• Carmen Marie Fabio

Hudson Festival of Canadian Films


A scene from the filming of The Union directed by Rigaud native Jeremy Thibodeau, a movie that will open Hudson's Festival of Canadian Films March 3.

Though the Hudson Film Society (HFS) recently celebrated its tenth year screening a varied selection of independent films viewers might not otherwise see, only this upcoming season is it opting to focus on films crafted exclusively in this country including projects realized by local filmmakers.

“Canada is competing with the U.S., England, Australia, etc.,” said HFS President Clint Ward, “and it’s also difficult for Quebec films to get screened in the rest of Canada.” Ward said he feels especially lucky to also be able to feature some local filmmakers under the Canadian umbrella including The Union directed by 23-year-old Rigaud native Jeremy Thibodeau and Searching for Dragons crafted by Hudsonites Dan Gainsford and assistant Forbes Campbell.The HFS is affiliated with a Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) outreach program titled ‘The Circuit’ that promotes independent films across the country.

“There are so many good Canadian films now, we decided to go completely with Canadian content. It gives us an opportunity to show more Quebec films as well as those from across the country.” The festival that showcases its films at the intimate setting of the Hudson Village Theatre opens with the 82-minute long The Union, a film that Thibodeau describes as ‘… a young bartender working a wedding reception befriends the bride’s drunk and impulsive sister.’

“It touches a lot of different themes,” Thibodeau told Your Local Journal, “most of them based on familial issues.” Shot almost entirely on location at New Hampshire’s Dartmouth College, the film takes place over the course of one evening. Written by Thibodeau’s classmates (and lead actor) Ben Edlin and Henry Michaels, the idea was borne more of its feasibility in shooting rather than first conceiving the idea and writing a script. “Everyone’s creative but, at the end of the day, making films costs money. When you can’t get your hands on whatever you want, you need to design movies around what you have immediately available to you.”

The crew focused on the room in which they would be shooting and devised a script that would allow for dynamic interactions within a single location, hence a wedding reception allowing for different characters, people, and perspectives. “We needed a good idea that was logistically simple.” Thibodeau said settling on a film about a bartender proved to be anything but logistically simple for the trio but nonetheless, the budgetary restrictions allowed them to craft a product that is heavily rooted in character in which the audience’s perspective matches that of the protagonist. Without giving too much away, a peek at the film’s trailer tells you that there’s much more percolating under the surface of the intermingled lives of the wedding attendees. The film was cast out of New York but most of the crew and all of the post-production team hails from Montreal, including the musical score and several original songs by award-winning composer, Ray Fabi.

Another local connection is director of photography, Rigaud resident Ben MacKinnon of Kin Fables fame whose work helped crafted a feature that won the Audience Choice Award at the Hoboken International Film Festival at its world première in New York in May, 2015.

Ward said he hopes this collection of films that also includes This Changes Everything based on the best-selling Naomi Klein novel and wraps with a screening of the recent critic favourite Room by Emma Donoghue will set a precedent in having the Hudson Canadian Film Festival as an annual event.

“We’re showing local films of quality,” said Ward, “and not just screening them because they’re local.” As for his choice to launch the four day festival with Thibodeau’s film, Ward said, “When you’re talking about a local filmmaker, a young man, why wouldn’t I open the festival and celebrate that?”

For ticket information and a full description of all the films being presented, see http://www.hudsonfilmsociety.ca/filmfest.htm. For a preview of The Union, see https://vimeo.com/139579689

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