Regina International Film Festival to be held in October

Most of Saskatchewan's filmmakers left the province after the Saskatchewan government cut the film tax credit. But the founder and director of a new film festival hopes to bring them back.

Film festival founder hopes two-day event will bring back Saskatchewan film makers

John Thimothy is the founder of the Regina International Film Festival and Awards, a two-day event starting on October 2, 2015, at the Conexus Arts Centre.

Most of Saskatchewan's filmmakers left the province after the Saskatchewan government cut the film tax credit.

But the founder and director of a new film festival hopes to bring them back.

John Thimothy is an actor and playwright originally from India. He moved to Regina two years ago, and quickly realized something was missing.

"There isn't any kind of great colourful festival that (the) public can enjoy, go and spend the time and have kind of a cool international experience so I thought this is the right time," he said.

And the idea for the Regina International Film Festival and Awards (RIFFA) was born.

It will kind of be a recall to the filmmakers and the people who left.- John Thimothy

It will be held October 2-3 at the Conexus Arts Centre and will feature anywhere from 40 to 50 films in three categories: one for local filmmakers, one for students, and another for out-of-province and international filmmakers

Thimothy says RIFFA has received more than 700 submissions from more than 90 countries, including 120 from Saskatchewan and 300 from across Canada. 

A recall to Sask. filmmakers

Thimothy wasn't living in Saskatchewan when the tax credit was cut, but says he believes new programs, including Creative Saskatchewan, will help support filmmakers.

"It will kind of be a recall to the filmmakers and the people who left," he said. "This is going to be a callback that come and submit your project that you're working (on) to your homeland."

"Hopefully this will attract more people to come back."

Thimothy says he hopes the festival will someday receive international media attention, like the Cannes Film Festival and the Toronto International Film Festival.

"We have the potential to reach that level in the future, but we're just starting this year," he said. "We're not comparing ourselves to the festival which is renowned and stayed there for 56 years."

Thimothy also wants the event to support mental health. 

He says the festival will raise money to support the Canadian Mental Health Association. 

RIFFA celebrated its official launch today at the Regina International Airport.

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