CLASS ACT - Board members and CAFF volunteers pose following the award ceremonies Sunday evening at the Scott Block. From left are Don Tjart, Rachel Stillings, Patricia Arango, Ranjit Mullakady, Tanya Mullakady and Julz LaBrash. Mark Weber/Red Deer Express

Central Alberta Film Festival wraps up on a high note

Momentum continues to build for event, which significantly expanded this year

Complete with Bollywood dancers, a stunning solo, a traditional Indian dance and an acclaimed hoop dancer, there was much to celebrate at the Central Alberta Film Festival awards ceremony Sunday.

The glittering event, held at the Scott Block, capped off the second annual Festival, which featured some 64 films screened at both the Scott Block and Carnival Cinemas. Several awards were handed down throughout the evening, including Best Short Documentary, Best Short Narrative, Best Feature Documentary, Best Feature Narrative and of course the Audience Choice award.

Organizers were thrilled with how the weekend went, and the continuing show of support the Festival is garnering as well.

“Since day one when we started, we had 18 volunteers and 37 films, and (this weekend) we had 64 films and 32 volunteers,” said Ranjit Mullakady, who along with his wife Tanya Mullakady launched CAFF last year.

“It’s exciting for me because I see a lot of filmmakers coming out of their comfort zones and showing their films in a bigger venue and on a bigger scale,” he said, adding that one of the mandates of CAFF is to truly support the local film industry.

That said, several entries this year came from beyond Alberta including such locales as Italy, the U.K. and New York.

Ranjit is excited about the growth of the Festival and the potential of what the future holds for the event. Next year’s edition of CAFF is slated to run in October.

“I love movies – if I like a (particular) one I’ll watch it over and over,” he said with a laugh. “I love film.”

Meanwhile, feedback has been solid, too, he said, adding that some of the films struck powerful emotional chords with audiences as well.

This year’s winners included John Wort Hannam is a Poor Man in the Best Short Documentary category; I Phub You in the Best Short Narrative Category and That Never Happened in the Best Feature Documentary category.

For the 48-hour Film Challenge, several films were recognized including Chopped, Revelation and Coconuts.

Locally-produced film Break On Through took home the top spot in the Best Feature Narrative category and Expecting Sunshine won the Audience Choice award this year.

As the ceremonies drew to a close, Ranjit thanks the board and the many volunteers who helped make the weekend such a success.

“I’d like to thank all of our volunteers and the members of the CAFF Action Team. They all work so hard – every single thing you see is because of the Action Team and the volunteers,” he said. “I really appreciate what you guys put together. It’s an awesome job.”

CAFF’s vision is to serve as a, “Bridge between the audience, critics, and the contemporary filmmakers who want to showcase and discuss their work.

“This festival is a platform to bring hidden Albertan, Canadian and global talent to light. In a rapidly evolving film industry, CAFF is a catalyst to enhance cinematic experience with excellence and support Canadian artistic values.”

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