As if having the 29th annual Genie Awards in Ottawa for the first time isn't enough, a series of events planned to kick off the Canadian film awards will likely send local movie buffs over the moon.
Whether you're a fan of blockbusters or prefer the avant-garde variety, next week is a chance for all film fanatics to show their support for Canadian film — without costing them a penny.
The National Capital Commission and the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television unveiled a full week's worth of public screenings and special events that will make up Genie Week at a special event Sunday.
The events, which kick off Saturday, culminate in the Genie Awards ceremony at the Canada Aviation Museum on April 4, followed by a gala at the Canadian War Museum.
"The awards are a huge coup," said NCC CEO Marie Lemay. "We're really happy to have the Genie Awards here."
"This is an opportunity for residents to show support for Canadian film and Canadian culture," said ACCT CEO Sara Morton.
Although the appetite for foreign — specifically American film — has reigned at Canadian box offices, Canadian films have always been known for their technical strength, thought-provoking subjects and entertainment value, said Morton.
"And audiences are responding to that," she said. "The craft of Canadian film gets better and better," she said. "The audience for Canadian film is expanding."
Over eight days, the 2009 Genie Host Organizing Committee is offering 20 free public events on both sides of the river.
Events kick off with a screening of Passchendaele at the Canadian War Museum, followed by free access to the special exhibition, Trench Life: A Survival Guide on Saturday.
There will also be screenings of other Genie Award-nominated films, including Amal, Tout est parfait, Normal, My Winnipeg, Up the Yangtze, The Necessities of Life and short films at venues including Library and Archives Canada, the Centrepointe Theatre, Arts Court, the Canadian Museum of Civilization, the Canadian Museum of Nature and the Diefenbunker.
In addition to screenings, events include the Genie Train red carpet arrival on April 3. The event is open to the public and allows people to get autographs as the who's who in Canadian film arrives in Ottawa on two VIA Rail Genie trains coming from Montreal and Toronto.