Film festival brings hidden gems to Milton this weekend


Published January 27, 2023 at 6:51 pm

Much has changed since the Milton Film Festival began in 2014.

What started out as a way to bring international, underground, obscure and Canadian-made film treasures to movie buffs who didn’t want to travel to Toronto, in 2023, it has become the place to see specially selected releases that haven’t received the attention they deserve.

“Our role has really evolved,” explains Jennifer Smith, director and one of the founders of the festival. “We are now curators, doing the work to present those great films that people may have missed or never heard of.”

Smith explains that now with the wide availability of movies, especially through streaming and online services, the classic role of the film festival has changed. Whereas at one time it was impossible to find hidden gems through lack of access, now the problem is finding without having to sort through the incredible volume of releases.

“We kind of do all the hard work for you,” laughs Smith. “We attend film festivals all year to flesh out these wonderful films that most people won’t come across and we put them all in one place. Over the years we have come to understand what our audience is looking for and it has worked out.”

That one place is the FirstOntaro Arts Centre where the opening film, I Like Movies, is presented tonight (Jan. 27) followed by four films tomorrow and three on Sunday.

However, because of the past success of streaming during the pandemic, five films will be available to be viewed online as part of the festival until Jan. 31.

As well as the featured films, the festival will present several shorts spread through all the showings but also presented together in one complete online extravaganza.

And, like most film festivals, there will be questions and answer segments with some of the filmmakers and hosted by well-known movie critic Ron Base, a Milton resident.

While it is difficult for Smith to pick her favourites this year, she said that Revial 69, A Bunch of Amateurs, as well as I Like Movies come highly recommended.

Revial 69 is a documentary about the 1969 concert in Toronto headlined by John Lennon that also featured The Doors, Chuck Berry and Little Richard.

I Like Movies is the debut feature film of Burlington native Chandler Levack and concerns the life of a film-obsessed teen pursuing his dreams and relationships.

A Bunch of Amateurs is another documentary about a group of small-time filmmakers in England and their pursuit of maintaining their hobby.

A complete list of times, ticket packages, film synopsizes, and other news pertaining to the festival can be at


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