Dozens of actors far too anonymous to be phonies from the Eastern Ontario film industry and beyond staggered home for another year last night, as The Smiths Falls International Film Festival wrapped up its 23rd edition. Many people you've never heard of had a great time at the closing party at Sailor Bill's Tavern on Beckwith Street.
"This was the best...movie thing...ever. I got way loaded every night," said patron of the arts Buford McGraw, editor-for-life of thehammer.ca, the festival's principal (and only) sponsor.
While there were no reports of any lucrative distribution deals being made, that's not the point of Smiths Falls' annual celebration of film, according to one of the movie stars in attendance at last night's wrap-up party.
"It's not about the deals, or the schmoozing...or the...movies. The SFIFF is all about free booze and like, gettin' laid, man," said Joe Mama, star of Bobby Egoyan's gritty festival favourite Shit on a Stick, and a former extra for three episodes of Degrassi Junior High back in 1988. "And the paparazzi totally leaves you alone here, not like back home in Bowmanville."
Of the record 12 films featured at this year's SFIFF, thehammer.ca publisher, orgy consultant and auteur Dave McGraw's gripping docudrama Fuck You, RIDE Program, a compendium of Dave's drunk driving arrests, was selected as the recipient of the prestigious Golden Empty award.
McGraw's accolades marks the 15th consecutive year a member of the McGraw clan has taken the Golden Empty. That could have something to do with the fact that well, everybody in the town is named McGraw, but well, that's really all we should say about that.
"Take that Cronenberg. Gllfeeger...hiccup...tolperocozpeot snuffleupagus," said the always ebullient McGraw, his face buried in a basket of chicken wings.
He took a cab home.
International superstar Russell Crowe shocked the Falls with his presence this year. The A-list hunk initially thought he was in Toronto, where its lesser-known film festival was taking place simultaneously. Of course, when he found out he wasn't in Toronto, his intended destination, he put several people in the hospital, but nobody really seemed to care-Hollywood royalty had been in our town! Not everyone can say they've been beaten to a pulp by an Oscar winner!
Heshton McGraw's highly anticipated feature Stuff I haven't Smoked Yet, starring Buford and Dave's cousin/occasional love interest Martie McGraw, ("she's my third cousin, so it's OK," said Dave) which premiered at the festival to critical acclaim, and three viewers, a new festival record.
Rabble-rousing documentarian Virgile Nile of Pembroke was also a festival favourite. Nile, who has been described as Canada's answer to Michael Moore, came to the SFIFF to debut his new polemic, The Liberals Sure Are Great, and it didn't disappoint.
"It's sure to be the controversial piece of the season," said Ralph Benmurgie, one of the festival's judges. "All of that talking about how great everything is...wow...I was...moved."
Speaking of 'moving,' the only international film at this year's festival, and subsequently, the winner of the Best International Entry prize, was Peruvian filmmaker Joaquin Yarrielez's Poo, a scatological thriller about Lima's waste treatment system, or lack thereof.
Lanark County's hottest film star, Bobby McKechnie, took the Smiths Falls Screen Actors' and Square Dance Callers' Guild's (SFSAASDCG) Best Actor award for his role in acclaimed Perth director Lenore Cueloff's film adaptation of Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot. According to the guy who actually saw it, the film involves McKechnie sitting on a picnic table saying 'Where's Godot at?' for two and a half hours.