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Meaford Film Festival (Posted On: Friday, July 17, 2009)

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The 2009 Meaford International Film Festival will be held at Meaford Hall September 3rd through 6th.  Internationally-acclaimed, award-winning films continue to be the focus of the Meaford International Film Festival (MIFF).  This year has an exceptional line up that begins with an award-winning film that takes us to the far reaches of Kazakhstan, comes back home to North America with a Canadian film about history being made in a Mississippi High School,

followed by a dark political satire from Britain, ending with the Japanese film that won this year’s Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. Our line-up this year will warm you, will make you smile, make you laugh out loud, and will make you think.

Michael Anderson, the Festival Producer, said, “I’m very pleased with our films this year. We have some heartwarming films that tell us about other cultures, an outstanding Canadian film that shines a light on an extraordinary story from our American neighbours, and a terrific British film in the best tradition of Dr Strangelove.”

Anderson added, “We’re continuing with our traditional format of Four Films, Four Nights, Four Parties. Our patrons can enjoy four wonderful films and then walk the red carpet to the after-film parties, with local food and wine. What better way to end the summer?”

Tulpan, directed by Sergei Dvortsevoy, tells us the story of a young man, Asa, who returns home to the Kazakh steppe after completing his service in the Russian navy.  His dream is to take a bride and begin a fresh life as a shepherd.  To find a bride on the deserted steppe is not an easy task.  Young Tulpan is the daughter of another shepherd family and the obvious choice – but she isn’t attracted to Asa because of his looks.  Will Asa ever become a shepherd, or is he destined to lead the life of a lonely bachelor?  This beautifully choreographed and photographed story about tradition and modernity in rural Asia ends up dealing with some fairly serious questions on the order of how you make peace with a dream.  Liam Lacey of The Globe and Mail decribes Tulpan as “Funny, fascinating, utterly an unclassifiable film.”

Our special guest for the Opening Gala screening of Tulpan will be His Excellency Mr Yerlan Abildayev, the Kazakhstan Ambassador to Canada. Following the screening of Tulpan, the Ambassador will come on stage to discuss Kazakhstan and the importance of this film.

Canadian filmmaker Paul Saltzman creates the documentary Prom Night in Mississippi as he follows students, teachers, and parents in the lead-up to the big day.  In this one town, there have always been two proms until one man decided it had to change.  In 1997, Academy Award–winning actor Morgan Freeman offered to pay for the senior prom at Charleston High School in Mississippi under one condition: the prom had to be racially integrated. His offer was ignored.  In 2008, Freeman offered again.   Prom Night in Mississippi captures a big moment in a small town, where hope finally blossoms in black, white, and a whole lot of taffeta.

Paul Saltzman and his partner Patricia Aquino will be present at the screening of their film, and will discuss the film with us afterwards.

British director Armando Iannucci directs In The Loop, a hilarious, satirical look and spin on the world’s two famous friends and allies – Britain and America.  As Washington moves towards war with Iraq, towing submissive London along behind it, the British Secretary of State for International Development, Simon Foster accidentally breaks the officially neutral line, by saying that war was “unforeseeable”.  Foster’s fence-sitting remarks draw him into the political debate in Washington, where both hawks and doves are keen to claim him as one of their own.  The fate of the world is on the line.  Peter Bradshaw of the Guardian writes “The acting is superb, and the writing is relentlessly funny – vicious and delicious.  And refreshingly, there isn’t a sympathetic character in sight...”

The closing night gala film Departures has received numerous awards, including the 2009 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.  Director Yojiro Takita takes us on a delightful and sensitive journey into the heartland of Japan and shows us an astonishingly beautiful look at a sacred part of Japan's cultural heritage.  Daigo Kobayashi, a musician, finds himself suddenly unemployed when his orchestra disbands.  Suffering from an sense that he is a mediocre musician, he faces up to the fact that not everyone who has devoted their life to music can become a top artist. With his wife Mika, he moves back to his home town of Yamagata.  Spotting a Help Wanted ad featuring the word “departures,” he is excited about the prospect of trying a new career in the travel industry.  Instead, he is stunned to learn what he has gotten himself into: the ceremonial “encoffination” of corpses prior to cremation.  A story of love, of discovery, of revelation and of the transcending human spirit, "Departures" will linger in your heart and mind long after viewing.  “A gorgeous drama...beautiful moments abound" says Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal

The Meaford Hall & Culture Foundation is proud to present the Meaford International Film Festival. The Festival is the single largest event in Meaford Hall, and is a fabulous way to celebrate the last long weekend of summer. MIFF continues to be an exciting long-weekend event featuring outstanding new films, parties after the films where we feature fine food from local establishments, select wines from a local winery, and of course, socializing to tie it all together.

The Meaford Hall and Culture Foundation gratefully acknowledges the generous support of our sponsors: Bill’s Valu-mart, reeds restaurant and bar, and Coffin Ridge Winery.

Tickets for all films and parties are available from the Meaford Hall Box Office from 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. daily or by phoning the Meaford Hall Box Office at 1-877-538-0463. 

All screenings are at the Meaford Hall Arts & Cultural Centre, 12 Nelson St. East, Meaford, Ontario. For details on this and other performances please call the box office or visit online at www.miff09.ca.
  

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