The Family of the Forest | Photo by Alex Margineanu / Catbird Productions

Family of the Forest Tops Kingston Film Fest Winners

Laura Rietveld's doc wins Cogeco People’s Choice Award

2 mins read

The Family of the Forest topped the winners at the 2023 Kingston Canadian Film Festival. The doc directed by Laura Rietveld was an easy favourite in the rankings for the Cogeco People’s Choice Award for Best Feature Film. The Family of the Forest offers a slice-of-life portrait of a homesteader family living off-grid in the boreal forest near Gaspé Peninsula, Québec. The film was a highlight in a weekend with many sold-out screenings as Kingston audiences turned out in droves and enjoyed engaged Q&As with filmmakers in attendance.

Also winning on the documentary front was Tess Girard’s Shelter, which picked up the Douglas J. Falconer Award of Excellence. The award, which is new this year in honour of Falconer’s contribution to local film culture, honours a Kingstonian who is emerging in the Canadian film scene. Shelter is a thoughtful and elegiac consideration of the Girard’s hometown as she returns to her roots for a period of soul-searching. The awards were handed out in a ceremony hosted by film critic Thom Ernst.


The full list of Kingston Canadian Film Festival award winners is as follows:


Cogeco People’s Choice Award for Best Feature Film
The Family of the Forest (dir. Laura Rietveld)

Best Canadian Short FIlm
Split Ends (dir. Alireza Kazemipour)

Best Youth Short Film
Reflected Figures (dir. Keira Wolfe)

Best Local Short Film
Chaka Chikodzi (dir. Naomi Okabe)

Favourite Music Video, Audience Choice
Little Friday Productions with Tiny Horse – “The Girls”

Best Music Video, Jury Choice
Outpost 12 Studios with Visual Menace Creative with Kasador – “Lock On”

The Douglas J. Falconer Award of Excellence
Shelter (dir. Tess Girard)


Pat Mullen is the publisher of POV Magazine. He holds a Master’s in Film Studies from Carleton University where his research focused on adaptation and Canadian cinema. Pat has also contributed to outlets including The Canadian Encyclopedia, Paste, That Shelf, Sharp, Xtra, and Complex. He is the vice president of the Toronto Film Critics Association and an international voter for the Golden Globe Awards.

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