Grab the popcorn. It’s time for the EIFF

I suspect three festivals that come quickly to mind are Heritage Days,The Fringe and the Folk Festival. If they do, it’s no surprise. Allthree festivals receive tremendous media coverage, they’ve been aroundfor years, and they attract thousands upon thousands of attendees.

Quick! Name three of Edmonton’s festivals.

I suspect three festivals that come quickly to mind are Heritage Days, The Fringe and the Folk Festival. If they do, it’s no surprise. All three festivals receive tremendous media coverage, they’ve been around for years, and they attract thousands upon thousands of attendees.

With a little more time, you could probably name more festivals. But there’s one festival that’s missing from this list: The Edmonton International Film Festival (EIFF).

If you have never heard of it, or have never attended, you should mark off Sept. 25 to Oct. 3 on your calendar. This should be as much a “must-attend” festival as any of the others the city has to offer.

Every year this festival just gets better and better. This year, the EIFF is again offering a varied selection of independent films from around the globe. The schedule includes 40 feature-length dramas and documentaries, and more than 100 short films.

For the first time, the City of Edmonton and Movies on the Square have stepped up to the plate in support of the festival. On Sept. 17 and 18, movies will be projected onto a three-storey inflatable screen in Winston Churchill Square.

On Sept. 17, the movie is Man on Wire, which had its premiere at last year’s festival and went on to win an Academy Award. That shows just how adept the festival’s organizers are at picking winners. If you want to be ahead of the cinematic curve, attend the festival.

On Sept. 18, the movie is Anne Wheeler’s Bye Bye Blues. This shot-entirely-in-Alberta feature film is worth seeing for a second or third time.

Sobeys Lunchbox Shorts should be of particular interest to those working in the downtown. For a paltry $10, you get lunch and a movie at Empire Theatres in Edmonton Centre.

If you’re an aspiring filmmaker, the EIFF has something for you, too. Citytv has created a “Five Minutes of Fame” video challenge. If your video of a memorable movie scene wins, you could end up with a trip for two to Mexico.

The more festivals our city offers to us and the world, the better. The EIFF is one that needs your support. See you there.