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Deep in the woods near Kinmount, Ontario, lies a movie theatre like no other in the world. Since its opening in 1979, the Highlands Cinemas has grown to become a sprawling five-screen complex full of movie memorabilia, vintage projectors collected from closed theatres all over the U.S. and Canada, and – as if that weren’t enough – dozens of cats. Its existence stands as a testament to the tenacity of its sometimes cantankerous owner Keith Stata. But as we see in director Matt Finlin’s affectionate and richly detailed portrait – which was shot over five eventful years — Stata faces unprecedented challenges as he tries to keep his movie palace alive amid a global pandemic. In capturing Stata at moments high and low, the film celebrates the Highlands’ idiosyncratic impresario as an emblem of the grand passions that the movies have long inspired.
As a bonus, we’re also screening the short film I FOUND IT AT CLASSIC VIDEO (director Braden Dragomir), a charming tribute to the much-loved, much-lamented mainstay of Kingston cinephiles. Told through interviews with a handful of Kingston personalities, it explores the rise, struggles and ultimate demise of “Kingston’s cinematic video Library of Alexandria.” Step inside the beloved shop one last time – but watch your head if you’re going downstairs!
THE MOVIE MAN
Director: Matt Finlin
Runtime: 90 minutes
I FOUND IT AT CLASSIC VIDEO
Director: Braden Dragomir
Runtime: 11 minutes
Matt Finlin, the director of THE MOVIE MAN, is a brilliant storyteller whose creative talent has won him countless awards. From his home in New York to his employment in Toronto, his work as a director, particularly in documentaries, music videos, and commercials, has received international praise. Notably, his documentary Below New York, produced in partnership with CamLin Productions LLC, won Best Documentary Short at the prestigious Red Rock Film Festival and at Vision Fest NYC in 2011. These accomplishments highlight Finlin’s outstanding talent and ability to engage audiences with his captivating stories and inventive approach to filmmaking.
Kevin Drew is a founding member of the experimental indie pop group Broken Social Scene, as well as a member of the label that puts out its music, Arts & Crafts. Kevin worked with ten or more musicians in a collective that helped usher in the chamber pop movement.
Karen Barzilay spent much of her career producing highly rated and award-winning television with CTV and Bell Media in Canada. With extensive experience in broadcast news, award shows, variety programming, and live events, she has worked with some of the most talented personalities in the world. Her passion for high-quality programming has helped Door Knocker Media to become an industry leader in the development and production of both traditional and digital content. You can usually find her writing, or taking one of her children to soccer.
Keith Stata opened Highlands Cinemas during the summer of 1979. What began as a single screen, transformed into a 5-screen multiplex showing first-run films over the course of it’s 40-year history.
James Yates is a documentary editor from Toronto, Ontario. His first feature as an editor was All Governments Lie: Truth Deception and the Spirit of I.F. Stone, which was executive produced by Oliver Stone and premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival. He cut two documentaries which premiered at the HotDocs Film Festival in 2019: The Corporate Coup d’État, a follow-up to All Governments Lie, and Toxic Beauty, which examines the potentially harmful chemicals hiding in everyday personal care products. His most recent projects as editor are Better Living Through Chemistry, exploring the lives and work of psychedelic pioneers Sasha and Ann Shulgin, Last of the Right Whales, about the elusive and endangered North American Right Whales, and Malcom is Missing about a woman’s hunt for her missing father.
PRESENTED WITH SUPPORT FROM
KINGSTON HUMANE SOCIETY
© Kingston Canadian Film Festival. 2023. All rights reserved.