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OFFA presents free screening of award-winning Back Home Again

Sheridan College
Sheridan College

The Oakville Festivals of Film and Art (OFFA) is hosting a free screening of the award-winning animated film Back Home Again this Friday, May 6, 2022, at the Oakville Centre for the Performing Arts.

This special event is being presented in partnership with Bell Let’s Talk and Sheridan College. This week's show coincides with Canadian Mental Health Week and Emergency Preparedness week, both currently taking place.

Everyone is welcome to attend the screening, beginning at 7 p.m. this Friday, and up to four tickets can be claimed per person. All seats are general admission for the show in the 500-seat main auditorium.

The film's "all-star voice cast" (who donated their time to the production) includes Jeremy Renner, Martin Short, Kim Basinger, Eugene Levy, Catherine O’Hara, Michael J. Fox, Howie Mandel, Ed Asner, Lorne Cardinal, Mena Suvari, Bill Burr, Tom Green, Norm Macdonald, Sherri Shepherd, Marlon Wayans, Tantoo Cardinal and more.

Inspired by the 2016 Fort McMurray wildfires, Back Home Again tells the story of the woodland creatures who live in Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo and must come together after a horrible tragedy.

Back Home Again
Back Home Again

The real-life 2016 wildfires were one of the largest wildfire evacuations in Canadian history, impacting the lives of more than 80,000 residents in Fort McMurray. OFFA and the filmmakers say the film is being "showcased to help build mental health awareness and spark conversations in communities across Canada and around the world."

Since its premiere, Back Home Again has won the Award of Excellence from the Canada Shorts Film Festival and two awards at the Edmonton International Film Festival.

“OFFA is proud to be partnering with Bell Media, Sheridan College, and Charmaine Hammond to bring this incredible film about resilience and hope to our community during what has been one of the most difficult times in recent history," said Wendy Donnan, OFFA's Executive Director. 

"This film and panel will inspire us to learn how to safeguard our own mental health. As a Sheridan Professor, I am also very proud to be part of the team myself!"

Tickets to this Friday's show are free to the general public and will feature both the 35-minute film and a post-show Q&A with both filmmakers and mental health professionals:

  • Charmaine Hammond (Executive Producer)
  • Michael Mankowski (Director and Writer)
  • Dr. Ian Dawe, a psychiatrist in the Mental Health Program at Trillium Health Partners in Mississauga
  • Rashaad Vahed, CEO of Canadian Mental Health Association Halton

In addition to being an executive producer, Charmaine Hammond is a Sheridan College alumna. Oakville News arts reporter and OFFA host Tyler Collins will moderate the Q&A.

This week is also the anniversary of the 2016 wildfires, but while the film is based on the Fort McMurray wildfires, filmmakers say this "is really a story about community, hope and resilience." The film has "travelled Canada’s film festival circuit and is now making a special appearance in Oakville."

In addition to Donnan, several local personalities will be in attendance for the screening, including Sheridan President and Vice-Chancellor Janet Morrison, Oakville Fire Department Chief Paul Boissonneault and Oakville Mayor Rob Burton.

"Sheridan is proud to partner on this event, and we congratulate alumna Charmaine Hammond (Correctional Worker ’85) for her continued advocacy for safe, open conversations on mental health," says Sheldon Pereira, Vice Provost of Student Experience & Enrolment Management, Sheridan College. 

"We know that many of our learners face internal and external pressures that take a toll on their mental health and, in turn, their ability to succeed academically. Films like Back Home Again offer a way to begin the conversation around mental health, giving students the opportunity to broach the subject and find support they may need."

While tickets are free, donations are being collected at the event for Sheridan's Student Emergency Fund.

The school says, "Financial insecurity impacts student mental health and wellbeing, especially when unforeseen events occur. The Student Emergency Fund provides financial assistance to Sheridan students experiencing short-term financial hardship related to their critical needs."

More information about the event and free tickets are available online on OFFA's website.


Tyler Collins

About the Author: Tyler Collins

Tyler Collins is the editor for Oakville News. Originally from Campbellton, New Brunswick, he's lived in Oakville more than 20 years. Tyler is a proud Sheridan College graduate of both Journalism and Performing Arts.
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