Rebranding Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day. It is the one holiday that I md2believe needs to be rebranded.

Valentine’s Day, no matter how you spin it, was purposely designed to make single people feel like crap. Mother’s Day has the potential of a greater purpose beyond the traditional definition. Unlike Valentine’s Day, where I am single,  my Mother is still with me. Literally. She’s visiting for the weekend.

I used to get quite anxious when she would come to visit. It meant spending an entire day before her arrival cleaning, only to have her spend the entire time while she was here, cleaning. These days I look at her visits as a blessing for with so many projects on the go and running my home as a B and B , it forces me to keep the place ready for last minute guests.

I am often reminded by friends with ailing parents how lucky I am. My Mom, who at the age of 85 bought her first BMW, at 87 sold her house and moved into an apartment and now at 89 is moving back to a condo, is in good health and independent. Most people guess her to be in her 70’s.

mdc1Mom is in fact the perfect weekend guest. She always arrives with a full trunk of groceries so I have learned not to shop before her arrival. However, I have put my foot down when it comes to her shopping at the Dollar Store. She has a need to buy stuff that she thinks I can’t live without, like yet another red plastic strainer “because it will put colour into your kitchen?” However, this week she did show up with Mark Cullen’s latest weeding device from Home Hardware. Good choice.

But this isn’t about my Mom. For many who by my age no longer have their mothers still with them, or women without children, Mother’s Day can be a bittersweet day. I would like to propose that we expand the concept of the day to celebrate something that we all love to experience, now and then, “mothering”. By mothering I am not talking about women who are obsessed with the welfare of or living vicariously through their children.  Rather, I am referring to a woman’s natural tendency to care, empathize and in many instances exhibit unconditional love, no matter how much you as a son, husband, brother, nephew, cousin, grandson or just friend, screws up.

Now, you are going to laugh when I tell you what started me thinking about this. My dogs.md5 Seven months ago I assumed “guardianship” of Willow, an eight year old, female great dane. Living alone with my male bearded collie Iago, our house was predominantly a guy’s house. Observing their interaction with each other and with me I realized how much Iago is like my male friends, who would rather be outdoors barking at strangers, digging holes and sleeping , where Willow is like my female friends, concerned about me and wanting to know my next move.

md4When I think back over the years of the  incredible women I have and continue to know, there is this undescribable sense of comfort and security they provide. It’s a natural thing and men just don’t have it to give. I see it all around me, married, single, straight, gay, young and old, men engulfed by a field of this thing that can only described as “mothering”, the good kind.   It can be a mother to a child or even a husband. It can also be a female friend to a male or even another woman.

(FYI. It can also be a female leader over a country or Forbes 100 company. Not to get too political, if ever the United States needed mothering and emotional healing, it would be now. Not to sound sexist, but yes, vote for Hillary because she is a woman. An experienced smart woman. Now is not the time to build fences of paranoia. Protectionism doesn’t bring world peace.)

md3Sorry, I digress. Mother’s Day, right. So here’s my idea. Unlike International Women’s Day, which is a celebration of female achievement, Mother’s Day should be rebranded as a celebration of a woman’s sixth sense, “mothering”.  We should not only include mothers and grandmothers, but also aunts, cousins, sisters, wives, teachers and friends, all whose support we are grateful. They do so, not because they have to, but because they love us.

Thanks Mom.

 

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How the Ontario Liberals Gave The Province a Vasectomy

It’s Time The Minister of Finance Reverse the Procedure

In 2004, lead by his infinite wisdom, the then Liberal Finance Minister Greg Sorbara under the reign of Dalton McGuinty,  gave Ontario something that can only be described as nothing less than a provincial vasectomy. It severed the District of Parry Sound/Muskoka in half and had Muskoka banished from the designated area known as Northern Ontario. In doing so, the province married its granite cladded lake district of Muskoka with its neighbour, the considerably flat and passive food belt of Central Ontario.

Among the many things this ridiculous act did to the residents of Muskoka was to disallow studded tires on cars  and cut off additional support for lower income families.

One only has to step out their front door in Gravenhurst or Huntsville to witness the incredible mounds of snow and icy conditions  experienced this season. Meanwhile, Barrie and the rest of Central Ontario are forced to make snow in order to keep their ski industry alive. Additional traction in Muskoka would allow for safer driving  and less traffic fatalities. However, for Muskoka residents it’s illegal to have studs, even when next door the residents of Parry Sound District, who experience the exact same weather, are allowed to drive safe.

If you are a low income earner and live in the town of  Parry Sound, you can receive a Northern Ontario Energy Credit. If you live in Huntsville, which is parallel to Parry Sound, you can not.

During the great merge of the 90’s when municipalities amalgamated, the northern end of the Muskoka Lakes (that being the top of Lakes Rosseau and Joseph) was separated from Muskoka and placed into the District of Parry Sound. So in 2004, when Sorbara and the Liberals “denorthernized” Muskoka, it severed a community that for the last century was considered “gateway to the north”. 

It has in fact become a nightmare for many of Ontario’s other Ministries. Some are still paired under the Parry Sound/Muskoka banner but with half of their district falling outside of  designated  Northern Ontario region, funding is complicated. This includes everything from the Ministry of Health to the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Sport.

Not all departments with the  Ontario Government are blind. Some still recognize that the Districts of Parry Sound and Muskoka are kindred spirits. The electoral district remains Muskoka/Parry Sound and shares the same MPP , however his constituents have different status.  When they recently created new Regional Tourism Organizations, Muskoka and Parry Sound were grouped together into RTO 12 because of their physical and cultural similarities.

The severing of Muskoka from Northern Ontario was no more than a politically motivated act  demonstrated by the fact that in 2000,  Ernie Eaves, the conservative MPP for Parry Sound/Muskoka and Sorbara’s predecessor, recognized the similarities and included Muskoka as part of Northern Ontario region. But when the Conservatives were ousted and McGuinty came to power, Sorbara, wasted no time and gave Muskoka/Parry Sound a lobotomy in 2004, even though that federally Muskoka is still considered Northern Ontario and qualifies for FedNor economic support .

There are several reasons why the Liberals reversed the designation. In spite of them winning the election in 2003, Muskoka/Parry Sound remained Conservative when Norm Miller, son of the former Conservative premiere Frank Miller, retained  the regional seat that he won in 2001.  So in order to punish the residents for re-electing him, the Liberals undid Eave’s proclamation of 2000 and in 2004 they severed Muskoka from Northern Ontario.

From the outside, Muskoka is portrayed as playland for the wealthy with its mega-millionaires and movie stars with cottages! This is a complete distortion of the truth. 

In Muskoka, wealthy residents are a minority. Famous residents like Goldie Hawn , who has since sold and left Canada, seem to always get the eye of the press.Unfortunately, facts like Muskoka/Parry Sound has the fastest growing need for social assistance in the province, just isn’t newsworthy. So with the image of the wealthy seasonal minority outshining the  residents in need, it was fairly easy for the Liberals to slip this deed by without much protest.

By removing Muskoka from the designated North, it was no longer under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Northern Mines and Development. Why should this matter since Muskoka doesn’t have a mining industry?

In 1988, under the Ministry of Northern Ontario Mines and Development,  the previous Peterson Government (Liberal) created the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund (NOHF) with the purpose of supporting development in Ontario’s disadvantaged north. As FedNor was considered a federal Conservative triumph, (championed by Parry Sound/Muskoka MP Tony Clement)  NOHF was for the provincial Liberals.  However, when it came to eligibility,  even with all the aforementioned similarities and ( according to Stats Canada); 57.1% of all permanent households in Muskoka earn less than $30,000/year and 70.7% earn less than $40,000/year; that on average, women in Muskoka earn 34.8% less than men; plus the numbers of homeless is rising and affordable housing decreasing, the Ontario Liberals don’t consider Muskoka  disadvantaged enough.  They only see movie stars and captains of industry.

Hidden within NOHF is support for sustainable cultural industry activity. This includes the television and film . Complicated and convoluted like most film financing formulas, NOHF’s method is right up there. Simplified, the fund will return portions of the money a production spends in Northern Ontario. The more Northern Ontario residents it hires and money spent to build sets, rent, accommodate crew etc., the more points a producer receives.  The bigger the credits the bigger the refund…up to a certain point. 

The  core talent and funds for most productions originate from outside the sanctioned Northern Ontario region. The areas which see the most activity are Sudbury ( boasting a studio in a converted arena),  Sault Ste Marie, North Bay and Thunder Bay. Parry Sound also hosts the odd production and in fact a team of production personnel purchased an old sawmill/warehouse and converted it into a 10,000 square foot sound studio. Ironically, it sits just on the north side of the  road that separates Muskoka from Northern Ontario.

Obviously filming in Northern Ontario has its limitations. Only when scripts call for certain elements like a small town look (which is available closer to Toronto but without the Northern Ontario credits), rocky terrain dotted by pristine lakes, or specific locations like a mine, Sudbury’s Science North or the vastness of Lake Superior, does a production need to film in Northern Ontario. Without the credits provided by NOHF, it’s unlikely that a film industry in Northern Ontario would exist. And so kudos to the Liberals for creating an industry which otherwise would not be.

Until we see more productions being conceived and produced in the Northern Ontario with commercial potential, the industry must rely on outsiders bringing productions into the region. Shooting outside of the GTA is an expensive undertaking . Additional costs like accommodations, travel, per diems and other expenses jack up the production budget. NOHF compensates in order to stimulate the economy and create jobs.

So because NOHF does not support  Muskoka many of its unique locations are overlooked. This includes all of Gravenhurst, Bracebridge, Huntsville, Port Carling and Bala plus Muskoka icons like the steamship Segwun, the Key to Bala and the array of classic  hotels, cottages and homes . Muskoka also has an airport capable of landing large commercial jets.  In addition, without NOHF, the chance to employ and develop a contingency of trained support crew members in a region that relies on seasonal work and has high unemployment will never happen. 

Ask any locations manager scouting for a film in the District of Parry Sound. Because of the restrictions imposed by the Northern Ontario boundaries, bringing more films to the Parry Sound/Muskoka area and growing the local industry is near impossible. 

It’s time the Ontario Liberal Government stop playing politics with our future and GIVE BACK TO  MUSKOKA IT’S NORTHERN ONTARIO STATUS.

If you agree please SHARE THIS ARTICLE plus forward it  to:

 The Honourable Charles Sousa
 Minister of Finance

financecommunications.fin@ontario.ca

Thank you,

Vince Grittani  (Words Talk Productions) 
Executive Director, Rosseau Culture and Arts Project 

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If Harper Can Use The Hijab To Distract You From Facts Then I Can Use My Dog Iago to Get Your Attention.

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If Harper Can Use The Hijab To Distract You From Facts Then I Can Use My Dog Iago to Get Your Attention.

Harper says the Liberal Party of Canada wants to destroy families and seniors by taking away split income. This is like saying “Vote Conservative ‘Cause We Really Do Give a Damn About You”.

If you are single, have kids over 18 (when they really cost ya) or you are DINKs (Dual Income No Kids) then none of this applies.  Plus, it’s discriminatory.

Our middle class senior population is the wealthiest and healthiest in history and they outnumber kids under 15.

Yet again, Conservatives are attempting to distract away from the real issues.

Our economy in NOT okay, Steve.

We are in a recession. Ask a real economist, not Harper. Manufacturing has gone south. “So screw you, Ontario.” Unemployment figures are showing growth of part time jobs…“I have a degree that I will be paying for the rest of my life. Would you like fries with that?”.  

This Conservative government reached back to their roots and put most of their eggs in Alberta’s oil industry and natural resource basket. I must admit I do like paying 95 cent for gas. However, they even turned on their own. “So screw you too Alberta and Newfoundland.”

I don’t like the 75 cent dollar…although they say it’s good for manufacturing…Manufacturing?  You mean like Heinz Ketchup, Caterpillar Tractors and Novartis? Bye-Bye.

Common sense says when bank rates are low you borrow to get ahead. Isn’t that how most people afford a home these days? The Liberals want to borrow, take on controlled debt to repair, support  and build our aging infrastructure. They are not about giving tax credits for piano lessons, which is also how the Conservatives claim to support the arts.

I know I am repeating myself. Today’s Conservative Party is not the Progressive Conservatives your parents voted for. They are not Mulroney’s or Diefenbaker’s party. They are the Reform Party in sheep’s clothing…and they don’t even wear that well.

So as you read this, and for those who are risking imprisonment by toking as you read this (of which there are probably way more then took advantage of split income tax breaks), look at my cute dog Iago, ignore these Conservatives and vote for your future.   

The Weekend Guy’s Guest House…Quaint Sells!

cottage simpleThis past September I finally did what I have been doing for years, but now I am charging. I opened a “pop up” B&B. Actually it’s more of a cross between a tourist house and a small inn. I call it The Weekend Guy’s Guest House, of course.

It wasn’t a big leap for me. I just finished hosting a house full of actors and filmmakers for nearly two months. The difference is I’m charging, and now most people only stay a few days, not weeks.

It’s actually a good way of testing a long time dream to open up a small inn, kinda like Bob Newhart did on TV.  I would get to play host and also have the time in my office to sit and write during the day. It wasn’t hard either as my house is set up for such a venture. I have my space at the rear of the house and my guests stay in one of three rooms up on the second floor and share a bathroom.

Of course the internet has made it easy. I literally set up on AirBnB one day and within 24 hours I had my first booking! Since then I have entertained travellers from Germany, Israel, Netherlands, United States and Canada. There’s a learning curve involved. As AirBnB allows you to list anything from an entire house, to a single room, to a yurt in the backyard, you also have a choice as to what amenities you offer. At first I chose to simply provide a room with clean sheets and towels, plus the use of my kitchen. TwinAlthough I didn’t provide breakfast I did make morning coffee. This bare bones service was really all people wanted at first. However, I quickly learned that, yes there were guest who were simply looking for a place to crash for the night, there were also travellers who saw the opportunity for an inside look in the local culture. Naturally, being part of that culture, I switched to local tour guide and  cook as I would invite those staying for a few nights to dinner without charging. Hmmm.

It’s been truly an experience and an opportunity to meet really nice people from all over the planet. But I will admit, whether it was done consciously or not, I used these first few weeks to ask questions regarding my price and what services I was missing. I quickly learned my price was two low and some people prefered locks on their doors. I also learned that I can’t rely on the local restaurants to always be open for my guests, plus, most listings charge a cleaning service…And boy do I know why!

Now with twenty-six paying guests under my belt since Sept 6, having worked up a routine for laundry and cleaning duty, plus staying on top my dog Iago’s early barking routine, I’m beginning to get the hang of it. I’ve increased my prices, (just a few bucks to make it worth my time and effort), plus, I’ve added a cleaning charge. (You won’t believe how many times I’ve washed the sheets in the last few weeks!) I’m now offering dinner and breakfast packages. But what I am really  looking forward to are my group packages. Inviting  cyclists, snowmobilers, snowshoers or hikers up for a two-day all-inclusive. I’m even looking at hooking up with the local spa and offering “girls weekend getaways”.

Sometimes living in Rosseau gets so boring…but to outsiders we are a quaint little village. Last week two delightful girls who are big fans of “Gilmore Girls” compared Rosseau to Stars Hollow! Not quite. Stars Hollow is a metropolis compared to this place…Still, people are willing to pay for quaint….so, line up! I’m open for business!

For details on The Weekend Guy’s Guest House vist http://weekendguy.com/Weekendguys_Guest_House.html

Is Your Grandma a Real Character? I Want Her For My New TV Show.

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Do you have one of those Grandmothers who’s a real character?  Is she an incredible cook with all her recipes stored in her head? Does she love it when the entire family comes for dinner?

“Vince Grittani Dates Your Grandmother” is a lively cooking show that celebrates pure traditional cooking, maturity and the multicultural nature of North America. Host Vince visits your Grandmother and together they will plan, shop for and prepare her speciality. The payoff is when the family arrives and comes for dinner.  It may be a traditional Sunday sitdown meal or a backyard picnic. By dinner time Vince will have heard all the stories about the sons, daughters and grandchildren so he’ll have the advantage and be able  “kibbutz” around.

The meal to be prepared will focus on one or a few of Grandma’s specialties that can be made with Vince’s involvement.  During the process, we’ll learn about our guest cook’s life and her family. Some Grandmother’s love to tell stories and some even tell jokes. That’s perfect. All we ask is that she can speak English, at least enough to be understood.  She may even give Vince a language lesson or two! When needed, we’ll add funky subtitles or mini-fact sheets that further explain things. For example, say Grandma is from San Severo in the southern Italy,during editing we’ll insert facts and visuals about the town.

Few notes:

  • We are searching for the pilot AND the rest the series.
  • Submissions must be made by grandchildren over the age of 18.
  • Grandma must be aware and agree to the fact that you are submitting her.
  • There is no remuneration  but most expenses will be covered.
  • We are searching anywhere in Canada, but for the PILOT we are looking for a guest Granny living in Ontario.
  • Shoot date for the pilot TBA but will occur between Nov 1 and  Dec 15, 2015

If you think your Grandmother would be good guest for this show then please EMAIL the following:

  1. Your name, town, email and explanation why Grandmother is perfect guest for this.
  2. Your Grandmother’s name, town and what kind of living situation in which she lives.
  3. A list of your favourite things that Grandma makes. 
  4. An up to 2 minute video shot with a phone or Ipad of your Grandmother explaining to you her favourite recipe. (You can ask her questions) 

SEND EVERYTHING IN A SINGLE EMAIL TO :

Words Talk Productions

dateyourgrandmother@gmail.com

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ABOUT THE HOST HOST: Well experienced in front of the camera, host Vince Grittani loves talking to people. In the past he has hosted and produced his own series “The Weekend Guy” (Canwest & Ion Life (US)), co-hosted/produced Cottage Life Television for its first four and a half seasons and appeared for two seasons on Life’s Network’s  “Real Life” along with multiple guest spots on “Canada AM”, “Breakfast TV” and the “Dini Petty Show”.  He is a producer/director, professional playwright, cartoonist and writer, founder and director of the Rosseau Culture and Arts Project and oversees the Muskoka Theatre Project, The Muskoka Independent Film Festival and creator of “Destination Rosseau”. www.weekendguy.com

URGENT! BACKGROUND ACTORS IN PARRY SOUND NEEDED FOR TUESDAY, SEPT 15

Film in PSBACKGROUND PERFORMERS (extras) needed for a feature film shooting  Tuesday, Sept. 15 in Parry Sound. 9:00 AM CALL. It’s for the day. You need to be 30 – 60ish UPSCALE, meaning you look like you belong at a charity fundraiser.  It pays minimum wage, you get to be in the movies and lunch is provided. CONTACT Micheline Blais micheline.blais@gmail.com  (705)207-9524. 

If Justin Trudeau is “Just Not Ready” Then Stephen Harper is what? “Over Baked”?

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I’ve been told that Muskoka/Parry Sound has always been Progressive Conservative.  When I hear that it usually means “I vote PC because I always voted PC and my parents voted PC”.

First of all, today’s federal Progressive Conservatives are not  John Diefenbaker PCs  one’s parents voted for years ago. I’m always amazed how quick people accepted and forgotten the amalgamation of the failing PC Party of the of  90’s with the right wing, western based, Reform Party with its anti-gay, pro-privatization, immigration without compassion and abandonment of aboriginal responsibilities policies. Does any of this still sound familiar?

Second of all, if you look back, pretty well every prime-minister before Stephen Harper was a lawyer…okay there was Jo Who…at least he was smart but lacked party confidence.  As much as we all love to hate lawyers, you have to believe that at some point, anyone who studies law begins with at least a small element of compassion, desire to help and change the human condition or are even interested in some sort of fair and hopefully democratic, government.

Stephen Harper was an economist and a founding members of the Reform Party. If you recall, when he first came onto the stage they literally removed his jacket and tie then took pictures of him in a cardigan like Mr Rogers to project compassion and humanity. I’ve heard people talk about how brilliant he is. Really? Why would a brilliant economist in the year 2015 put so much emphasis on natural resources development, screw the environment, abandon manufacturing, stifle scientific research, plus, promote the celebration of war as culture?

I do believe our parents influence our voting habits.  Just as I believe they influence the choices we make in life. Harper’s father was an accountant for Imperial Oil where Stephen started in the mail room. Justin’s  was a dynamic  lawyer, environmentalist, and although at times a bit arrogant (which I loved). Pierre was also intelligent and entertaining…And then of course there Justin’s mom. Loved her too. Remember the El Macambo?…Excuse me I digress.

Recently. I called up the local Liberal office and had them put biggest sign they had for candidate Trisha Cowie on my property. She has an impressive background (is a lawyer) with way more life experience than some of the NDP MP’s now in Parliament.  I’ve met incumbent Tony Clement on several occasions. He’s a nice enough guy. He’s also responsible for bringing the (non) G-8 conference to Muskoka/Parry Sound…Oh yeah, we’re not supposed to talk about that ’cause we all got great buildings, sidewalks and gazebos even though the whole shindig moved to Toronto. Hey, what’s a billion dollars.

So on Friday, a nice gentleman showed up at the door to erect the sign. A real tough, big sort of outdoor guy. As we we were chatting I glanced over at his car. His license read “LEGALIZE”. I laughed. I figured it wasn’t about gay marriage. He told me that last year 57,000 Canadians were criminalized because of possession of pot. He shook his head and added that his boss didn’t like his license plate. Then I asked him what he did?

“I’m a cop”, he answered.  Now that is a compassionate voter.

So then as he banged the stakes into the ground,  I asked, “Do you think Tony’s going to get back in?” He said no. He believes the man, a career politician and a member of the inner circle, is going to be brought down, along with others over the Duffy affair.

Funny thing about this senate nonsense. When Harper was with the Reform Party, one of their mandates was Senate reform. Not necessarily demolishing it but turning it into an elected body. Obviously, that idea is on hold.

Listen, I’m not telling you to vote Liberal, or PC or whatever.  I’m just saying, don’t vote for someone because your parent’s voted for their party.  Do a little research. Think about your needs. Your family’s needs. Your community’s needs. And whatever you do, don’t not vote for someone because their opponent tells you they are just not ready. It’s not just lazy, fear mongering campaigning, it also shows how threatened they feel.

WINNERS OF 2015 Muskoka Independent Film Festival

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The Rosseau Culture and Arts Project is proud to announce the winners of the 2015 Muskoka Independent Film Festival.  Congratulations to all who participated.  Stand by for exciting announcements about MIFF 2016.

Best Animation   “Junk Girl”   Country: Iran     Directors: Mohammad Zare-Shalale Kheiri     Writer: Shalale KheiriProducer: Mohammad Zare    Animator: Mohammad Zare-Shalale Kheiri    Photography-edit: Roozbeh Shamshiri

There once was a girl who was made up of junk. Based on a Tim Burton short poem.

junkBEST ANIMATION

Best Short   “Panopticon”   Country: Canada    Director/writer/producer Eric Warwaruk

A teenaged boy lives in a fascist state that is under perfect surveillance.  If one “goes over tolerance”, he or she is required to “self-report”–and disappear. 

PanacBEST SHORT

Best Feature Narrative/Documentary   “Channel Zero”  Director/writer : John Nicol    Producers John Nicol, Heidi Gabriela, Michael Becke

Imagine a world void of people and life as we know it. Yet this world displays evidence of very recent human occupation. The power is still on, buildings still stand – everything is as it was, except everything living has vanished. This is the shocking reality Darlan suddenly finds himself in.
zeroBEST FEATURE

Best Student/Emerging  “Meeting Paris”  Director/writer/producer: Theo Tsanas

A passionate chef decides to move to Paris in attempt to change his mundane, ordinary life
ParisBEST EMERGING

MIFF OFFERS FREE MOVIES FOR KIDS THIS SATURDAY MORNING!

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This Saturday Morning, August 29 from 9:00 AM to 12:30 PM the Muskoka Independent Film Festival 2015  is presenting FREE KID’S MOVIES at the Village of Rosseau Memorial Hall. These are movies for young kids to young teens submitted from a variety of countries around the world. Most notably is “The Battle” made by two young teen Vancouver filmmakers and “The Little Witch” , from Croatia, about a little Roma girl and the magic her late grandmother brings into the family.  Films will be playing continuously and children, along with their parents, are welcome to enter quietly and watch as many as they please.  For a full schedule visit www.MuskokaFilmFestival.com 

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