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Posted: January 29, 2018

10th film festival an inspirational experience

By Mary Giuliano

The Reel Canadian Film Festival was held on January 26-28, with special guests brought in for the film that opened the annual film festival held at Fernie’s Vogue Theatre.

‘Adventures in Public School’ was the featured film with Siobhan Williams playing the love interest in the film and Fernie’s Flo Barrett the costume designer.

This is a distinctive year as it is the 10th anniversary of the festival and so congratulations and considerable compliments go to the organizing committee comprised of Kevin, Cory, Debbie, Keya, Hannah, Suzanne, Deborah, Rebecca, Stacey, Susan and Ingrid on a decade of hosting exceptional films and guests to Fernie.

This annual festival is supported by many valuable sponsors so congratulations are also extended to them for contributing to bringing independent films that showcase the many talented Canadians including those from right here in Fernie.

Adventures in Public School is produced by Josh Epstein, whom some might recall was here two years ago with his film Edweard that also involved award-winning costume designer Flo Barrett.

The film’s script was co-written by Kyle Rideout and Josh Epstein. It was directed by Rideout and produced by Epstein.

It stars Judy Greer, Daniel Doheny, Siobhan Williams, comedian Russell Peters, Andrew McNee, Grace Park and Andrea Bang. This film has already been recognized with an award as Best Comedy feature film at the Edmonton Film festival and is also nominated as Best Canadian Feature film and Best BC Film for 2017.

The film is about a teenage boy who is homeschooled by his mother, but on falling in love with a girl attending public school he enrols there and soon gets a crash course on teenage life.

The film is light-hearted and really entertains. Judy Greer as the mom is both hilarious, serious and very believable as the smothering mama that doesn’t want to let go.

Siobhan Williams plays Anastasia, a one-legged girl who is beautiful and very popular.

Siobhan was born in Cambridge, England and moved to Canada as a child with her family. She trained for 13 years at the School of Alberta Ballet in Jazz, modern dance and ballet. She has studied voice guitar, violin and theatre. She broke into the film and TV world while living in her hometown of Calgary with a role on CBC’s internationally acclaimed series “Heartland.”

Siobhan Williams, right, with Steve Bays.

Moving to Vancouver she was hired for another recurring role on the live action series Level Up. Williams has had leading roles on may feature films and series most recently including John Cassar’s ‘Forsaken’ with Kiefer and Donald Sutherland and Demi Moore and is also on AMC’s acclaimed series ‘Hell on Wheels.’ This personable, beautiful young woman is very talented and well on her way to stardom.

Lovely Flo Barrett was born in the UK but spent a good part of her adolescence in Fernie.

In 2015 Flo won a Leo Award for best costume design in a feature film for her work Eadweard, which was the opening film in 2016.

She told everyone that she built those costumes in the basement of her parent’s house with a tiny budget. She was also nominated in two of three design categories at the Leo awards.

Flo did the costume design for Adventures in Public School and also for the short film ‘Stories of Alyx and Anton,’ which premiered in Fernie just before the feature film.

Most recently she did the costumes for the American horror film ‘Summer of ’84’ that just premiered at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival.

Fernie’s Kyle Hamilton’s film ‘I’m Possible’ premiered at the Fernie festival.

It’s the story of Fernie local Grace Brulotte who is the first physically disabled woman tandem sit skier to heli-ski in Canada.

Nothing stops this young woman from achieving what she wants in life, not even a most challenging physical disability. This short film follows Grace and shows new meaning to the old adage “where there’s a will there is way.” Although Grace’s life in a wheelchair is challenging everyday, this young woman has proven time and again that a disability is only that as long as you let it. Grace, you are simply amazing.

Thank you Kyle and Grace for this most inspirational film. Sincere congratulations.

Lead image: Flo Barrett, centre, shares a laugh with Nick and Mary Giuliano. Photos submitted

Mary Giuliano is Mayor of the City of Fernie and a long-time valley writer and communicator

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