Media City film festival showcasing ‘artist cinema’

Filmmakers, from left, Sky Hopinka, Fern Silva, Ephraim Asili, and organizer, Oona Mosna, attend the 23rd annual Media City Film Festival at the Capitol Theatre, Thursday, November 8, 2018.

Dax Melmer / Windsor Star

The names may not be household and the films may not mainstream, but the Media City Film Festival is helping put Windsor on the map much like the Windsor International Film Festival.

The 23rd edition of the binational “artist cinema” festival kicked off Wednesday night in Detroit, and Thursday night was Windsor’s turn to celebrate with an opening party and screenings at the Capitol Theatre.

It’s mainly short films from all over the world that mainly premiere at Media City

“It’s really kind of an amazing program that is world-premiering at Media City, so it’s pretty amazing,” said program director Oona Mosna.

“It’s a special evening. What we call it is artist cinema, so it straddles both the gallery world and the cinema world, but much of this work shows up in major festivals like TIFF and the New York Film Festival.”

Portrait Filmmaker Ephraim Asili from the film Homecoming: The Diaspora Suite which includes a film on the Underground Railroad, which is part of the Media City film festival.

Courtesy of Oona Mosna /

Windsor Star

Thursday night’s film premier was a collection of short films from the former Yugoslavia made in the 1960s, 70s and 80s entitled Yugoslav Structuralism.

Because communist Yugoslavia was so isolated from the western world, the films had gone unseen by western eyes until a Los Angeles-born academic studying at the University of Belgrade, Greg de Cuir Jr., curated and assembled them.

“This is the kind of work that we show,” said Mosna.

“It’s mainly short films from all over the world that mainly premiere at Media City.”

Many film artists that begin showing at Media City have gone on to bigger and better things such as festivals at Sundance, Cannes, Venice, and scholarships at Harvard, Mosna said.

“People are coming from all over the place, we have people arriving today (Thursday) from Germany and France and Mexico, Spain, Chile, Ecuador, Sweden, 20 different nations worldwide, so it’s pretty exciting,” Mosna said.

“And they are coming to Windsor!”

And Windsor will be front and centre Friday for screenings of Home Coming: The Diaspora Suite, a series of films about the African Diaspora by filmmaker Ephraim Asili, the fifth of which, Freedom Frontiers, focuses on the Underground Railroad.

Fluid Frontiers features several people from Windsor and Home Coming: The Diaspora Suite will be shown in its entirety at the Sandwich Baptist Church at 1 p.m.

Mosna said because the cosy church only holds 125 people, if there is enough demand there will be a second screening of Fluid Frontiers only at 4 p.m.

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