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18th annual Gimli Film Festival wraps with large attendance, record pass sales

Gender parity at the 18th Gimli Film Festival
The 18th Gimli Film Festival features films from all over the world, and almost half are directed by women.

As the curtain gets ready to close on Manitoba’s largest film festival Sunday night, the rural municipality of Gimli will be feeling the effects for months to come.

Every year, thousands of people visit the beach town during the Gimli Film Festival.

Now in its 18th year, the 2018 edition of the event featured 111 films, from fiction feature films to documentaries and short films.

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It was just fantastic, said incoming director Aaron Zeghers.

“We had a 33 per cent increase in pass sales,” Zeghers said, “more passes than any other year, so a really great turnout.”

Fifty-nine of the films screened were from Manitoba.

The event also launched a new series of initiatives geared towards bolstering female-driven cinema, with 46 per cent of this year’s programming made up of films written or directed by women.

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“Programs like The Future is Female are essential in empowering women to pick up a camera and put together a film crew,” said Vivian Belik, GFF film programmer. “Too few women are represented in the film industry today.”

“By creating opportunities such as these, the Gimli Film Festival is opening doors for more women to tell their stories on screen,” Belik said.

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In addition to hosting 21 Manitoba premieres, there were also six world premieres, five Canadian premieres and 10 Western Canadian premieres during the five-day event.

Friday night’s sunset screening on Gimli Beach with Lake Winnipeg as the backdrop attracted close to 1,500 people.