Adam Paul, founder and Executive Director of the St. Lawrence International Film festival, wants to present, "An Everyman's film festival!" With a self-proclaimed meat-and-potatoes movie palate, Mr. Paul isn't looking to assemble a snobby fest packed with so-called "artsy" films. He wants to present an across-the-board commercial motion picture commemoration that he coins as being "general interest." "We're not a genre film festival," declares Paul, "[We're] very much a broad appeal film festival."
"Everyone has a favorite movie," states Paul, "You have a favorite movie, I have a favorite movie and that's what we want to bring to the festival, a collection of everyone's favorite movies." When asked about his own favorites, he offered such iconic movies as "Jaws," "The Matrix," and "The Blues Brothers" as among his top picks. "Wonderful cinematography, interesting characters and great story telling," were presented as his reasons why. So is it any wonder that the St. Lawrence International Film Festival is kicking off their first season with John Landis' 1980 action comedy "The Blues Brothers," hosted by one of the film's stars Dan Aykroyd? "Having this special 35th anniversary event with Dan Aykroyd, has a broad appeal, a big studio musical comedy everyone can appreciate. And all the proceeds from the screening benefit the RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) foundation, [having donated over $9 million dollars directly to community groups to support hundreds of initiatives for the benefit of youth at risk] this seems the perfect fit for our festival gala," says Paul.
The inaugural St. Lawrence International Film Festival runs this October 22-25 throughout the North Country and Canada, and offers a stimulating competition program, spectacular marquee screenings and a wide range of panels teeming with industry professionals. "Our films hail from Ireland, Australia, and Finland," declares Paul, "The festival also includes the Northeast premiere of a joint production between Finland, Sweden, Germany and Canada titled "The Girl King" about a young girl crowned queen at the age of six. We're having the world premiere of "Killing Poe" where this class kidnaps their teacher and tortures him according to Edgar Allen Poe's devices. We're also having the world premiere of a debut feature film from acclaimed novelist Helen Walsh. These are some great films!"
The SLIFF panels will also present an amazing array of industry talent such as composer Joe Kraemer ("Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation," "Jack Reacher") and comedic personalities Drew Droege ("Stallions de Amor," "Sassy Pants," and "Killing the Dream), Adam Nee ("The Last Romantic," "Band of Robbers," and "The Geniuses") and Sara Fletcher ("iCrime," "Hansel & Gretel," and "Adulthood"). Feature film actors in this year's lineup include Timothy Spall ("Harry Potter" series) Michael Nyqvist ("The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo"), Eric Christian Olsen ("NCIS: Los Angeles"), Matthew Gray Gubler ("Criminal Minds"), Melissa Benoist ("Supergirl"), Stephen Lang ("Avatar"), Lucas Bryant (" The Vow"), Kyle Gallner ("American Sniper," "A Nightmare on Elm Street"), Adam Nee ("Drunk History"), Matt Bush ("The Trouble with the Curve," "Adventureland"), Johnny Pemberton ("21 Jump Street," "The Watch"), Beth Grant ("No Country for Old Men," "The Artist"), Julianna Guill ("Crazy, Stupid, Love," "Friday the 13th"), Stephen Lord ("EastEnders," "Judge Dredd"), and Brian Gleeson ("Snow White and the Huntsman," "The Eagle"), among many others.
With a notable television resume himself, Adam Paul is perhaps best known for playing Mitch, 'The Naked Man' on the CBS hit series "How I Met Your Mother." He also created and starred in the hilarious yet fleeting Starz original series "Hollywood Residential," a faux reality show revolving around an accident-prone celebrity-home-makeover host. In retrospect, his "regular guy" persona, both on and off screen, seem perfect to helm a film festival void the pretentious cinephilia air. "This part of the world seems ready for it, too," he asserts, "and since there is no real estate associated with running a film festival, such as operating a movie theater (another venture he was considering) it was the perfect borderless business project for this visionary Hollywood transplant.
The St. Lawrence International Film Festival features an incredible 60+ screenings with over 25 features, 5 shorts programs and live performances covering four cities and two countries. With the theme "Beyond Borders" the festival will present films from all over the world to screen at five different venues. Their Friday Night Block Party promises to fill the streets of Canton, featuring a special cinematic edition of New York City's ultimate multimedia live game show, "The Big Quiz Thing." "Our inaugural year is a true representation of our 'Beyond Borders' theme with films and filmmakers from around the globe bringing their powerful stories to a truly international audience in the upper right corner of North America. We couldn't have found a better region - with better international sponsors and partners - to put on a show," explains Paul.
Future plans for the festival include, "Year-round workshops and productions. Eventually we want to develop [film] projects during the summer months that include workshops like Sundance offers. We'll bring in mentors from New York, Montréal and Toronto, and have them spend a few weeks on one of the campuses. We'll work with some selected scripts and even produce them."
Adam Paul is quite an engaging personality and his vision, although a bit cluttered, is a sexy and inevitable one. The North Countryneeds exciting happenings such as their own film festival. Inviting film industry talent to mingle among the families, tourists and students here will certainly stimulate commerce and spark a variety of opportunities for local businesses, colleges, and artists alike. In that, his festival needs to be embraced and supported. After all, this promises to be a fanciful jubilee rocking movie houses and theaters throughout Ottawa, Canton, Potsdam, Brockville and beyond, hopefully bringing the masses together for, as Adam Pauldecrees, "An Everyman's film festival!"
About the St. Lawrence Film Festival
Founded by Adam Paul, St. Lawrence International Film Festival has assembled an extraordinary team of festival professionals from all over North America to bring the best in film to a fertile new destination: The fourth coast. No other event in the world plays simultaneously in two countries, offering a highly-visible promotional and partnership opportunity featuring 25+ international films, an Opening Gala, the Empire State Filmmaker Award, parties and competition awards during a 4-day event in the US and Canada. The Festival advisory board is led by industry notables Sara E. Johnson (Oscar-winning Executive Producer of "Birdman"), Mark Valley ("CSI"), Aaron Woolf ("King Corn"), Drea Clark (Programming Slamdance Film Festival & Los Angeles Film Festival), Gloria Campbell (Managing Director of the American Pavillion at Cannes), Ann Marie Gardinier Halstead, Brian Hauser (Co-Editor of The Journal of Short Film), and Bob Penski (Founder of Penski, Inc).
Read the article on Fourth Coast Entertainment: http://www.fourthcoastentertainment.com/story/2015/10/01/entertainment/impresario-adam-paul-presents-an-everymans-film-festival/339.html