Sudbury Indie Cinema will be offering more than just movies throughout September.
The not-for-profit co-op, which is the city’s only art-house cinema, will be experimenting with some new programming this month, which will include two brand-new festivals and the city’s first live Improv show since the pandemic started more than two years ago.
Executive director Beth Mairs said the organization is excited to take advantage of everything their space has to offer by hosting more community events.
“In addition to being an art-house cinema, we’re also a multidisciplinary art space,” said Mairs. “We’ve always seen that potential for that in the space that we built. So this month, we are innovating.”
On Sept. 16 and 17, the organization will host their first ever Sudbury Indie Creature Kon (SICK), in collaboration with Ewen Productions. The convention will provide a weekend full of activities for lovers of the sci-fi and horror genres.
On Friday evening, it will host a horror short film program, which will include films from across Northern Ontario, Canada, and the world. It will also host the Northern Ontario premiere of “Two Witches,” with lead actress Rebecca Kennedy flying in for a live introduction and Q & A.
On Saturday, the full day of programming will include two Mario Kart tournaments, which will be open to people of all ages, with the chance to win a $100 cash prize.
“We wanted to do something that was fun for the whole family,” said theatre manager Miranda MacLeod. “It’ll be up on the big screen, so you’ll be able to play Nintendo Switch on the cinema screen.”
Saturday programming will also include a Creature Actor Panel with Canadian actor Matthew MacCallum, and a Resident Evil Voice Actor Panel, featuring voice actors Joe Whyte and Jolene Anderson to discuss their experiences working on the Resident Evil game franchise.
The day will close out with a screening of “Fried Barry,” with an introduction from director Ryan Kruger.
Later in the month, Sudbury Indie Cinema will host a second brand-new event, Sudbury’s Tiny Underground Film Festival (STUFF).
Mairs said they’re embracing the double-meaning of the word “underground,” to both celebrate the work of small, independent filmmakers, as well as Sudbury's reputation as a mining city.
“STUFF is just a one-day event, with a focus on short films, and particularly artist-driven, low budget, pushing-the-boundaries film,” she said. “We’re exploiting the use of the term to refer to Sudbury’s mining history, so we’ll always have a film which is looking at mining, from a worker or an environmental perspective.”
The festival will feature two short film programmes, with one showcasing Canadian experimental cinema and the other local low-budget productions. It will also be screening three full-length features, including the Northern Ontario premiere of “The End of Wonderland,” Quebec mining drama “Souterrain (Underground),” and the only Canadian screening outside of TIFF of “Tales from Gimli Hospital Redux,” a re-mastered version of the 1988 Canadian Avant-garde classic.
The organization is also excited to help bring Improv back to the city, with “Live, After Lockdown,” an Improv show to be put on by local group oddhawks.
“It’s a welcome back to the world of improvisation,” said oddhawks performer Scott Florence. “Dramatically, it’s going to be all about being cooped up, getting free, the digital world, and all the ridiculous stuff we’ve discovered.
"But I can’t say more about it, because it’s going to depend on what the audience tell us we should do.”
The September programming will also, of course, feature unique films throughout the month.
Mairs highlighted the Sept. 21 screening of “Carmen,” directed by Valerie Buhagiar, who Sudbury Indie Cinema hosted in 2020. The co-op will host Buhagiar again for a live Q & A following the film.
Other highlights will include the films “Flux Gourmet” (Sept. 23), “Serre moi fort (Hold Me Tight)” (Sept. 22), “God’s Country” (Sept. 16), and “Avec amour et acharnement (Both Sides of the Blade)” (Sept. 29).
Indie will also hold two screenings of “(De)colonial Relations” on Sept. 30, in recognition of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
For more information about Sudbury Indie Cinema’s September programming, visit www.sudburyindiecinema.com.
For September, it will introduced VIP passes, which include all-access passes to the festivals and access to other programming for $100.
The Local Journalism Initiative is made possible through funding from the federal government.
Mia Jensen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Sudbury Star