Cinéfest Sudbury International Film Festival

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Cinéfest Sudbury International Film Festival
Cinefest Sudbury Office Sign.jpg
Frequency 9 Days in September
Location(s) Sudbury, ON
Years active 25
Inaugurated 1989
Attendance 32,000+

Cinéfest Sudbury International Film Festival, also known as Cinéfest and Cinéfest Sudbury is an annual film festival in Sudbury, Ontario held over 9 days, each September. It is one of the largest film festivals in Canada

First held in 1989, Cinéfest quickly became a popular destination for Canadian filmmakers. Unlike the larger film festivals in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver, Cinéfest offered filmmakers a chance to gain exposure among more typical film audiences in a city with no major venues for screening independent and non-mainstream films. Cinéfest presents an annual programme of over 135 films, both domestic and international, often screened towards English and French language audiences. Cinéfest also presents a large number of International films that include English and French subtitles.

History (1989-Present)[edit]

What was at the time an unprecedented success for Canadian film, Patricia Rozema’s I've Heard the Mermaids Singing was presented in Sudbury in 1988 at a special test-screening. Planned as a onetime event, Sudbury was being used as a test market for alternative Canadian films in small communities. The result surprised everyone, with over 900 people attending the sold out screening. Cinéfest Sudbury International Film Festival was established a year later, in 1989 (as The Sudbury Film Festival) and despite some remaining skepticism, local citizens proved that a mining-oriented community could be receptive to repertory film culture, as approximately 9,000 cinema-buffs crowded theatres during the three-day event.

By 1993, Cinéfest evolved into a full-service film organization, with the Festival growing to include upwards of 60 films over 5 days. Cinéfest Sudbury has become recognized as one of Canada’s premiere film festivals. The Festival has developed a distinct identity and role within its community and the media arts industry,winning provincial and national acclaim. Expanding from a 5 day festival with 60 films, Cinéfest currently boasts a 9 day repertoire of extensive film programming for local, national and international guests. With the presentation of over 130 of the year’s top domestic and foreign films, as well as a significant portion of films from emerging artists, the Festival continues to bring the world to Northern Ontario. Cinéfest has always and will continue to shine the spotlight on Canadian talent, Northern Ontario focused films, and the fostering of both educational and industry initiatives.

The Festival endeavors to bring artists and audiences together for constructive and engaging discourse, in an atmosphere conducive towards the inspiration of future artistic undertakings. Currently screening approximately 135 films, including full-length features, shorts, documentaries and animations, Cinéfest provides audiences with access to independent film works and industry discourse.

Northern Film Circuit[edit]

Cinéfest Sudbury has a long history of promoting Canadian cinema and supporting our domestic industry. One of the organization’s most ambitious projects was the establishment of the Northern Film Circuit (NFC) in 1992. An attempt to build audiences in Northern Ontario for Canadian and international film, the NFC began with only four members. The NFC was eventually used as a model for The Film Circuit, which was developed in partnership with the Toronto Film Festival Group and now operates in over 110 communities. Still a partner of the Festival, Film Circuit groups flock to Cinéfest each year to preview the best in Canadian and international films.

Northern Connections[edit]

Constantly working to bring knowledge to the North, Cinéfest introduced Industry Forum to the Festival’s framework in 2003, an initiative that has since provided emerging and mid-career film artists with access to key film representatives, and invited partnerships between Festival, industry and educational institutions. Since the introduction of Industry Forum, Cinéfest has established itself as a focal point for independent filmmakers, and programmers. While the Festival has a long history of presenting and supporting films that represent the output of Canada’s independent film artists, Cinéfest Sudbury has also over the years extended significant support to its regional film artists. Through programs such as Northern Connections (introduced in 2003), a program which highlights the best and brightest of regional film talent, and the CTV Best in Shorts Competition, which has awarded over $92,000 in cash prizes to up-and-coming regional film talent since it was established in 2001, the Festival has served as a place for regional artists to have their work seen and celebrated.


Since the overwhelming success of Cinéfest Sudbury in 2003, which saw 80% of Festival screenings either reach or exceed capacity, Festival organizers have worked aggressively to ensure accessibility for its audiences. The Festival Expansion Initiative was developed and launched in 2004, through which the Festival was expanded from 6.5 to 9 days. A plan was also developed at that time to establish Cinéfest as a year-round venue to showcase the best in film. In 2006, Cinéfest Sudbury introduced two new Mini-Festivals (Canadian Spotlight and Show & Tell Children’s Film Showcase). These events are now providing audiences with even greater access to the works of Canadian film artists and are providing area schools with educational and inspirational film works that meet the needs of each curriculum.

Cinema Summit[edit]

In 2010, Cinéfest Sudbury introduced The Cinema Summit, a presentation, exchange and development series, devoted to the celebration, promotion and advancement of Canada’s new and emerging filmmaking talent. Aside from expanding the number of film screenings attended by talent associated with selected films, Cinema Summit features additional panel discussions, master classes and lectures with specific topics of focus, and introduces attendees to experts in the film and media arts industries. Cinema Summit represents Cinéfest’s next efforts to inspire audiences, talent, students and industry.

Cinéfest Sudbury Film Series[edit]

In 2010, Cinéfest Sudbury further expanded its year-round presence by introducing the Cinéfest Sudbury Film Series, a monthly film presentation series typically held on the last Thursday of each month, featuring the best in Canadian and International cinema.


Cinéfest Sudbury is notable for its wide array of independent programming, both Canadian and International. As well, Cinéfest Sudbury has brought to the local community a large variety of Canadian and International film artists, many of which have participated in Cinéfest Sudbury’s extensive Q&A programme.























Presentations included Score: A Hockey Musical, You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger, Casino Jack, Made in Dagenham, Jack Goes Boating, The Bang Bang Club and Barney's Version


Gala Presentations: Restless, The Guard, I'm Yours, The Woman in the Fifth, Starbuck, Albert Nobbs, Donovan's Echo, Take This Waltz Special Presentations: Afghan Luke, Monsieur Lazhar, Sophie, Midnight in Paris, Sleeping Beauty


  • Audience Choice Award: In Return, Chris Dymond
  • Northern Flicks Award: Morning Zombies, Kevin Hoffman
  • Best Animation Award: Reesor Siding, Paul Rodrigue

Gala Presentations: The Riverbank, The Angels' Share, A Dark Truth, Midnight's Children, En Kongelig affære, Old Stock, Inch'Allah, Still Mine, A Late Quartet

Special Presentations: All in Good Time, Amour, Crooked Arrows, De rouille et d'os, Foxfire, Jagten, Inescapable, Laurence Anyways, Le Magasin des suicides, No, Rebelle, Revolution, Safety Not Guaranteed, Stories We Tell


Gala Presentations:[7] The Art of the Steal, The Invisible Woman, Cubicle Warriors, Kill Your Darlings, The Story of Luke, Parkland, Gabrielle, The Right Kind of Wrong, Cas & Dylan

Special Presentations: Les 4 soldats, Adore, All Is Lost, The Armstrong Lie, Les beaux jours, The Face of Love, Gloria, La grande bellezza, Jeune & Jolie, Shoshite chichi ni naru, Louis Cyr: L'homme le plus fort du monde, The Lunchbox [Dabba], Le passé, La vie d'Adele (chapitres 1 et 2)



  • Audience Choice Award: Labyrinth of Lies by Giulio Ricciarelli
  • Audience Choice Award Best Documentary: Meru by Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi
  • Audience Choice Award Best Short Film: Ron Taylor: Dr. Baseball by Drew Taylor and Matthew Taylor
  • Best in Shorts, open category: Ordinary Miracle by Martin Smith
  • Best in Shorts, student category: Spree by Eric Harrison
  • Best in Shorts Northern Flicks Award: Ordinary Miracle by Martin Smith
  • Best in Shorts Innovation Award: Perceptions by Zahra Golafshani


External links[edit]