The show must go on.
That is the theme of the 2020 Routes to Roots Film Festival.
The festival, which is held annually at the Strand Theatre in Simcoe, features local filmmakers, films created locally, and films that have premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival.
Due to the COVID-19 restrictions placed on theatres, the Strand was forced to close in March, reopened for a short period of time as restrictions lifted, and has closed again due to the lack of movies available to show.
Two events for the festival have been planned, one on Nov. 15 and another on Dec. 13.
At the Nov. 15 event the local film screened will be Bookworm by Jesse Senko, and the TIFF feature film is Hope Gap, starring Annette Bening and Bill Nighy.
Senko’s piece was filmed in the Waterford Old Town Hall and officially released in May.
The film centres around the loneliness felt by the main character, which Senko said was perfect for a film being released in the middle of a pandemic.
“Jesse is an incredibly talented filmmaker,” said Jim Carroll, chair of the festival. “We’ve always wanted to promote filmmaking in Norfolk County, and promote people who live and make films in Norfolk County. This is an opportunity once a month to do that.”
Hope Gap, the TIFF film, follows a couple that, after being married for around 40 years, decide to get divorced.
Carroll said when choosing films for Routes to Roots, the team always wants to have something that will make the viewer think.
In December, the team plans on featuring local filmmaker Winnifred Murphy, a Sheridan College film and television student.
Murphy’s documentary on her father, a fisherman in Port Dover, has been screened at festivals around the world.
“She’s a film student, and I’m a retired teacher, so I want high school kids to see that and think, ‘I could go to college or university for film,’” said Carroll. “But they need to know somebody who’s done it and talk to them.”
Those attending are asked to bring non-perishable food items to donate to the Simcoe Caring Cupboard from the November event. The December event will see the collection of food for the Church Out Serving COVID-19 meal program.
Screenings are at 4 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. The cost is $10 per ticket. To RSVP email Carroll at firstname.lastname@example.org.
All COVID-19 protocols for theatres will be in effect. A maximum of 50 people are able to be in a theatre, so those wishing to attend must call ahead to ensure there is space available.