BY MARK WEBER
Organizers of the first-ever Central Alberta Film Festival (CAFF) are thrilled with the community support they’ve been shown as the event draws closer.
Held at Carnival Cinemas, CAFF starts March 31st with a kick-off party at 2:30 p.m. and films will be screened from 4 to 11 p.m. that day as well. On April 1st, screenings begin at 11 a.m. and run through to 6 p.m. where the final screening will be paired with the awards celebration.
On the evening of April 1st, organizers will also be celebrating via the VIP Victory Celebration at three downtown establishments – The Coconut Room, To the Lost and Forgotten Alley. This will follow the awards celebration and marks a terrific networking opportunity as well, organizers say.
Tickets are $5 for a block of shorts, $7 for a feature, $30 for the final screening and awards celebration, $80 for VIP all access pass and there is no cost to the festival kick-off party.
Ranjit Mullakady, CAFF president, has always been passionate about movies.
He left his hometown, Mumbai, almost two decades ago for Red Deer. Before leaving India, he had been a studio production manager in Bollywood for almost six years.
As a founding member and the president of Central Alberta Film Festival, he indeed has an amazing opportunity to draw from his past experiences and give back to this community.
For the festival, organizers are also presenting a total of 38 films.
The call for films first went out last fall and the response was outstanding, organizers say. A total of 45 submissions came in – enough for a a very well-rounded and full two-day festival, said Christine Busch, festival manager.
Showcasing talent from both here in Central Alberta to many different locations across the globe, they are pleased in this first year to see such support and the subsequent growth of this organization.
“There are a whole bunch of people here in Central Alberta that are involved in the industry and have a passion for film – so it’s been really cool to meet each other. I also think that’s one of the purposes of this whole thing, is that we have a place to network, meet people who are like-minded and we get to promote film,” said Don Tjart, a board member and CAFF’s vice president.
“Another thing that is cool about Ranjit’s vision is that it’s local, but he has a global perspective,” he added. “So he’s brought that to the committee’s work.”
Tanya Mullakady, communications director and Ranjit’s wife, said that CAFF’s vision extends beyond the actual festival as well. The group is looking at providing educational and further networking opportunities in the community down the road. Examples might include various workshops and even day camps to introduce the aspects of the industry to local learners.
There will also be a screening of She Has A Name, based on the play by Red Deer native Andrew Kooman. Seeing a locally-produced film that has struck such a chord internationally is another exciting aspect to the event.
Meanwhile, it’s been an absolute delight seeing news of the festival spread, and also to see such an enthusiastic response. Tickets are moving well, and the organizers can’t wait to showcase the spectrum of such fine films that ultimately will be featured.
“It’s exciting. And a lot of those involved with the films are going to come. It’s so cool seeing everyone come here.”
For more information, a program schedule, and ticket purchases, visit www.cafilmfestival.ca.