Homegrown favourites converge at the 2023 Kingston Canadian Film Festival (KCFF). The festival announced its line-up for this year’s event, which returns to in-person screenings. KCFF will open with Anthony Shim’s multi-award winning drama Riceboy Sleeps. The film about a Korean-Canadian mother and her son won TIFF’s Platform Prize and is one of three films nominated for the Toronto Film Critics Association’s Rogers Best Canadian Film award. Its fellow nominee, Brother directed by Clement Virgo, will also screen at KCFF. The drama is the story of a Scarborough family whose lives are radically altered by an act of police brutality.
On the documentary front, Jacquelyn Mills’ festival circuit favourite Geographies of Solitude brings its experimental portrait of researcher Zoe Lucas to the festival. KCFF will also screen Nisha Pahuja’s To Kill a Tiger, about a family standing up to gender-based violence in India. POV named it the best Canadian film of the year. Meanwhile, Tanya Tagaq and Chelsea McMullan’s Ever Deadly joins Tiger in repping NFB docs at the festival. Ever Deadly is an artfully full-throated portrait of the Inuk singer told in collaboration with McMullan.
Also coming from the NFB is Brian D. Johnson’s artful study of artisans The Colour of Ink. Johnson’s doc profiles Toronto based ink artisan Jason Logan, who also appears in the archival screening All You Have to Do. The 1981 film by Bronwen Wallace and Chris Whynot features Logan as a young boy alongside his mother, Pat, as the doc chronicles her experience following a terminal cancer diagnosis. Excerpts of All You Have to Do appear in The Colour of Ink, so KCFF attendees might get even more out of Johnson’s doc by catching the hard-to-see cinematheque screening beforehand.
Fans of the artisanal might also enjoy Family of the Forest, Laura Rietveld’s observation of a self-sufficient family living off grid near the Gaspé Peninsula in Quebec. The film captures their story in a turning point. The kids are getting older and realize they might prefer life at a different pace, which paints a different future for their parents who assumed they’d take over their daily labours.
TIFF People’s Choice Award winner Black Ice, meanwhile, lets KCFF get sporty. The doc by Hubert Davis examines racism in hockey and asks how “Canada’s game” can offer a more accurate reflection of Canada. Oscar submission Eternal Spring also continues its run and brings Jason Loftus’s unique human rights essay to the Canadian showcase.
Finally, offering something of a local flavour is Shelter from Prince Edward County’s Tess Girard. The film, which premiered at Hot Docs, sees Girard return to her hometown of Horning’s Mills, Ontario. Shelter is a personal work as Girard considers the relationship between humans and the landscapes that surround them.
The 2023 Kingston Canadian Film Festival runs March 2-5.