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Lineup announced for Blue Mountain Film Festival

This year's festival, running June 1-5, includes 25 films from 25 countries
Film reel

Helen du Toit, executive and artistic director for the Blue Mountain Film Festival (BMFF), today announced the festival’s 2022 programming lineup including its opening- and closing-night presentations.

In this inaugural edition, the lineup will consist of 25 films from 25 countries, including Canada, China, Chile, Bolivia, Uruguay, Sweden, Israel, France, Saudi Arabia, Malta, Australia, Germany, and the United States.

“The BMFF programming team has curated a diverse selection of powerful films for our inaugural year,” said du Toit. “From comedy, romance, and adventure, to heavier themes such as war, human rights, and social issues, this slate of films reflects some of the most influential current films from around the world.”

The festival’s opening-night feature is the Canadian film Slash/Back by director Nyla Innuksuk. This Indigenous horror follows Maika and her ragtag friends as they discover an alien invasion in their tiny Arctic hamlet. Utilizing makeshift weapons and their horror movie knowledge, the aliens soon realize that you don’t mess with the girls from Pang.

The closing-night program, Fire of Love by Sara Dosa, memorializes two eccentric Alsatians travelling the planet in hot pursuit of their shared lifelong obsession. This American-Canadian documentary won the Jonathan Oppenheim Editing Award at Sundance Film Festival 2022 and the Special Jury Prize at Seattle International Film Festival 2022. 

The festival’s lineup 

The Albanian Virgin by Bujar Alimani

Luana’s arranged marriage to the initially charming Flamur quickly sours when his Machiavellian nature is revealed. Defending his daughter’s honour, Erion ends up dead — leaving his daughter, Luana, in the midst of a blood feud that forces a daunting choice.

Barakat by Amy Japhta

In this warm, funny, South African family drama, Amy Jephta focuses on a Muslim widow gearing up to tell her four grown sons that she has fallen in love again, with a non-believer.

Blind Ambition by Warwick Ross and Robert Coe

Competing for their native Zimbabwe at the World Wine Blind Tasting Championship, four economic refugees show that opportunity is all.

Carmen by Valerie Buhagiar

Abruptly homeless after dedicating her life to looking after her brother, a Catholic priest, Maltese spinster Carmen (Natasha McElhone) assumes his place in the confessional box, dispensing subversive advice to the surprised supplicants in this whimsical feminist romance.

Casablanca Beats/Haut et Fort by Nabil Ayouch

Inspired by filmmaker Nabil Ayouch’s experience of opening a creative arts centre for youth in a Casablanca ghetto, this punchy, propulsive drama fuses music, drama and realism to potent effect.

Nominations include the Palme d’Or from Festival de Cannes 2021 and Best Foreign Language Film from Palm Springs International Film Festival 2022.

Costa Brava Lebanon by Mounia Akl

A family living in isolation off the grid is dismayed when the government annexes the adjoining land to put in a landfill. This impressively nuanced, novelistic drama subtly reveals the bonds and tensions within the family unit.

Notable awards include the NETPAC Award from TIFF 2021 and the FIPRESCI International Critics Prize from El Gouna Film Festival 2021.

Everybody Hates Johan/Alle Hater Johan by Hallvar Witzø

After years away in the U.S. as a technician blaster, Johan returns to his rural childhood home in Norway in hopes of reconciling with Solovar, who still bears the scars from their old escapades. The entire town is set against him but the towering Johan is determined to build a life for himself.

Farha by Darin J. Sallam

A 14-year-old girl is swept up in the Israeli invasion of Palestine in 1948. Darin J. Sallam’s memorable feature debut demonstrates how a narrow focus can still reveal deep truths.

Nominations include the New Voices/New Visions Grand Jury Prize from Palm Springs International Film Festival 2022 and the Dragon Award from Göteborg Film Festival 2022.

Fire of Love by Sara Dosa

French volcanologists Katia and Maurice Krafft share an all-consuming love for lava and the earth from which it spews. Sarah Dosa’s stunning doc memorializes two eccentric Alsatians travelling the planet in hot pursuit of their shared lifelong obsession: volcanoes.

Forest for the Trees by Rita Leistner

Canadian photographer-filmmaker Rita Leistner turns her lens on the denizens of a tree-planting camp in B.C. to explore what it is that brings men and women such as herself to commit to this gruelling, lonely and isolated work.

Gagarine by Fanny Liatard and Jérémy Trouilh

Inspired by the youth they met while interviewing the inhabitants of a condemned apartment block in the suburbs of Paris, Fanny Liatard and Jérémy Trouilh cook up an audacious, magical, realist fable about creative resistance — with a killer soundtrack.

The film was selected for the 2020 Cannes Film Festival and also won Best First Film from the Lumière Awards 2022.

Greener Pastures/שאיפה לחיים by Assaf Abiri and Matan Guggenheim

In this delightfully cranky Israeli comedy, 75-year-old Dov belatedly embarks on a life of crime, monetizing seniors’ medical marijuana supplies on the black market.

Nominated for 12 Israeli Academy Awards.

Into the Weeds by Jennifer Baichwal

The latest environmental documentary from Canadian director Jennifer Baichwal (Anthropocene; Manufactured Landscapes) is a lucid and damning courtroom drama detailing the case for damages brought by a school groundsman against agrochemical giant Monsanto.

This film opened this year’s Hot Docs Festival.

Last Film Show by Pan Nalin

When the magic of movies conquers nine-year-young Samay’s heart, he moves heaven and earth in pursuit of his 35mm dreams, unaware of heartbreaking times that await him. Set in India.

Navalny by Daniel Roher

Enthralling and intimate, Navalny unfolds with the pace of a thriller as it follows Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny in his quest to identify the men who poisoned him in August 2020. Through Roher’s extraordinary access to the investigation, this fly-on-the-wall documentary is also a study of a man intent on reform who will not be cowed by anything, including his own poisoning.

Notable awards include both the 2022 Sundance Film Festival Audience Award in the U.S. Documentary competition and the fan-selected Festival Favorite Award.

Nelly & Nadine by Magnus Gertten

In this transfixing, beautifully crafted documentary, Magnus Gertten gently reveals an exceptionally resonant love story between two remarkable women who met in a German concentration camp in 1944.

Official Competition/Competencia Oficial by Mariano Cohn and Gaston Dupart

Penelope Cruz, Antonio Banderas and Oscar Martinez have a ball sending up the pretensions and hugely fragile egos of movie folk in this sharply funny film biz satire.

Slash/Back by Nyla Innuksuk

When a group of Inuk adolescent girls have a close encounter with an undead polar bear, it’s the signal that their town is in desperate danger. Genuinely thrilling, Nyla Innuksuk’s endearing teen chiller is a ton of fun.

Our Home/Utama by Alejandro Loayza Grisi

High in the Bolivian Andes, a llama farmer confronts his own mortality and the impending death of an ancient way of life.

Phantom of the Open by Craig Roberts

Mark Rylance stars as cheeky underdog Maurice Flitcroft, who entered the British Open in 1976 despite never having played a full round of golf before. This cheerful comedy hits the sweet spot.

Plaza Catedral by Abner Benaim

This compelling Panamanian thriller zeroes in on an unhappy, middle-aged divorcee and the desperate street kid who shows up at her door bleeding from a bullet wound. In helping him, she opens herself up to a world of trouble.

Secret Screening

With our inaugural secret screening we invite you to take a flier and trust our programmers to serve up something special. This movie could come from anywhere, but we promise it’s something we love. And just as we’re keeping you dark about this evening’s entertainment, we ask you to keep a secret. Yes, that’s right. There’s only one rule at the Secret Screening club: You don’t talk about the Secret Screening.

The Strong Ones/Los Fuertes by Omar Zúñiga Hidalgo

Visiting family in a foggy Chilean fishing village for a few days before his relocation to Montreal, Lucas meets Antonio. Flirtation quickly escalates into a full-blown affair, but can these two men see a future together?

Notable awards include the Best Foreign Language Film from Florida Film Critics Circle Awards 2020 and Best Feature from OUTshine Film Festival 2020.

A Tale of Love and Desire/Une Histoire D'Amour et de Désir by Leyla Bouzid

Leyla Bouzid’s sensuous, sensitive film traces a lexicon of longing in the story of two classmates at the Sorbonne, Ahmed and Farah, who fall in love with each other and with the words of the ancient Arabic poets they’re studying.

Notable nominations include Best Screenplay from Lumières Awards 2022 and the Dragon Award from Göteborg Film Festival 2022.

We Are Living Things by Antonio Tibaldi

This defiantly unpredictable indie keeps us guessing as two illegal immigrants — one from Mexico, the other from China — bond over aliens of a different type entirely.

BMFF runs from June 1 to 5 and will also feature a Creative Forum during the first three days of the festival. Individuals interested in attending are encouraged to book accommodations at Blue Mountain Resort early. Passes are available at