By: Megan Pasche

Once the actors and actresses of the Shaw give their final performance for the live theatre season, the stage doesn’t really go dark; it just showcases a different artistic medium: film. The annual and much anticipated Shaw Festival Film Series gets underway once again this December, showcasing not only several feature films, but also five different documentaries. This exciting event is done in partnership with The Film Circuit, which is a branch of the Toronto International Film Festival. The Shaw Film Series first began in 2005, and has been a growing success ever since.

Making this event even more unique and intriguing is a partnership with Gathering Niagara, an organization whose aim is to bring people together and make them happy. One way to do this? Organize a Lunchmarket, which provides movie buffs with gourmet food options before they attend a screening of a great new movie.

Food will be available both inside and outside the Festival Theatre and vendors will rotate every week. So far, film goers will be able to enjoy food from: The Dirty South, who offer gourmet BBQ; The Salted Pig, who offers items such as pulled pork, prosciutto, smoked ham sandwiches and more; Jonny Blond, serving lots of different sauces, flatbread sandwiches, grilled meats and more. The Yellow Pear will offer a delicious array of locally inspired fare. Lovin’ From the Oven will be there with to- die-for comfort food such as lobster mac and cheese, as well as special film inspired foods. And there also will be tacos from Tacocat. New this year, Avella’s Wood Fired Oven will be offering take home packages of fresh, homemade, spelt pasta. With all that delicious, gourmet food to choose from, patrons will be able to try a different dish before each film!

A Film Breakdown
These are just some of the films that will be screening at this years film series, a full listing is available at www.shawfest.com

Feature Films

The Hunt
This Danish film is directed by Thomas Vinterberg and stars Mads Mikkilsen. This movie tells the story of a man who is wrongly accused of sexually assaulting a child, and the mass hysteria that follows. Showing January 11.

The Sapphires
This musical-comedy-drama is loosely based on a true story, and stars Chris O’Doud, Deborah Mailman, Sheri Sebbers, Jessica Maulroy and Miranda Tapsell. It is a story about four indigenous women who are discovered by a local talent scout, form a singing group, and travel to Vietnam to sing for the troops. Showing December 28.

Don Jon
This movie was written and directed by Joseph Gordon Levitt, who also plays the title role. Also part of the cast are Scarlett Johannson, Julianne Moore and Tony Danza. The story centres around Jon Marlitto and his life, which is comprised mostly of his family, his church, his friends, his girls and his obsession with pornography. The latter leads to him having unrealistic expectations about love. Showing January 18.

Blue Jasmine
Directed by Woody Allen and starring Cate Blanchett, Alec Baldwin and Peter Sarsgaard, this movie tells the story of a troubled socialite who shows up in San Francisco on her sisters doorstep, her life in shambles and looking for help. Showing December 21.

Short Term 12
This movie starring Brie Larson, Frantz Turner and John Gallagher Jr. tells the story of a 20 something woman who works as a supervisor at a foster care facility, alongside her boyfriend. Showing December 14.

The Way Way Back
This movie starring Steve Carell, Toni Collette and Alison Janney tells the story of shy, 14 year old Duncan, who goes on a summer vacation along with his mother, her boyfriend and her boyfriends daughter. Not really fitting in, Duncan makes a new friend in Owen, who manages a water park near where the group is staying. Showing January 4.

Enough Said
One of James Gandolfini’s last films, the movie also stars Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Catherine Keener, and tells the story of a divorced woman who falls for her new friends ex-husband. Showing February 8.

Inside Llewyn Davis
This movie stars Oscar Issac, Carey Mulligan, John Goodman and Justin Timberlake, and follows a singer-songwriter who is navigating the folk music scene in 1960s New York. Showing February 15.

Documentaries

20 Feet from Stardom
A documentary that looks at the lives of backup singers who often perform with the most popular bands in music, but yet no one really knows who they are. Directed by Morgan Ferrell. Showing January 3 at 6pm.

Casting By
This documentary examines the role of the casting director and how their choices have really influenced Hollywood through the years. This is a fascinating look at this creative part of filmmaking and has interviews with over 50 actors and actresses. Directed by Tom Donahue. Showing January 10 at 6pm.

We Steal Secrets: The Story of Wikileaks
This film tells the story of the creation of Julian Assange’s now famous website, which led to the largest security breach in United States history. Directed by Alex Gibney. Showing January 17.

Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf’s
This film includes interviews with Mary-Kate and Ashley Olson, Rachel Zoe, Candice Bergen and more, and tells the story of this famous Manhattan department store. Directed by Matthew Miele. Showing January 24.

Feature films will be screened every Saturday from December 7 to February 15, and showtime is at 3pm. Documentaries are screened on Friday evenings at 6pm, starting on January 10 and running until February 14.

The costs:

General admission: $12
Pass for all 12 feature films: $130
Stocking stuff for 8 feature films: $88
Documentary pass for all six documentaries: $60

More information on which films are playing on which days is available at www.shawfest.com, and for more information on what food will be available during what film, check out http//gatheringniagara.com