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Belleville’s DocFest will be new and improved this year

By Nick Ogden [1]

BELLEVILLE – Belleville’s documentary festival, DocFest [2], will serve award-winning documentaries, a fresh face and a new main course this year.

The festival, which shows international and local documentaries, was created by retired businessman Gary Magwood in 2012 to bring attention to the genre and get people talking about what they have watched. This year’s festival runs from March 4 to 6.

Gary Magwood is the chair of the DocFest team. The team has 12 members that look over the entire festival. Photo by Nick Ogden, QNet News [3]

Gary Magwood is the chair of the DocFest team. Photo by Nick Ogden, QNet News

This year the festival will be even more inviting for patrons, Magwood said. He hopes a partnership with local restaurants, called DocFeast, will help keep moviegoers downtown for meals between screenings, he said.

The partnership is expected to boost business for the restaurants involved, as the weekend of screenings usually draws up to 700 people.

Restaurants involved include Gourmet Diem, Sans Souci, L’Auberge de France and Capers. Magwood said he is hoping to have six or seven restaurants in total: “Folks can have the option of going out a little fancy or they can go casual.”

This addition to the festival will only improve the experience of attendees, Magwood said:

“We’re not interested in getting any bigger – just kind of improving it as we go along.”

DocFeast isn’t the only big change coming. The festival will screen fewer films this year to allow more time between shows. Last year there were about 50 screenings; this year there will around 40.

“People were jogging from the library to the CORE” Arts and Culture Centre,” Magwood explained. “I was standing out in the middle of Pinnacle Street to direct traffic. It was crazy. Nobody was getting a chance to sit and relax and talk about the movies.”

Hoping to one day turn his Lego Oscar into a real one, Jacob Côté continues his journey into the world of film as festival co-ordinator for DocFest. Photo by Nick Ogden, QNet News [4]

Hoping to one day turn his Lego Oscar into a real one, Jacob Côté continues his journey into the world of film as festival co-ordinator for DocFest. Photo by Nick Ogden, QNet News

There’s also a new festival co-ordinator, Jacob Côté, a part-time professor in Loyalist College’s Television and New Media program.Côté has a background in graphic design, which helps him maintain the DocFest website and create advertisements for the festival.

Côté was approached to join the team after his work with the Hollywood North Film Festival [5] held in July in Trenton, Belleville and Picton.

He says he is excited to work with the DocFest team this year and to help the area’s arts and culture: “We now have multiple film festivals within our entire region. That’s saying something – whereas if you look five years ago, there was nothing.”

The documentary Miss Sharon Jones [6] will kick off the weekend at the Friday night gala at the Empire Theatre [7].

Films will be shown on six screens across four venues: the Belleville Public Library [8], the Pinnacle Playhouse [9], the CORE Centre [10] and the Empire Theatre.

For more information on DocFest visit its website, downtowndocfest.ca [2].

 

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