Silver Wave Film Festival goes virtual for milestone celebration

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New Brunswick’s biggest film industry event is marking two decades. 

The Silver Wave Film Festival was initially created to bring more attention to the province’s filmmakers and is celebrating 20 years with a virtual event this week.

Organizer Cat Leblanc said while it’s grown over the years, the event has continued to maintain a small-scale, “grassroots” feel.

This year’s event is eight days instead of four and continues online until Thursday. People can tune in on the festival’s website to watch 

“You can see everything right until the end of the festival. That’s the great thing,” Leblanc said.

This year’s lineup includes films created by people from across New Brunswick, including Bathurst, Miramichi and rural parts of the province.

The selections range from dark, serious subjects to work that is more lighthearted and humorous. There’s everything from comedy to an experimental murder mystery shot in Saint Andrews.

Festival attendees will have the opportunity to watch The Whispering Candle, a serious film that deals with suicide and abusive behaviour within a family. The submission is created by Tony Tompkins. who shot the film using experimental techniques.

Greg Hemmings is a Saint John filmmaker. His film “When You Are Wild” is part of this year’s program. (Submitted)

Leblanc said another notable contribution is a music video called Take My Hand created by Cori Brownlee, who produces documentaries and short films.

There’s also a submission shot on film with a vintage Super 8 camera. The work by Spencer Hetherington is keeping celluloid alive.

Greg Hemmings, a Saint John filmmaker, has been involved with the festival since the start and said it’s great to see many new names on the list.

“That’s a really exciting opportunity,” he said. “The fact that it has grown so much as far as people submitting films.”

Hemmings’ film When You Are Wild is part of this year’s program.

It’s about little-known rock musician J. Willis Pratt,  who lives in upstate Vermont and is struggling with cancer. His band gets back together to raise money for his medical bills.

The documentary was captured in only a day and won the festival’s Silver Wave award.

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