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Downtown Docfest fast approaching

By Madeleine Villa [1]

BELLEVILLE – Three days, six venues, 50 documentaries and over 600 audience members: Downtown DocFest [2] 2017 promises to bring glitz and glam to Belleville [3].

The green carpet marks the kickoff for the three-day movie marathon on Friday, March 3. Local celebrity Dug Stevenson, executive director of the Bay of Quinte Regional Marketing Board, will be there, interviewing directors and other friendly faces before the festivities begin.

“It creates a buzz and is really exciting for people to get to talk to Dug on camera before the opening gala,” says Lynn Braun, who has been the artistic director and festival programmer for DocFest since its birth in 2012.

Following the green carpet will be the viewing of The Music of Strangers: Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble by Morgan Neville. After the screening there will be live music featuring Denielle Bassels and the MacDaddys.

The event continues Sunday, March 5.

Fifty documentaries, including 15 local films, will be screened at the Empire Theatre, the Pinnacle Playhouse and the Core Centre.

Documentaries entered must follow the focus of the festival, meaning they must be about social justice, human rights, the environment or arts and culture.

Loyalist College also plays a part in the festival. Second-year TV New Media students have been creating four-minute documentaries featuring a local story. After a voting process, four of these documentaries get shown at the festival. Last year one of them was the winner of the Audience Choice Award for a local film.

The community has welcomed the festival with open arms, Braun said.

“Because of the films we screen, there (have) been local projects started up. Right after the first festival, people got together because of a film they saw and they started the Belleville community gardens … When people see films like this it really does motivate them to actually do something, take action, and that can lead to social change.”

The festival usually sells out its600 tickets. “People come – they come in the hundreds, it’s amazing,” Braun said.

Almost 400 tickets have already been sold, and the early-bird special of $40 will be sold out soon. Tickets will then be $50, and $20 for students.