BY MICHELLE BILTON
Short films created by Sheridan’s animation graduates from last year are being shown at an Oakville film festival.
Movies are being shown from September till mid-November, typically every other Monday. Then it starts up again from January till April. Movies are not shown on holiday Mondays. The event is run by a local organization, Monday Night at the Movies. Monday Night at the Movies is a part of a Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) programme called Film Circuit. Film Circuit was founded in 1989. Although they now operate independently, partnering only with the Film Circuit team at TIFF.
The organization started here after the Oakville Film Festival shut down. A call for local volunteers was sent out and the first Monday Night at the Movies took place in 2006 with assistance from the Oakville Arts Council in its first season. Clare Henderson, the current chairperson of Monday Night at the Movies, was one of the volunteers who was there from the beginning. “Our group got together and said we’d like to see the films. And I was one of the founding members of Monday Night at the Movies as it exists now,” Henderson said. They show around 14 movies a year which means there will be a Sheridan animation film before each screening.
List of Sheridan animation films being shown this year
Sept.10 Annie Zeng, Supermarket
Sept. 24 Carmen Lee, Pain
Oct. 1 Vladimir Mokhov, Ramon The Magnificent
Oct. 15 Olivia H Zhao, Post Box Blues
Oct. 29 Ruby Poon, Go Kid
Nov. 12 50th Anniversary Reel
On Sep. 10 Supermarket by Annie Zang was shown. A comedic interpretation of Nintendo’s Mario Kart that shows seniors racing through a grocery store. The upcoming film is Pain by Carmen Lee.
“It was a great way for our audience to see work that is being produced right in our neighbourhood,” Fiona Toms, who is in charge of programming for Monday Night at the Movies and volunteered during their first season, said. The connection between Sheridan and Monday Night at the Movies was started by Jill MacInnes, who worked at Sheridan when she joined the organization approximately eight years ago.
“We’re not just showing international and big feature films, but showing the quality of work from students and young professionals just starting out,” MacInnes said. According to Toms and MacInnes their audience “loves the shorts”.
Monday Night at the Movies is a not-for-profit group which is run by a committee with four members and volunteers. According to Henderson, all of their surplus funds are donated to local charities and Sheridan scholarships/bursaries.
“At one point we restricted it to the arts and then we opened it up to other needy groups around town we thought were doing good work,” Toms said. Their blog states that last year’s festival had 3019 paying patrons with an average of 201 attendees per film.
The audience is typically made up of mostly seniors, but the staff is hoping to attract more “young blood” this year. “We don’t get young people coming to Monday Night at the Movies very often. We usually don’t get Sheridan students,” Henderson said.
According to MacInnes, they know what their audience will like, but they try to find “something new” and “out of the box” to attract new attendees. In 2015, they showed Wild Tails by Damián Szifron, a film from Argentina that, according to Toms, had lots of “black humour” and “political themes”. Toms wasn’t sure how their audience would react, but they loved it.
“It’s nice when we get that because then it feeds us as programmers that the audience is open to taking that risk with us,” Toms said. Foreign films are shown to mix up the films they screen.
On Sept. 24 In Between by Maysaloun Hamoud will be shown, which is a film in Hebrew and Arabic. “We also noticed that when we have a film from a particular country we often get audience members from that country who are thrilled to have a film in their own language,” Toms said.
Monday Night at the Movies is now on its 13th season and are looking forward to continuing to show films to the community and enrich Oakville culture. “We’re really happy with the way it runs. Where else would you get this? Other than going to Toronto,” MacInnes said.
Despite their success, they hope to get Sheridan animators more involved. “The only thing we’d like to do, that we haven’t been able to do this year, is bring in a director or somebody who worked on an actual film,” Henderson said. According to Toms they are always open to “ideas” and “options” of films people would like to see.