curling with the cast and some local heroes, including Winnipeg mayor Glen Murray and Manitoba Premier Gary Doer. Afterwards everyone retired to the bar upstairs, presentations were made, and the assembled were told once again that Winnipeg is the curling capital of the world. The Alliance Atlantis PR types were working the room, making sure the media got the choice bits and understood the unique effort they were putting into promoting the film. Outerbridge told one Winnipeg Free Press The Winnipeg Free Press is a daily broadsheet newspaper in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Founded in 1872, as the Manitoba Free Press, it is the oldest newspaper in western Canada. It is the newspaper with the largest readership in the province.  reporter. "Everyone here has been involved with a Canadian film that was really good and had huge critical acclaim, then it went into the theatre for a week and disappeared. Canadian films don't get buzz. So let's give this movie a lot of buzz and let's tell everybody about it. If it works, then maybe it will start a trend."

The screening that night was packed and the audience buzzed. If Winnipeg is, indeed, the curling capital of the universe, then the film could not have found a better, more forgiving audience. From the opening strains of "The Land of Silverbirch," a campfire song everyone seemed to know, to the closing beavers and a standing ovation, it roared its approval. They simply got it, loved it and laughed at every corny corn·y  
adj. corn·i·er, corn·i·est
Trite, dated, melodramatic, or mawkishly sentimental.

[From corn1.
 curling joke. In the 30 years I have spent watching Canadian films, I never have experienced such a joyous reaction. Gross stood up after final credits for Q&A and the handsome leading man had them eating out of the palm of his hand. When one fan asked a few question from the second balcony, she shouted, "Do you have a date for tonight?" Then, in a move that brought the house down, she ran down the stairs Adv. 1. down the stairs - on a floor below; "the tenants live downstairs"
downstairs, on a lower floor, below
 and planted a kiss on his cheek as flashbulbs popped.

After the festival, Playback, the Canadian industry biweekly, reported that the attendance nearly double from last year, which is a good sign that the festival organizers at the NSI are on the night track. They're making an effort to court the local and national press, and by offering a 100 per cent Canadian film festival they can carve out an important niche in the growing Canadian festival circuit. Surprisingly, it hasn't been done before. Not surprisingly, it's being done in Winnipeg - in February.
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Article Details
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Author:Wise, Wyndham
Publication:Take One
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1CANA
Date:May 1, 2002
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