The 21st annual Silver Wave Film Festival happens November 4-11 with a mix of in-person and online screenings.
For more than two decades now, Fredericton’s Silver Wave Film Festival has been curating a week of film screenings and awards to celebrate the wealth of filmmaking talent that exists here in the province. Over the years, this annual fall festival, organized by the New Brunswick Filmmaker’s Co-operative, has grown to become the marquee event for the province’s filmmaking community. And for audiences, there is no better opportunity to experience the vast diversity of film than by taking part in Silver Wave.
“The festival is a venue to see films from away alongside projects produced right here in New Brunswick,” said Tony Merzetti, executive director of the New Brunswick Filmmaker’s Co-operative.
“There is no greater feeling for a filmmaker than to be sitting in a darkened theatre with an audience as their work is unveiled for the first time. It is both joyous and daunting as all the doubts and fears of the filmmaker are stimulated, but ultimately it is a time when the filmmaker can finally revel in the hard work employed and take joy that it has all been indeed worth the effort,” he said.
After a tumultuous 20th anniversary year that forced the festival to deliver its entire slate of programming online, this year’s festival, while still largely an online affair, will include three in-person events – the annual awards gala, an 11 film showcase of New Brunswick short films and the highly anticipated hometown screening of Jillian Acreman’s award winning feature length debut, Queen of the Andes.
Queen of the Andes is the story of a woman drafted against her will for a one-way trip to colonize Mars. Filmed across dozens of Fredericton locations, the film follows the character’s last days on earth as she comes to terms with her unavoidable reality.
Acreman’s film is as close to a community project as one could possibly be. Beyond showcasing various city locations, the cast and crew behind Queen of the Andes features a who’s who of Fredericton talent including three of the region’s most accomplished contemporary women filmmakers in Acreman (director/writer), Arianna Martinez (producer) and Gia Milani (executive producer).
Queen of the Andes was initially planned to screen during last year’s SWFF but Acreman and her team decided to postpone the hometown screening until a time when audiences could gather together and share in the experience.
Acreman explained the decision to Grid City Magazine last year while discussing the film’s debut at the 2020 FIN Atlantic Film Festival.
“We felt that because so many locals were involved in the production, we would wait a year so that we could have a hometown screening in person,” she said. “There’s a sense of loss for filmmakers in not being able to watch with live audiences and we feel we owe it to the community and ourselves to wait until we can safely celebrate together.”
But while local audiences have had to waiting patiently, Queen of the Andes has been making the rounds elsewhere screening at nearly a dozen film festivals across North America and Europe gathering awards and nominations along the way.
The film won best Canadian First Feature at The Victoria Film Festival and most recently received the Award for Sci-Fi Feature Film at the Galactic Imaginarium Film Festival in Romania. It was also nominated for three awards – Cinema Director Award, Best Actress and Best Feature Film – at the Blackbird Film Festival in New York. Needless to say, this one’s a must-see.
Beyond the three in-person events scheduled for this year’s festival, SWFF’s virtual screening lineup covers films from near to far with documentaries, features, and a plethora of short films from across the Maritimes, the country and around the world including the psychological thriller Shush by Toronto-born filmmaker Michael Ray Fox, Contents Under Pressure by Atlantic Canadian poet and experimental filmmaker Benjamin C. Dugdale, and George Kalivas’ documentary The Best Pizza City You’ve Never Heard Of, a road-trip film exploring the Windsor, Ontario’s little known pizza scene. One Pint at a Time, this year’s International Feature explores how Black-owned breweries and reshaping the craft beer industry in the United States.
With the exception of this year’s two in-person screenings, all other screenings will be offered free of charge and will be available for online viewing for the duration of the festival.
Get the full rundown at swfilmfest.com