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DRIFF hitting Durham screens once again

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By Chris Jones/The Oshawa Express

Film lovers should mark the Durham Region International Film Festival (DRIFF) on their calendars next month.

The film festival is back for its fifth year Oct. 3 to Oct. 5.

The festival is a non-profit dedicated to promoting arts, culture and communities in Durham.

The biggest changes to the festival in 2019 include another venue in Whitby’s Station Gallery, and cutting the schedule down from four days to three.

It will also take place at Durham College and the Robert McLaughlin Gallery (RMG).

“The venues tend to change up every year because we like to highlight some of the different cultural gems that lie in Durham Region,” says Carla Sinclair, the chair of DRIFF.

She believes one of the biggest changes is to the educational component of the festival.

“We have a hands on workshop that’s happening for some of the G.L. Roberts Collegiate and Vocational Institute students this year, which is pretty exciting,” says Sinclair. “We have filmmakers and instructors from the college coming to do a workshop with cameras, and to teach the students about shooting, editing, and sculpting a video for final presentations.”

She says this works well with the curriculum at G.L. Roberts, as the school already has its own film festival.

“We’re building a lot of skills of students coming into the workforce,” she adds.

There’s 37 films featured this year, with 65 per cent of them being Canadian content. She also notes women have directed about half of the films.

“There’s gender parity, which is nice,” says Sinclair.

The films come from all over the world, with countries such as Australia, Mexico, Brazil, and other areas represented.

The festival kicks off with a screening of The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open, which has Sinclair excited.

“It’s a film with Indigenous content, and I love it because [director Elle-Maija Tailfeathers] is also one of the actors in it, and it was inspired from personal experience, so that seems like a really powerful film that I think will engage and really captivate a lot of people who come to see that,” says Sinclair.

She notes it works well in the RMG because the gallery has a lot of Indigenous works on display.
The film kicks off the festival at the RMG on Oct. 3 at 7 p.m.
She adds there will also be guest speakers, and an awards show at the end.

The winner of Best Regional Film will win $1,000. The winners of the other three awards – Best Feature Film, Best Short Film, and Best Student Film – will all win $500.

Tickets are $10 per person, and $5 for seniors and children under 18.

For more information or to buy tickets, visit