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Canadian Film Centre Launches Canada Screens Program: The First Weekend Club Takes Moviemakers to the Fans, Coast to Coast

Published by Guadalupe Barraco

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Canada is a big country and filmmakers would be hard-pressed to take their promotional campaigns to everyone. But the non-profit First Weekend Club arm of the Canadian Film Centre has launched its Canada Screens initiative to solve the problem. It brings together English language films, filmmakers and the fans in innovative ways, well before their films are released in the theatres.

Bringing Meaning to Canadian Movies

Technology and grassroots endeavours are bridging the gap between film creators and their audiences through screenings, and question and answer sessions via video links in real time in the first project of its kind in Canada. The films are so new, they’re not in theatres yet.

A recent First Weekend Club’s Canada Screens event in Vancouver featured a screening of RiP: a Remix Manifesto, and afterwards, via Skype from Montreal, writer director Brett Gaylor. What followed was a lively grilling linking eastern and western Canada over the thousands of miles in mutual love of art, cinema and culture.

What CFC is Showing

The programme launched a year ago with Everything’s Gone Green and has screened the festival hit Nurse.Fighter.Boy, Global Metal, C.R.A.Z.Y., Les 3 P’tits Cochons, One Week, Fierce Light, Mothers & Daughters, Sheltered Life and Adoration, among others.

The Baby Formula, Fifty Dead Men Walking, Waterlife, Conrol/Alt/Delete and Cooper’s Camera are next on the playlist and represent some of the most talked about films of the Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver Film Festivals.

Nothing Beats a Comfy Chair and a Movie

Canada Screens takes place in a uniquely, intimate environment that makes learning about what makes our cinema so great easy and comfortable. Big chairs, wine, appetisers, live entertainment and a relaxed mood give the programme an easy edge over the conventional theatre experience.

The First Weekend Club executive director Anita Adams says “That’s what makes our events so unique. It’s not just about going to see a film, but rather about creating an experience for the audience.”

The monthly screening & TalkBack series, currently running in Vancouver’s District 319 and Toronto’s The Drake Hotel Underground, will virtually embrace other cities throughout 2009.

The First Weekend Club also covers Canadian film on DVD with monthly picks, forums, a database and interface time with the filmmakers.

A significant benefit of the programme is that it helps us look at ways of sharing our experiences in ways that are in line with the times. Video links, Skype, Facebook and online forums are helping us better experience the films and enrich us all.

Tickets to screenings are $12 each and are available in money saving packages. For more information, log onto www.firstweekendclub.ca or check Canada Screens on Facebook.

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