What Does Music Mean To You? A CMW Film Festival Review

What the Lightbox was starting to feel like after no sleep...

Unlike a lot of my fellow Montrealers, I enjoy being in Toronto. So when asked, I was more than happy to be a part of the team that went to cover Canadian music week for Forget the Box. As much as I love festivals I have to admit I’m a cranky little girl without my sleep, so I thoroughly enjoyed dozing off in the car ride back to Montreal on Sunday as the FTB gang listened to all the great new music we’d collected. After what felt like the longest shower of my life and a full night’s sleep for the first time in four days, I feel energized and ready to share hopefully a more detailed and coherent account for you of my time at CMW Film Fest.

My first comment about the film festival should be obvious to anyone who attended one of the screenings; it desperately needs to be promoted better. Of the seven films that I saw over the two day festival there were never more than a hundred people in the theater, and it only ever got that high when Sammy Hagar showed up.

Everyone I spoke to in Montreal and in Toronto was surprised to hear that there even was a film festival portion to CMW. Obviously the live music is the most important part of the festival, but that doesn’t mean there should be so little love for the film side as well. So what would I suggest to get butts in the seats for next year’s CMW film fest?

Panels are definitely one way get flocks of film geeks to come to your festival. I loved the short talk that co-writer/star of the film Johnny Dowers gave after his film Pickin’ and Grinning so much that I would have loved to have seen a full panel discussion about what it’s like to write songs for films.

Another easy way to get a film geek excited is showing more screenings of rare prints, like Quadrophenia on 35 mml on Friday night. When a film geek loves a film they never shut up about it, and then when people ask us about it we say, “Oh yeah, I saw it at the CMW film fest.” Quadrophenia, the coming of age story of a young London Mod kid named Jim whose journey of self-discovery is set to the soundtrack of The Who definitely was my favorite of the films I saw at CMW.

Going in to see Quadrophenia

On the whole I was extremely pleased with my CMW Film Festival experience although it needs to expand if its going to have any sort of real impact. We film geeks are more than happy to come out and support you music people. After all, if music wasn’t in film, brilliant moments like John Cusak holding up his boom box to Ione Sky in Say Anything, Gene Kelly dancing and singing in the rain or the empire being destroyed in Star Wars wouldn’t mean anything.

I wish could show you a real clip from the film but this YouTube video sums up my new favorite movie.


Photos by Stephanie Laughlin

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