REGINA - The Regina International Film Festival and Awards is back in 2023 before full audiences, following years of virtual operations due to COVID-19.
Organizers of the 2023 RIFFA held their launch press conference at the Cornwall Centre in Regina, where they released details about what to expect at this year’s Film Festival from August 1-5, 2023.
Here are some highlights of what to expect:
After staging a hybrid event last year, RIFFA will take place at locations including the Shu-Box Theatre, the Regina Public Library Theatre, The Studio at Cornwall Centre, Hotel Saskatchewan, and the City Square Plaza.
A total of 139 movies have been selected for screening at the 2023 event, coming from filmmakers across the world.
Submissions came in from 72 countries, with 31 languages to be represented.
Emerging talent will be especially showcased, with the selections include works from 49 first time filmmakers.
A total of 52 official selections have been directed by female and non-binary individuals.
This year, RBC is introducing RBC Moonlight Movies, which will offer three family friendly movies under the night sky. It will be offered August 2-4 in the City Square Plaza starting at 8:45 p.m. and is open to the public.
As well, City Square Plaza will host RIFFA Vendors Market on Aug. 3-4 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., with the indoor market happening at Cornwall Centre. Aug. 2-4 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
This year the Festival introduces the RIFFA Networking Series, which will allow for interactions between industry professionals. There will be meet and greet breakfasts happening at the Hotel Saskatchewan August 2-4. As well, there will be master classes led by renowned film professionals in the RIFFA Industry Series. These two initiatives are funded by Creative Saskatchewan and the Saskatchewan Media Production Industry Association.
For 2023 a series of fellowship programs have been rolled out, included a six-month RIFFA Screenwriters Fellowship, and the RIFFA Emerging Filmmaker Fellowship.
Finally, RIFFA will include three new programs designed to enhance the festival experience. One is the Global Citizen Series which will address pressing global issues, the Canadian Dialogue Series looking at social issues within Canada, and the Panorama Series which showcases innovative stories from around the world. Those happen at the RPL Theater August 2 to 4.
“As a board, we have had the privilege of nurturing this festival, watching it grow from its humble beginnings into the great event it is today,” said the Hon. Vaughn Solomon Schofield, former Lieutenant Governor of Saskatchewan and member of the RIFFA Board of Directors, at the news conference. “For several years, we have dedicated ourselves to ensure the success and longevity of this platform. It is truly a labor of love, driven by our unwavering belief in the power of cinema to inspire, to educate, and unite people from diverse backgrounds.”
“There was always room for another event that the public can celebrate,” said John Thimothy, President and CEO, Regina International Film Festival. “The intention of the festival is to put together a large scale event that attract international audiences to Saskatchewan and to have a great event in our province."
He also pointed out the mandates associated with the Festival "not only just to put together movies, but education is one of our mandates, inclusion is one of our mandates. We were happy to support it in the community.”
Mayor Sandra Masters noted the importance of the film festival to the city.
“The impact is enormous. It’s not just about visitation and celebration and community. RIFFA is an incredibly sophisticated endeavour, so to speak. When you can marry education, mental health supports, inclusion from around the world, celebration cinema, arts, culture, Creative Saskatchewan, nurturing filmmakers and the talent that exists here — I’m a firm believer that we have unbelievable talent within our city and within our province. This type of event helps to nurture, to showcase, to connect with individuals who maybe never thought they had an opportunity for it.”
For more information about the movies screening at this year's festival go to their website at riffa.ca.