Multimedia Film Fest begins Monday with York Region circuit

April 30, 2013   ·   0 Comments

By Brock Weir

Having won top honours last year, Alex Broughton is coming back for more in this year’s Multimedia Film Festival of York Region.

The Aurora director, whose piece, Annuit Coeptis, took the top prize in the annual festival bringing together artists of all ages and from all nine York Region municipalities, is back this year – but this time as producer with Kazu & Azul, a dramedy directed by Esteban Diaz.

This was the second film Mr. Broughton submitted to the festival. While he thinks his first entry may have been a bit too critical of the Harper government for adjudicators’ taste, he bills this flick as far more family-friendly fare.

“One was a little edgy for the festival,” he explains. “It was low budget, maybe a little too political for York Region, but the other one is a light-hearted family picture. It was our final project at Humber College and it was an institutionalized film, although the institution didn’t help us at all! It had a production of about $10,000, four to six of which came out of my own pocket.”

He describes it as a love story about a man and a mermaid that “takes us to new depths.”

“It is a story about someone longing for something more than they have in their life,” he says. “One night, they sort of find it in this mermaid and this character falls in love and sacrifices himself to be with her. It is a story for everyone to know you can achieve what you want to in life if you fight hard enough.

“You have to be open to changing the conventions and looking past conventional ways of teaching and living to achieve what you want to in life.”

Mr. Broughton is one of four Aurora filmmaking teams taking part in this year’s festival, which is doing a circuit of several venues throughout York Region. It begins this Monday, May 6, at Vaughan City Hall with a final stop on Thursday, May 16 at the Aurora Cultural Centre from 7 – 9 p.m., before culminating in a special closing awards gala on May 29 at Newmarket Theatre.

Aurora participants include Josh Conley’s “A Guessing Game” in the professional category, about a girl who goes missing during a student pep rally; E. Bozhori in the children’s animation category about “being drawn into experiencing life”, and L. VanderPloey in the children’s drama category about a chess showdown at Aurora Senior Public School where things get a little bit ugly.

Several filmmakers, including Mr. Broughton, were on hand at the Cultural Centre on Thursday for the official launch of the 2013 Festival. This year’s events are not limited to the screenings themselves, but include quadrupling their film workshop efforts throughout York Region, a full-length feature trailer competition for professional Regional filmmakers, and an “Essence of York” photo contest.

Over 70 films were submitted for this year’s festival with 54 making the final cut.

“We believe in this project,” said Festival board chair Gillian Barker. “It unifies York Region, it celebrates its diversity, and I believe sponsors and audiences alike believe in the work that we do. The Festival is the only arts and culture festival to operate in all nine municipalities. In the year-round initiatives, we have workshops in all the communities, encourage advocacy, and the festival gives voice to the distinct and collective experiences of York Region’s communities. This is an exciting new direction for York Region and we have so much growth. It is an exciting place to be.”

Having seen most of the films this year so far, Ms. Barker told The Auroran that this year’s entries are “awesome” and offer something for everyone.
“The young people have got such great ideas and such strong voices,” she said, noting common threads are emerging in all of the films. “It is wonderful to see that because the young people are the change that is coming.”

For Mr. Broughton, this year’s film festival gives his film another chance to find its audience. From his perspective, it is not just a story about going that extra mile, it is a story of perseverance behind the scenes as the filmmakers struggled to make it work after many setbacks.

“What’s great about this festival is that it really opens up the doors to all levels of filmmakers,” he says. “Maybe because it is north of the city it allows a free range of filmmakers to submit. I have been in other film festivals that don’t have the professional etiquette this festival has, so they do present the films in a very sophisticated way. It is a great distribution festival because it hits all areas of the Region.”

For more information on the Multimedia Film Festival of York Region and its circuit to all nine York Municipalities, visit



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