Free Canadian Film Festival at Labia


The Canadian Film Festival is back showcasing seven award-winning features that represent the best of recent Canadian cinema.

Each of the films will be screened twice in the week from Friday 16th to Thursday 22nd February, 6.00 and 8.15pm, at the Labia on Orange Cinema in Cape Town. Entry to the public is free and screening details are available at the cinema or on

The movie genres vary widely between domestic comedies, coming-of-age dramas and poignant social commentaries. There is even one humorous, inspirational documentary directed by a passionate heavy metal fan about his musical genre, entitled ‘Metal – A Headbanger’s Journey’.

Other films explore themes like the exploration of gay identity (in ‘C.R.A.Z.Y’); small-town frustrations (in ‘New Waterford Girl’); adult attempts to break from parental expectations (in ‘Familia’); the role of religion in modern lives (‘La Neuvaine’), and some women’s existential angst about turning forty (in ‘Miss Meteo’). Epic social tragedy is also finely sketched in a tender love story set during the Rwandan genocide in ‘A Sunday in Kigali’.

The High Commission of Canada proudly chose Johannesburg as the launch site for their travelling film festival through Africa. It moves to Cape Town’s Labia Cinema later on 16 February, and then on to Kinshasa, Brazzaville, Maputo, Lusaka, Algiers and Dar es Salaam in March.

This is the fifth year that the film festival will be hosted in South Africa. It has always proved a great success, not only in deepening public understanding of broad Canadian culture and the common features of our multicultural societies, but also in Canadian movies being bought for the South African commercial circuit.

Recent years have seen increasing co-operation between South African and Canadian film distributors, directors and film-makers. The High Commission has sponsored visits by directors and producers between the countries, and supported the screening of Canadian films at the annual Sithengi film market, as well as the Gay and Lesbian Film Festival in Cape Town.

Canada was the first country to sign an Audiovisual Co-production Agreement with South Africa in 1997, one of 50 such Canadian agreements worldwide. South Africa is now signatory is similar agreements with Britain, Italy and Germany, but the Canadian arrangement is still the most active. Over the past decade, it has resulted in 11 major co-productions with budgets of over R175 million.

One such co-production was the ‘Charlie Jade’ series shown recently on SABC. South African producer Chris Roland (whose other productions include ‘Hotel Rwanda’ and ‘Stander’) shot the series in Cape Town, and Montreal partners contributed the special effects and animation.

The SA Department of Trade and Industry estimates that for every $1 of film budget invested, the local economy benefits by $2.50. During its seven months of filming, the ‘Charlie Jade’ series generated over 3 500 local jobs and injected R250 million into the South African economy. This is the type of investment that the Canadian government encourages, as well as its formal commitments to black economic empowerment initiatives in the film industry.

Many South Africans are not aware of the extent of Canadian shows on their television screens, such as ‘Cold Squad’ and ‘The Collector’. Few realise that 80% of the films nominated for special effects at the Oscars in the last five years, have extensively used Canadian technology. Academy Award winners have included ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’, ‘Lord of the Rings’, ‘Superman Returns’, ‘Star Wars’ and ‘The X-Men’.

The Canadian industry boasts more than 2 000 production companies with 20 000 employees, and an annual turnover of over R21 billion. It leads the world in the production of special effects, particularly for the ‘Big Seven’ Hollywood studios, and generates 80% of global animation and special effects software.



Light comedy about two misfit teenager in 1970s Nova Scotia and their elaborate plots to brighten small-town life.

Screening: Tuesday 6 February at 20h15, and Thursday 8 February at 18h00.


Humorous documentary directed by a passionate headbanger, on the history and varied forms of heavy metal music.

Screening: Friday 2 February at 18h00, and Monday 5 February at 20h15.


The dramatic love story of a Western journalist and Rwandan waitress separated in the 1994 genocide.

Screening: Sunday 34 February at 20h15 and Wednesday 7 February at 18h00.


Shifting from comedy to drama, this single mother and daughter story delves into broader ‘nature versus nurture’ issues.

Screening: Saturday 3 February at 20h15, and Monday 5 February at 18h00.


A single woman is horrified by the prospect of soon turning forty, and resolves to turn her life around.

Screening: Saturday 3 February at 18h00, and Wednesday 7 February at 20h15.


Two strangers’ lives weave together in this exploration of the relevance of religion in the face of senseless violence.

Screening: Sunday 4 February at 18h00, and Thursday 8 February at 20h15.


A sexually confused, middle-class teenager longs to escape from his traditional father and 1970s Montreal home.

Screening: Friday 2 February at 20h00, and Tuesday 6 February at 18h00.


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