There are not too many fests out there where the average fan can hang out with his or her favorite filmmaker in a cozy pub setting, and chat about the joys and frustrations of indie filmmaking. Perhaps that’s one of the reasons Edmonton, Canada’s Local Heroes Intl. Film Festival feels so much like what Telluride must have been like about a decade ago.
Centrally located in the sleepy town’s hip Old Strathcona district, the 15th edition of the fest will once again draw cinephiles and helmers to Edmonton March 16-23. Over 45 films and 42 shorts will be scheduled to unspool at this kinder, gentler annual outing.
“People who have attended our event in the past have remarked on our intimate setting,” says fest director Bill Evans. “Although it’s hard to clearly define what it means to be an independent these days, we’ve built up a reputation for championing films that may simply get buried and not get the exposure they deserve out there.”
Although Evans notes that the heart of the event is about supporting small jewels like “New Waterford Girl,” and not about the hype and the glitz of the film business, it’s not unusual to find the likes of Norman Jewison, Krzysztof Zanussi or Werner Herzog hobnobbing with the fans at screenings or after-parties.
If you plan to attend, be ready to impress your favorite auteur with your knowledge of his or her most obscure career turns, and make sure you visit at least a few of Edmonton’s charming eateries and watering holes.