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Banff Film Festival growing in popularity locally

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The Banff Film Festival is returning to Countryfest Community Cinema for the fourth year and organizer Clayton Swanton could not be more pleased with the support the event has received.
“It’s just been a very good fund-raiser for the Countryfest Community Cinema. It’s brought into Dauphin thanks to the Dauphin Rotary Club’s Manitoba MudRun, who pays to bring it to town,” Swanton explained.
“But all the proceeds go to the Countryfest Community Cinema. The MudRun wouldn’t be able to do it without a couple of nightly sponsors that help us to cover the cost to bring it in.”
This year Dauphin Clinic Pharmacy and Parkland Source for Sports are sponsoring the Jan. 29 screening, he said, while Jan. 30 is sponsored by Nutter’s Everyday Naturals and Tourism Dauphin.
“So without strong business supporters, as well in Dauphin, which we always have, these types of events just wouldn’t happen,” Swanton added.
The Banff Mountain Film Festival is an international film competition and annual presentation of short films and documentaries about mountain culture, sports and the environment.
In total, the local screening is offering nine films on the first night and 10 on the second night, he said, noting there were 37 films to choose from and by hosting two nights, Dauphin is able to bring over half of them to Countryfest Community Cinema.
“We tried to make sure that they’re varied content that appeals to a broad audience and aren’t just North American based,” Swanton noted.
“People are sure to leave inspired by the films, I think. If you had to describe it in one word, it would be inspiring. If you haven’t been before, if you come this year, you’ll be buying a ticket again next year, which is what we have been seeing and which is why it sells out quicker and quicker every year, because we open ourselves up to a broader audience.”
The runtime for both nights is approximately two hours with an intermission in between, he said, making it a three-hour evening. Door prizes after intermission are supplied by the film festival and local businesses.
Swanton announced local businesses are also sponsoring the front two rows of seats each night, in support of local youth. Prairie Supply Company and Get in the Loop are partnering with a high school group and McDonalds is providing tickets to members of the Kids of Mud program, he said, adding each participant will also receive a kid’s combo from the theatre.
Swanton is excited about exposing youth to the festival, noting the front rows are difficult to sell, because the films are action packed and for some people may be too close to the screen.
The Banff Film Festival is revered around the world, Swanton said, pointing out a contact in Banff explained a community in North Carolina with a 16,000-seat theatre sold out two nights in an hour. The night after the festival is in Dauphin, he added, it is at the Centennial Concert Hall in Winnipeg for one night.
“They’re seeing half the films we get to see in a much larger venue. So, we’re spoiled here to get to see it on such a small screen,” Swanton said, noting the local event is also licensed.
Tickets are $25 each per night for assigned seating, he said, and are available at the Countryfest Community Cinema box office.
“Like I say, 100 percent goes back in to help the theatre continue to operate as a not-for-profit venture, as well,” Swanton said.

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M. A. Nyquist
REPORTER
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