CANTON -- Theaters in Canton and Potsdam will screen 25 films from Oct. 23 to 25, along with hosting panels and a block party for the inaugural St. Lawrence International Film Festival.

“We’re screening films from all over the world,” said festival Executive Director Adam Paul.

The event starts in Potsdam with a 9:30 a.m. master class and continues with screenings and panels until the free block party from 6 to 10 p.m. in the village green.

“It’s meant to be a big welcome party … it’ll be a great event,” Paul said.

People will need to either buy a festival pass or tickets to individual events, but the party is free. It will include complementary food and live entertainment.

A showing of “Dark Side of the Rainbow” at SUNY Canton will follow the block party.

Paul describes it as “a trippy, fun late-night experience that everyone should get.”

Passes to the event range from $45 to $350. More info about that is online athttp://www.stlawrencefilm.com . There is also a St. Lawrence Film Festival app available for iPhones in the iTunes store and for Android devices in Google Play.

Some of the passes include admission to events in Brockville and Ottawa, Ontario. The only event happening in Ottawa is the opening gala where famous actor Dan Akroyd will make an appearance. Some may remember seeing him in “Ghostbusters” and “The Blues Brothers.”

Paul said they are holding the gala in Ottawa to attract large Canadian media outlets and ambassadors from worldwide embassies.

He balked at the suggestion that the gala’s price tag $200 and $350 for the all-access pass could be too expensive for many North Country peoples’ budgets.

“You’re wrong. We have two busloads coming from Canton,” Paul said, stating his belief that St. Lawrence festival passes are “about a quarter” of what similar-caliber festivals cost elsewhere in the world.

The gala ticket sales will benefit the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Foundation.

Of roughly 50 events, many will be in Potsdam and Canton. There will be five movies and a panel in Brockville.

A highlight of the Potsdam happening will be the Oct. 24 “A Nightmare on Elm Street on Elm Street.” The original 1984 movie will show at Between the Buns, 6 Elm St., at 10 p.m.

Paul said the festival has sold close to 500 tickets so far. He says he’s not sure how many more he expects to sell leading up to the event weekend, but he’s optimistic.

“I don’t know. It’s a first-year event. They’re not just here in the North Country but there’s events in Canada as well,” Paul said.

He says he expects the festival to have “a multiplier effect” on area businesses.

“There will be a multiplier effect of bringing people in from outside the region, they come, eat, spend money and tell people about the places they’ve been … this has a great deal of ripple effect,” according to Paul.

Paul said he chose St. Lawrence County as the “American side” of the festival because his wife is from Lisbon and he likes the area.

“We’ve spent a lot of time up here. I’m a fan of the region,” Paul said.

He felt with the proximity to Brockville and Ottawa, plus the two colleges, there was a good opportunity to “promote trade, cross-border exchange.”

He said the event would not be possible with out a plethora of businesses, institutions and municipalities doing their part to get the event off the ground.

“We’re just grateful for the community showing up the way they have … it’s just an idea that took root because of the North Country support for it. Those roots extend all the way across the border,” Paul said. “We set out to create a world-class film festival event … it’s something not to be missed.”

Read the article on North Country Now: http://northcountrynow.com/news/25-films-be-screened-canton-and-potsdam-first-st-lawrence-international-film-festival-oct-23-25

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