As the producer of the Edmonton International Film Festival, Kerrie Long does great work. She is articulate and a genuine joy to speak with. A great ambassador, but a really lousy actress.
“You got me,” she said. “I’m tired. I’m going to start laughing hysterically and then completely out of control.”
That sounds like a scene worth seeing during Friday night’s opening gala of the EIFF, now celebrating its 23rd edition.
Competing for Long’s attention will be Canadian actor Don McKellar and filmmaker Dilip Mehta, who will be here to present Cooking with Stella. Playing at Empire City Centre Cinemas, the film starts at 7 p.m. The Edge-of-Night feature at 9:30 p.m. is the Ozploitation hit Not Quite Hollywood.
You can hardly blame Long for being beat — reviewing 800 submissions will do that to you — but it hasn’t diminished her enthusiasm for film or a good party. She says Edmonton’s answer to the gala in particular, which isn’t as uppity as the red carpet might otherwise imply, really sets the tone for the fest’s fun run.
“Unlike other festivals,” Long says, “we insist that our actors and filmmakers be here for the gala openings of their films. Don McKellar has been here at least three times and he loves our audiences. He’s happy to come back when we ask him. I think that says a lot about the reputation we’re developing.
“The gala is also a great opportunity to meet and chat with the filmmakers and other people who just love movies.”
This Saturday’s reel highlights include documentaries H2Oil and Winnebago Man, and 2007 Sundance Jury Prize Winner The Pool. On Sunday, look for Son Of The Sunshine and The Snake.