REGINA – Regina is about to play host to films from around the world with the launch of Regina’s International Film Festival (RIFFA).
While not as large as the Toronto International Film Festival, John Thimothy says Regina could one day host an event that size.
“We have the potential to reach that level in the future but we’re just starting this year,” said Thimothy, the founder of the Regina International Film Festival. “We’re not comparing ourselves to a festival that is 56-years old.”
Organizers are also hopeful that the RIFFA can have the same kind of inspiration that older festivals have had on young filmmakers.
“I grew up in Toronto and it was a film festival, similar to the one that’s being launched here that launched my career as a film maker,” said Zarqa Nawaz, the creator of Little Mosque on the Prairie.
The event takes place on October 2-3, 2015.
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Forty per cent of the box office revenue from the event will go to the Canadian Mental Health Association.
The Saskatchewan Media Production Industry Association (SMPIA) is not affiliated with the RIFFA but is excited about a local showcase for filmmakers.
While the RIFFA will bring films from around the world, the SMPIA isn’t expecting it to kickstart new productions in the province.
“It’s a spotlight on what people have produced, mostly outside of Saskatchewan,” said SMPIA board member Layton Burton. “I don’t think it’s going to change the production community here.”
The local film industry was devastated back in 2012 when the government cut the film tax credit.
There have been recent changes to the Creative Saskatchewan grant approval, with the threshold being increased from $250,000 to $600,000.
“There is a feeling of optimism now in the province and that’s a good thing in regards to film and screen media,” said Minister of Parks, Culture and Sport Mark Docherty. “I think this is is a good step in the right direction.”
Tho talks have been productive, the SMPIA feels more is needed.
“We need to continue our dialogue and find a way to keep us competitive with Alberta and Manitoba because at this moment we’re not,” said Burton.