Orillia’s definitely ready for its close-up.
And with an international film festival slated for next year, the very positive reception to director Jake Horowitz’s screening of his feature film Who You Know Wednesday at the Orillia Opera House seemingly proves the city’s love of cinema.
“It went really well,” Horowitz said. “I don’t have the official numbers, but it looked pretty sold out.”
Starring Toronto-based actors David Hewlett, Dylan Everett, Niamh Wilson and Stevie Joffe, the romantic comedy was shot during the summer of 2018 throughout downtown Orillia.
“It’s really great to see how well Orillia was represented…just the charm of Orillia and how it comes off on-screen,” Horowitz said, referring to his film that’s also been shown at film festivals in Hamilton and Orlando.
“I plan to film in Orillia again and am already planning another feature.”
And even though an earlier nearby gas leak Wednesday caused temperatures in the opera house to hover around 10 degrees Celsius, Horowitz said the audience’s enthusiasm and support created a lot of warm, positive feelings.
“People didn’t seem to mind the temperature,” he said. “They really enjoyed it and stayed for the Q&A (question and answer session with cast and crew).”
The film follows Cole, an aspiring screenwriter who decides to write his most ambitious script to date by plotting out a whimsical rom-com relationship with Haley, the daughter of his screen-writing idol, all in hopes of meeting her legendary father and getting a leg up in showbiz.
As Cole realizes he has written himself into a corner both morally and romantically, Who You Know delves into insights of ambition, desire, and regret, as it takes a comedic and often times heartbreaking look at what it takes to succeed in art, life, and love in the modern world.
“I think some who attended the screening were surprised,” Horowitz said.
“I think they were just expecting a romantic comedy. It’s a lot more emotional and impactful than they were expecting.”
Horowitz noted that while this served as the film’s last Canadian screening for the year, it will be shown in London, England in three weeks time before being screened at film festivals across the United States.
“In March, it will be on Crave TV,” he said, noting many who couldn’t attend Wednesday’s screening have been asking when they might be able to see it.
Wednesday’s screening also gave Horowitz and fellow Orillia International Film Festival director Andy Lewis the chance to outline details of the three-day event slated for next September at the opera house.
“We opened submissions yesterday and already have 150 submissions,” Horowitz said, noting the festival will feature a bevy of movies ranging from one-minute shorts to feature-length films.
“We’ll have some family-friendly stuff as well as some lighter stuff and heavier stuff.”
Once the submission deadline (May 29, 2020) has passed, festival jury members will pare down the film list.
“We have a really good jury of local people and directors from Toronto and L.A.”
Anyone signing up at the festival’s website also runs the chance to win a weekend pass for the Sept. 18 to 20 event.
For more information, visit orilliafilm.com or go to @orilliafilm on social-media platforms.