Thanks to guest blogger and festival organizer Adam Bentley for contributing this blog!

There’s something mythical, other-worldly, and magical about being able to watch movies on a screen made entirely of snow.

Graham Whatmough’s snow screen in Fort McMurray.

The International Festival of Winter Cinema is a new family-friendly film festival held as part of the Silver Skate Festival that recognizes and celebrates local and international cinema with winter, alpine, and polar themes of any style or genre. Most exciting of all, we’re projecting our films on a giant snow screen! Event nights will be February 9, 10, 16, 17, 18 at 6:45 PM right before the fire sculpture burn.

The idea for a winter film festival first came to me three years ago when I found out that, while there is a Winter Film Festival in Los Angeles and the Tromso International Film Festival shows general films on snow screens, there is no winter city anywhere in the world with a film festival specifically created to celebrate winter films. I let the idea percolate for some time until I visited Reykjavik last Autumn. During my visit, I came across the Reykjavik International Film Festival. That year’s Festival was a celebration of Canadian cinema, including winter films. Seeing all the winter films made me realize that even though filming outside in winter can be a pain, winter has its own aesthetic, narrative, and character elements on camera. Those filmmakers, actors, and crew who produce their films outside in winter, standing for hours in bitter cold and darkness, should be celebrated for their achievements.

We’re thrilled to announce a world-class line-up of the best recent Canadian and international winter films for our first ever Festival. The filmmaker is listed with each film. Each program is about an hour long:

Friday, February 9, 6:45 PM: Canadian Winter Shorts
Winter – Linda Roessler
Seasick – Eva Cvijanovic
One, One Thousand (Made in Alberta!) – Justin Brunelle
Hila (Made in Alberta!) – Adam Bentley
The Bear Whose World Is Floating – Peter Wall
Sir Reginald III and the Snow Fiend (Made in Alberta!) – Demmi Dupri
Rendez-vous – Jimmy Boutry
The Weather (Made in Alberta!) – Wilfred Kozub
Do you Know How Christmas Trees Are Grown? – Joshua Trett
Snowstorm Roulette – Ruth Lawrence

Saturday, February 10, 6:45 PM: Feature Film Night
The Bridge (USA) – Marit Rose
Christmas Wreath (Made in Alberta!) – Daniel Foreman
Calculated Risk (USA) – Caitlin Grant
Under An Arctic Sky (feature film, USA/Iceland) – Chris Burkard

Friday, February 16, 6:45 PM: Mountain and Polar Films
Under Two Skies (Finland) – Suvi West
Gondogoro LA (feature film, China) – Carlo Christian Spano

Saturday, February 17, 6:45 PM: International Winter Shorts
ICE (Estonia) – Anna Hints
The Season (UK) – Anthony Swords
Tchaikovsky In Love (UK) – Ian Woodward
Guanaco (Brazil) – Pedro McCardell
Antartica (Ukraine) – Olga and Andrii Andreiev

Sunday, February 18, 6:45 PM: Feature Film Night, sponsored by Revolution Cycle
Bicicles (feature film, Canada) – Kim Kelln

Eat some tasty snacks from the Silver Skate Festival. Warm yourself next to Winter City’s signature fire pits. Come enjoy a night of films on the big snow screen!

Graham Whatmough gets ready to build the snow screen in Hawrelak Park.

Follow us on Instagram and Twitter for daily updates to see progress on our snow screen construction by the remarkable Fort McMurray snow screen builder Graham Whatmough.

Thanks to our sponsors: Winter City Edmonton, the Silver Skate Festival, Avenue Magazine, FAVA, ATB Financial, Pogo Carshare, Revolution Cycle, Chianti Cafe, #yegfilm, and Where the Highway Ends.

See you this weekend!