Forest City Film Festival expands to 9 days and adds global festival favorites

The seventh annual Forest City Film Festival in October will have a longer run which will see 85 films screened, most with direct links to the region.

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The seventh annual Forest City Film Festival in October will have a longer run which will see 85 films screened, most with direct links to the region.

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The lineup of films and events for the festival, which runs October 15-23, was announced Friday during a virtual press conference with founder and executive director Dorothy Down and several other film industry and media executives. arts.

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The festival has grown from six to nine days and has added a new component to the mix – Best of the World Fests – which will screen 14 films that have already distinguished themselves at major festivals around the world, including the Cannes Film Festival, Berlin International Film Festival , Hot Docs and Toronto International Film Festival.

“We’re so excited to come back to see movies the way they should be shown — in person, with an audience, in a theater, with the smell of popcorn wafting through the air,” Downs said.

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“We decided that this ‘comeback year’ needed to be big and loud to give our community something impactful and memorable to celebrate coming out of tough times. Fantasy movies and awesome events will fit this bill perfectly.

The films in competition this year include five narrative feature films, seven feature documentaries, 20 short narrative films, 15 short documentaries, eight animated and experimental films, 14 music videos and five Indigenous films.

Winners in each category receive $500 in cash and a sculpture by Stratford artist Mary-Jo Carter Dodd at the closing ceremony at Wolf Performance Hall on October 23 at 5:30 p.m.

The films will screen at two locations, Wolf Performance Hall and Imagine Cinemas at Citi Plaza.

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Among the 14 films in the Best of the World Fests are Holy Spider, whose star Zar Amir Ebrahimi won Best Actress this year at Cannes, zombie comedy Final Cut which opened Cannes and Alcarràs which won the International Festival Berlin film this year.

  1. Dorothy Downs is the Executive Director of the Forest City Film Festival.  (Mike Hensen/The London Free Press)

    Forest City Film Festival calls for entries

  2. The award-winning film Beans, by Tracey Deer, is part of the Forest City Film Festival's Indigenous film lineup that continues through Sunday.

    Forest City Film Festival shines spotlight on local Indigenous filmmakers

The festival will open on October 15 with a screening of The Prank, starring London-born Connor Kalopsis with Hollywood icon Rita Moreno, in the story of two students who falsely accuse a teacher of the murder of a student who disappeared after she threatened to fail them. Kalopsis, director Maureen Bharoocha and producer Steven J. Wolfe will be present at the screening.

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Two feature films from Londoners will have their world premieres at the festival: Ethan Hickey’s Burden, about a recovering alcoholic who rekindles a relationship with the ex-girlfriend of a man he and his brother killed in a driving accident with impaired, and Christopher Lowry from Rebel Angel, a husband-and-wife duo portrayal of Western University English professor and art critic Ross Woodman and poet, writer, and analytical psychologist Marion Woodman.

Mayor Ed Holder opened the press conference with words of support for the festival, and Eunju Yi of the London Arts Council said the festival showcases local talent.

“The film industry creates jobs, retains local talent, and grows our arts economy, enriching the city’s cultural life,” Yi said.

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Mike Sheriff, director of the Forest City Youth Film Festival to be held Oct. 20, said he received 58 submissions from students across the region. Five films in each of the five categories will be screened and the winners will take home over $5,500 in prizes.

“It’s remarkable to me, considering all the challenges these students have faced over the past two years, and speaks to the appetite for a youth-focused film festival,” Sheriff said.

“I was blown away by the quality of the films, the maturity of the students. It was inspiring and I look forward to showcasing and celebrating their work.


What: Seventh Annual Forest City Film Festival

When: 15-23 Oct.

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Where: Various locations

More information: Visit for tickets, schedules, events and movie information


  • 85 films, most with a Southwestern Ontario connection, such as having cast or crew members who live in the area or are filmed here
  • A new programme, Best of the World Fests, with 14 films presented at the biggest festivals in the world
  • A virtual festival with on-demand streaming from October 24-29 for those unable to attend in person
  • Ontario Screen Makers Conference, October 21-23, providing professional development for those in the film industry or considering a career, with topics including unions, media buyers, mentorship, financing, music synchronization, development, distribution and marketing, music videos, pitching and storytelling in game and cinema
  • Project Pitch, a competition where filmmakers pitch their projects with the “most original and captivating film that can be shot 50% in London, has received over $60,000 in prizes” – the largest in Canada
  • The fourth Forest City Youth Film Festival for high school students on October 20, with prizes totaling over $5,500
  • Music Video Night at 100 Kellogg Lane on October 22 where the 14 competing music videos will be screened with live performances


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