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Oct. 15, 2021 | Friday
Local News
Shaw Festival Film Series a social hub on Saturdays

The Shaw Festival’s Saturday afternoon Film Series booted back up this weekend with countless seat-saving coats scattered over auditorium chairs before showtime, marking the established tradition of arriving early, claiming a spot and socializing in the lobby before the film’s 3 p.m. start.

To the outsider, the film series may seem to simply be a medium for screening specially cultivated films from the Toronto International Film Festival during the theatre’s winter down-time – but for the NOTLers who attend each showing, it’s become an anticipated hub of social gathering and entertainment.

Franca and Angelo Miniaci, both sipping red wine in the lobby before the film, said they just discovered the series last year and plan to continue attending.

“The films are all terrific,” Franca Miniaci said, adding that she’s most excited for the last film in February: Once Upon a Time in … Hollywood.

“It’s a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon,” she said.

Nancy Mouget has volunteered with her husband Alfred selling raffle tickets before the film since the series’ inception in 2006.

The couple often volunteer their time and she said this was a great way to give back to the Shaw Festival. From their vantage point of the raffle table, she said she watches the lobby fill up as people greet and mingle before heading into the theatre.

“It’s interesting. You’ll see a woman come in alone and she’ll grab a glass of wine and meet up with other women.”

Mouget said the films are all “really good,” but people are coming out to socialize more than anything else. They don’t just arrive on time and watch the film; it’s become a gathering point for people to catch up and spend the afternoon, she said.

Mary Bullen arrived early with her husband Keith, like many in the crowded lobby, to claim their seats. She said the film series is something they have been looking forward to, and they have been coming for several years.

“It’s such a community thing. People come to meet friends, it’s really nice,” she said.

“It’s really a village event.”

This year, Gooddine Catering will offer selections of gourmet food for sale in the lobby from 1:30 p.m.

Over the next seven weeks, the remaining selection of films presented by the Shaw Festival in association with Film Circuit of the Toronto International Film Festival will be screened.

Tickets are $12 each and can be purchased online at