Shadows of the Mind, a unique film festival dedicated to challenging you to step outside your comfort zone, rings in its 19th year of bringing mental health, addictions, and social issues to light.
After drawing inspiration from the “Rendez-vous with Madness” film festival in Toronto, the first director, Mike O’Shea, started this film fest in 1989 with a number of organizations and individuals in the Sault, including doctors, mental health workers, Algoma Public Health, the Film Society, and film lovers alike.
Tonight, the Shadows of the Mind Gala Reception and Film, an annual introductory event that kicks off the festival, saw a packed theatre, abuzz with conversation.
It was the first year partnering with the Tech, whose old school styled theatre and delectable appetizers from Santini’s Bistro made it the perfect evening to mingle, munch, and enjoy the featured film, Oscar-nominated “The Florida Project.”
150 people attended the dinner and a show option, and 120 made up general admission of the show.
At almost 300 guests, Jimmie Chiverelli, member of the Working Committee, told me this is the largest turnout they’ve had.
“The gala used to be an extra perk for Gold Pass members, but now it has turned into an annual event,” said Gary Huntley, Co-director of Shadows, “it gets people in the mood to watch the films and discuss what films they want to see. It’s a great social event.”
Wendy Hamilton, President of the Board of Directors, applauded the “small but mighty” team that puts this event on every year.
She told SaultOnline, “This kind of turn out tells us that although there are so many options for streaming and watching movies from home, people still want to come together as a community and view films.”
What really attracts people is likely the unique nature of the films that Shadows brings in. “We try to bring in films that wouldn’t normally come to our theatre, we try to fill that gap so there is something for everybody – not just superhero and action movies, which is what you would normally see at a commercial theatre. We try to provide a wider range of taste than what a normal theatre would have,” explained Huntley.
And with topics ranging from addictions, post-partum depression, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders, and a plethora of international films, there is no doubt in the range and depth of movies shown, and their ability to spark passion and thoughtfulness in their viewers.
The festival still has another 22 films to show, there is still plenty of time to catch a film. Click here to visit their web page for the full schedule and movie details.