Independent films thrive

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Greg Weeks and Charmaine Comeau with Filmworks Summerside hold up tickets at Samuel’s Coffee House, one of the places tickets for the upcoming film, ‘Still,’ that will be playing on Feb. 13 at Empire Theatres Studio 5 on Feb. 6, can be purchased. Ancelene MacKinnon - Journal Pioneer

SUMMERSIDE - A move to expand the cultural film intake in Prince County has been a success.

Charmaine Comeau had an idea last August to bring independent films to Summerside that wouldn’t typically be seen in local theatres. With some hard work and determination, she, along with Greg Weeks, Karen Hatcher, Kenny Driscoll and Jean MacKay, was able to create Filmworks Summerside, which is affiliated with Film Circuit, an outreach division of the Toronto International Film Festival.

The members of Filmworks Summerside are preparing for a showing on Feb. 13, a film titled Still, their third since opening night last November.  

Comeau has seen it and said it’s “absolutely lovely.”

“It’s a love story more than anything else. It’s set in St. Martins, N.B., so it has a regional interest,” she said. “It’s about an elderly couple who have to build a new house. The husband has the skills to do it, but he runs into the building code inspector and the story ensues from there.”

It’s also based on a true story, said Comeau.

“Director Michael McGowan saw the story of this couple in the Globe and Mail and was captivated by it. He quickly got on a plane and went to visit these people to hear more about the story. He described the area as cinematic.”

There will be a film playing once a month until May on the second Wednesday of each month.

It’s been great so far, said Comeau.

“We knew there was an audience for films like this in Summerside. And we have found them and they responded very well and that’s what we hoped.”

It’s an exciting experience having the chance to do this, she said.

“People have thanked us repeatedly for making the effort to make this happen and it’s really gratifying.”

Weeks said he enjoys offering another cultural outlet so people can get out and see what Summerside has to offer.

“I think that over the years the interest in independent films has been growing and we’re happy we can bring some selections from the Toronto International Film Festival to the audiences here.”

They said they have had a wonderful reception from the public and appreciate the support from Empire Studio 5.

“We’re hoping this will be an annual event,” said Weeks.

Comeau said she’s a film enthusiast herself and thinks it’s the stories that draw people to the films.

“They are certainly well-made films, but each of them tells a unique story and they do it in a beautiful way and I think that’s what draws people to cinema.”

She said it’s better to watch a film at a theatre compared to watching it at home.

“It’s a shared experience. It’s a social experience as well.”

She has been retired for three years and when they started Filmworks Summerside, she found herself working 10-hour days again, but it’s worth it, she said.

“The encounter with like-minded people who enjoy these films and appreciate the effort that we have made to make it happen and adding to what’s available for people in Summerside.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Organizations: Globe and Mail, Empire Studio

Geographic location: SUMMERSIDE, Toronto, Prince

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