Rockies Film Fest unveils fall season

Five movies will play at Key City Theatre through October and December

The Rockies Film Festival has dropped their first wave of films that will play during their upcoming season at Key City Theatre, from October 18 to December 6 and so far the programming looks as though it will ensure meaningful experiences for all attendees.

Five films have been announced for the fall and then there will be two more in January, two more in February and then the six-movie festival in March. The films are selected by a committee who are provided the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) schedule. They consult that and also take recommendations from their followers.

“We meet as a committee, we look at all the trailers, we read all the reviews and the write-ups and all of that and as a group we decide,” said Shelley Balfour, Sunrise Rotary Film Committee Chair. “We want some documentaries, we want some drama — just to make it very interesting, to appeal to a huge audience.”

READ MORE: Lacrosse movie to feature local coach

This season features a truly exciting opener, courtesy of Russ Sheppard of Rockies Law Firm. The Grizzlies is a film about Sheppard’s experience moving to Kugluktuk, Nunavut as a teacher and forming a lacrosse team which brought a desperately needed sense of pride and purpose to a community faced with one of the highest suicide rates in North America. The film will premier several months ahead of its March, 2019 release date. The Grizzlies will be shown at 6:30 on October 18.

READ MORE: Cranbrook man inspires movie ‘The Grizzlies’

“It’s very exciting, we actually can’t believe this is happening,” Balfour said. “And I just hope that it’s a sellout. It’s about a local citizen so I think people should show up.”

The Film Festival committee had tried to get the film in advance but was met with a resounding no from its distributor. Sheppard then got involved and made it happen.

“That is a huge coup for us and Russ Sheppard, it is such a great connection to our community,” Balfour said. “We are a sports community and to have someone have that experience and that impact on young children and making that actually happen is amazing, and it’s because of him that we’re actually getting it six months early.”

On October 30 there will be a special double feature. The first film Puzzle, which plays at 6:30, is the story of a neglected suburban mother who is drawn into an unexpected new world, after discovering her passion for solving jigsaw puzzles.

The second feature on the 30 is Shock and Awe, which features an all-star cast including Woody Harrelson, Tommy Lee Jones, Jessica Biel and Milla Jovovich and is directed by Rob Reiner. The 2018 American drama follows the story of a group of journalists working for Knight-Ridder’s Washington Bureau, who dig into the motivations behind the 2003 American invasion of Iraq.

Human Flow, which airs on November 8 at 6:30, is the latest documentary from renown Chinese contemporary artist and activist Ai Weiwei. The film is shot across 23 countries, and tells the monumental stories, in heart wrenching detail, of refugees moving around the world.

Human Flow is, I think, really critical to Cranbrook,” Balfour said. “We’ve got the Cranbrook Hub, which looks for refugees, which this movie is all about — the movement of refugees across the world. So we’re looking for a sponsor to support that and some of the profits will go back to The Cranbrook Hub for Refugees. That’s a big one.”

The film came out last year and TIFF was concerned with them bringing it in now, but Balfour is confident that Weiwei’s message is far too potent and critical to ever become dated.

“I think people need to get the real vision of what’s happening to people around the world, and I think that because our community is so active in the refugee situation, I think it’s going to be a very positive showing.”

The screening of Human Flow is a partnership with the Cranbrook Hub for Refugees and the night is still looking to secure sponsorship, as is the screening of Shock and Awe. Sponsorship costs $300 and in addition to free tickets to all these great movies, the sponsoring business will receive plenty of advertising — at the Key City Theatre, online, on the tickets and the movie poster. Interested businesses can contact Balfour at

Some other new announcements for this season include a new website which is set to launch this week. Rather than just having a website dedicated to the March festival, this will keep fans up to date all year long. They also introduced earlier start times and special pricing for double features — $12 per movie or both for $20.

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