After two trying years under COVID-19, the New Brunswick Filmmaker’s Co-op has restarted its Monday Night Film Series, which is set to continue into the Winter 2023 semester.
As part of the Toronto International Film Festival’s Film Circuit program, the Monday Night Film series hosts a variety of eclectic films that Fredericton audiences would otherwise miss on the big screen. The films shown during the series are generally independent international or Canadian productions—offering a less than mainstream option for local film buffs and their curious counterparts.
Of these interesting and otherwise unseen films, comedies are always a hit with audiences according to the NB Filmmakers Co-op Executive Director, Tony Merzetti.
Merzetti also pointed out that the Film Series has shown some wildly popular films prior to their theatrical release—or in some cases, the absence of a theatrical release. Most notably, the Series has shown Whiplash, The Lobster, and Lady Bird before—or instead of—the local Cineplex.
Not only is the Monday Night Film Series a wonderful opportunity for anyone with interest in film, but its history with UNB dates back nearly to the Series’ inception. Shortly after the Film Series started, Barry Cameron, the Film Instructor in UNB’s English department, took over the Series to show more diverse films to interested students and wider audience members. Eventually, the 35mm projector used for the original screenings moved to UNB where the Series continued under Cameron’s supervision.
However, the NB Filmmakers Co-op took over the Series around 2005 when Cameron retired and the professor that replaced him found the Series too tiring.
However, due to COVID-19, the Monday Night Film Series has been on hiatus since 2020. As such, the series has only regained roughly half its pre-COVID attendance. When asked about the returning demographics, Merzetti noted that there were relatively few UNB students in attendance considering the Series’ location in UNB’s Tilley 102.
It is possible interested students are simply unaware of the NB Filmmakers Co-op and its Film Series. However, students interested in filmmaking should pay attention as the Co-op offers a wealth of information and resources for independent filmmaking.
On a tour of the Co-op’s facilities, Merzetti pointed out the resources available to Co-op members, including: up-to-date editing equipment, cameras and recording equipment from 16mm to 4k, a portable sound booth, and even VR. So interested students should be sure to keep an eye on the Filmmakers Co-op
However, for those who missed the fall semesters’ Monday Night Film, Merzetti highlighted a few selections that are worth catching on streaming services even if you missed them on the big screen. The Phantom of the Open is a comedy that was a huge hit with audiences and chronicled a man’s escapades in the British Open Golf Championship. Another anticipated screening, with local connections, is Peace by Chocolate, which is a true story about Syrian refugees who settled in the Maritimes.
In short, the NB Filmmakers Co-op’s Monday Night Film Series is a wonderful opportunity and certainly one to keep an eye on after the Christmas break.