• James Parry

Hudson Festival rolls out red carpet to welcome Canadian filmmakers


Ava (Sandra Oh) coaching her mother Maria (Pei-pei Cheng) in Meditation Park.

The clock is ticking down to the 3rd annual Hudson Festival of Canadian Film which opens next Wednesday, February 28, and the welcome mat is already out for an impressive lineup of filmmakers from as far away as Vancouver who will be attending the five-day, 10-movie extravaganza - four of them with special guests - at the Hudson Village Theatre.

Beginning with award-winning Montreal director, Eric Ruel, who will be present at the two screenings of his brilliant, Expo 67: Mission Impossible, which recounts how the powerful artistic direction team of the world fair in Montreal exploited cutting-edge ideas and technologies while introducing the millions of visitors to space frame architecture, Imax, hands-free phones and pictograms while revolutionizing everything from arts and culture to local cuisine.

The film will be shown at 2 p.m. ($15) and 7:30 p.m. ($25) and the evening, complete with an on-stage reception after to be attended by many local residents who actually worked at Expo, is a fundraiser for the Hudson Village Theatre. (Note: this event is not included in the Adventure Festival Pass for the remaining days of the screenings.)

Thursday, March 1 features Ben’s Night in honour of the brilliant young local filmmaker, Ben McKinnon, who left us much too soon in 2016 and it will open with a very early film of his, Tell Me Life, which was a collaboration between him and singer-songwriter, Vivianne LaRiviere. Shot on Rigaud Mountain in 2012, it's an excellent example of McKinnon's early mastery of the filmmaking process and LaRiviere will be there to answer any questions about his early introduction to the art form.

Another of the young film enthusiasts who lived nearby on the slopes of the mountain was Jeremy Thibodeau, who worked closely with McKinnon in their flowering days of learning the power of film and who has since formed his own company, Rubicon Pictures and Media. In the first year of the Hudson Canadian Film Festival, a Thibodeau directed film titled The Union won the Audience Favourite Award and once again he will be on hand with a short demonstration of his burgeoning talent.

In addition, Hudson filmmaker Andrew Oster will present a movie entirely done on Cameron Street in town and in the Shaar Dépanneur that he has titled Night Shift. Featuring local actors, it is an enjoyable indicator of the rest of the short films that will follow including an animated film, The Bear That Wanted to be a Horse, directed by an Academy Award filmmaker from the National Film Board. Truly a night to enjoy the passion and talent of these emerging young filmmakers.

Many of us will certainly remember the glorious trilogy of films that Ben and his brother Sebastian showed us several years ago titled KIN Fables. Well, Sebastian has since directed a fourth entry in the series which he will introduce to complete the night's program and it is full of the stunning visuals that have become a McKinnon hallmark. An onstage reception will offer an opportunity to ask all the young artists further questions about their cinematic activities.


Ben McKinnon lining up a camera shot for KIN Fables.

Friday night will welcome Mina Shum, an independent Canadian filmmaker and a writer and director of award-winning feature films who is flying in from Vancouver for the screening of her latest creation, Mediation Park, described as a love letter to Asian moms everywhere. Starring herself and Sandra Oh, it tells the tale of Chinese female empowerment focusing on an older woman played by the legendary Cheng Pei-pei, known from many martial arts films including Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

The Saturday night film, Les rois mongols, also to be followed by an on-stage reception, will see special guest Stephanie Pages, one of its producers, fielding questions from the audience. The film had its world premiere at a Festival in Quebec City last fall and has since received six nominations for the upcoming Canadian Screen Awards.

According to Hudson Film Society President Clint Ward, the best way to enjoy the 10 events from March 1 to 4 and to avoid line ups is to buy a Festival Pass which is $75 for a $160 value. You only have to see half the films to break even and get the best choice of seats. Passes and single tickets are available at www.hudsonfilmsociety.ca or www.villagetheatre.ca (450) 458-5361. Passes only are also available at Pure Art, 422 Main Road, Hudson.

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