What an Amazing Evening at #MovieNightsCA #Winnipeg

Thanks Manitoba Film & Music for an amazing opportunity to celebrate Canadian Film

The Manitoba film industry is busy, going by the $120 million dollars worth of production the province has hosted in the past year.

But Manitoba film isn’t necessarily glamorous. Films get made. They often play festivals. Occasionally, they show up on local screens, or they première on cable services.

Wednesday night was an exception, with a gala screening of director Tyson Caron’s romantic comedy Lovesick at the Centennial Concert Hall. The invitation-only screening was the local culmination of Canadian Film Day, a nationwide celebration of Canuck cinema that saw about 1700 free screenings from coast to coast.

Lovesick’s stars flew in for the occasion — Jacob Tierney from Montreal and Ali Tataryn from Vancouver. But the invitations were also accepted by stellar homegrown talent including Adam Beach (with his wife, Summer, and daughter, Phoenix, by his side), Tony Award-winning actor Len Cariou, Jonas Chernick and Vancouver-based Aleks Paunovic (who said he was crashing the party as he was in town working on the Keanu Reeves thriller Siberia).

The last time Cariou shot a movie in Winnipeg was for the 2004 Richard Gere-Jennifer Lopez comedy Shall We Dance, which Cariou laughingly recalls as “the one I got cut out of.” Even so, the St. Boniface-born actor says he was happy to accept the invitation to celebrate Canadian film in his old hometown.

“When I got the offer and I read what it was about, I said, ‘Thank God! Finally!’

“Telefilm Canada and Canada itself is saying: ‘We’re pretty damn good. Now we’re going to toot our horn and let’s do it really proud. Let’s not just do it in Toronto or Montreal, let’s do it across the country!’

“I think it’s mightily important to the industry,” Cariou said. “I think what happens culturally and economically is huge (for Manitoba). And I remember a time you couldn’t get arrested in this town if you wanted to do a film.”

If Lovesick was getting a movie première treatment, no one was calling it a première.

In fact, it played at Cinematheque in January and February — a not especially glamorous local première — acknowledges one of the film’s producers, Kyle Irving.

“But there’s something kind of Winnipeg about that, isn’t there?” Irving said, asserting the run was a solid hit. “It sold out 17 screenings in a row and we turned away 400 people at the box office.

“There’s never been a more Winnipeg movie than Lovesick,” Irving said. “There’s been great movies about Winnipeg, but never one that shows the city the way we do. It’s the bright side of Winnipeg. It’s the fun, cool, hip side of Winnipeg.”