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Watching Movies Under The Stars!
on July 14,2018 by jared



The 18th annual Gimli Film Festival (GFF) is gearing up to go in one week! This year, GFF will screen 59 Manitoba films that showcase the amazing talent coming out of the prairies.
 “The film community in Manitoba is extremely supportive and consistently produces captivating and dynamic cinema that we can’t wait to share with our film fans,” says GFF Festival Director Leona Johnson. “With the Festival only a week away, we’re looking forward to welcoming all of our guests to Gimli.”
Many local filmmakers will be in attendance including Guy Maddin whose film Archangel will be screening on Thursday at 8 p.m. at the Aspire Theatre. Maddin will receive the Alda Award this year recognizing his dynamic career that started with the release of Tales from the Gimli Hospital in 1988. Elise Swerhone will receive the Jack Clements “Livin’ the Dream” Award for her outstanding contributions to the Manitoba film industry.
Other Manitoba filmmakers in attendance include director Andy Blicq for his film A Song for John Ramsay, and Cam Patterson director of Aboard the Namao, a documentary on the state of Lake Winnipeg. John Barnard director of Bachman, Shelagh Carter director of Before Anything You Say, Katharina Stieffenhofer director of From Seed to Seed, and Dave Barber co-director of Tales from the Winnipeg Film Group will also be in attendance.
This year, GFF will present two new distinct awards celebrating Manitoba film excellence. The first award for Best Manitoban Director is presented by the Directors Guild of Manitoba and will be announced at the Awards Reception on Saturday evening. Nominees include Shelagh Carter for her feature-length film, Before Anything You Say, Erin Hembrador for her short-film Piece of Mind, and Ryan Steel for his short film The Birdwatcher.  
Also new this year is an award for Best Actor and Best Actress in a MB Short Film presented by ACTRA Manitoba during the Manitoba Short Films in Competition program alongside Manitoba Film & Music’s Audience Choice award for best Manitoba Short Film.
GFF continues to be a destination for filmmakers. This year, the festival welcomes two Icelandic filmmakers: Karna Sigurðardóttir (690 Vopnafjörður) and Ása Helga Hjörleifsdóttir (The Swan). Canadian directors Kathleen Hepburn (Never Steady, Never Still), Simon Plouffe (Those Who Come, Will Hear) and Christy Garland (What Walaa Wants) will also be attending the festival to introduce their films along with Transformer producer Paul Kemp. All of these filmmakers will be on hand to introduce their films and answer audience Q & As.

Film fans can see the full festival program or purchase their passes and tickets online at, through the GFF APP or at the GFF Box Office. The GFF Box Office is open next on Saturday, July 21 and will be open for the duration of the festival.

FemFest 2018: Staging Resistance – 16 years and still evolving!
on July 9,2018 by jared

The commercialization of the environment, treaty relations, exploring erased stories in mythology and tackling racism head on...FemFest 2018 is not shying away from the reality of the world we live in. Things have certainly changed in 16 years and this year FemFest has taken a hard look at its role. After intensive community consultations, FemFest 2018: Coming of Age will focus on diversity, inclusivity and visibility. From September 15 to 22 Sarasvàti Productions will take over the Asper Centre for Theatre and Film for eight days of life-changing theatre for everyone! 

FemFest itself is resisting complacency with a desire to be responsive to community needs, stories that need to be told and adjustments to the festival to make it truly accessible. The artistic work this year will resist oppression, harmful tradition and silencing of voice. New initiatives will be announced in the lead up to September. To start, we are excited to announce the touring shows and guest artists who will be in Winnipeg for FemFest 2018:

Donna-Michelle St. Bernard is an emcee (aka Belladonna the Blest) and playwright. Her work has been recognized with a SATAward nomination, the Herman Voaden Playwriting Award, the Enbridge playRites Award, a Dora Mavor Moore Award for Outstanding New Play, and two nominations for the Governor General’s Literary Award for Drama. We are excited to welcome her to Winnipeg to perform her one woman show The Sound of the Beast produced by Theatre Passe Muraille (Toronto). This solo piece speaks truth to power using spoken word, storytelling and hip-hop. Inspired by Tunisian emcee Weld-El 15 – who was jailed for his song Boulicia Kleb (The Police Are Dogs) – the show highlights St. Bernard’s quick wit and quicker rhymes in a performance that reflects on identity, oppression and what happens when authority is questioned.

Darla Contois is a Winnipeg artist who spends much of her time working in Toronto. After premiering her solo show at Summerworks, we are proud to present it here in her home town. White Man’s Indian is the story of Eva, a Cree teenage girl, and her journey through the maze of a White Man’s high school. It is a hilarious quest for identity and spirituality through the hallways of teen angst, racism, and an evil prom queen.

Our third Canadian touring show is Burnt by Norah Paton. Every year over 65,000 people gather in the desert outside of Reno, Nevada to form a temporary community called Burning Man. Burnt explores the participants and culture of Burning Man using recordings of interviews, conversations, music, dust storms, and chaos.

FemFest 2018 will also include a partnership with Théatre Cercle Molière to present an exciting French piece from Morocco – La Civilisatoin, ma mère!..., with an additional reading in Arabic. On the local front, in partnership with Manohar Performing Arts, The Game will be presented as a hybrid of classical Indian dance and theatre. The festival will continue to offer revamped versions of the Bake-Off playwriting competition, readings and an opening cabaret featuring music, visual art, comedy and film.

FemFest runs from September 15-22, 2018 atthe Asper Centre for Theatre and Film (at the University of Winnipeg, 400 Colony Street). Tickets are $15-$20 for single shows and a full festival pass is available for $50. For more information visit our website:

About Sarasvàti Productions: Founded in Winnipeg in 2000, we seek to inspire artists and audiences through the use of theatre and to provide a place where artists can develop, showcase their skills and celebrate their creativity. FemFest has been up and kicking since 2003 and to date has showcased hundreds of artists!

You Down With the BIG FUN?
on July 1,2018 by jared

Since it's inception we've been a proud supporter of the BIG FUN festival, an annual, five day music festival showcasing multiple genres of music in several venues in downtown Winnipeg every January.   Using Winnipeg’s prairie winter as the backdrop, the festival showcases the best of Manitoba’s current and upcoming artists as well as some hand picked acts from across Canada.

The festival runs from Wednesday evening to Sunday afternoon.  There are a variety of events taking place throughout the weekend in close proximity to each other so that festivalgoers can travel between the shows. . Shows on the same evening are staggered and are distinct in sound and delivery so that you can have many different experiences all in one Big Fun weekend.

Submissions for #BIGFUN2019 are now open! From June 1st to September 15th submit your band to play the 8th instalment of the Big Fun Festival, running January 23rd-27th.

Think you or your band would be a good fit for the festival?  You can apply by heading over to the festival's submission's page and following the easy steps - it's just that simple!


Win A Pass For This Year's Folk Festival!
on June 25,2018 by jared

If you've been listening to UMFM over the last few weeks, you know that once again we've teamed up with our friends at the Winnipeg Folk Festival to give you a chance to win a full festival pass to this year's festival!

Our contest this year is simple - in your own words, we're asking you to paint a picture for us of your single favorite folk festival musical memory! Describe for us the best show you've seen at the festival - whether it be mainstage, small stage, workshop or solo and explain what made it stick out for you above the rest.

Also - since it's a sweet prize worth working for, tell us what three 2018 festival artists you're looking forward to seeing most out at Bird's Hill!

The best story as picked by our judges will win a weekend pass for this year's festival so that you can go make some more great musical memories this year! If you've left your ticket buying to the last minute, or for some reason are on the fence in attending - now's your chance!

Email your submissions to no later than July 3rd at 6PM. Tell your friends, neighbors and folks you meet on the street - this is a sweet prize!

Photo Courtesy Joey Senft

Choo-choo! The Festival Express is leaving the station
on June 24,2018 by michael

Starting today and running until July 6th, join some of your favorite UMFM hosts as they speak to just a few of the great artists headed to town for this year's Winnipeg Folk Festival.

Each Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 11:30 AM the Festival Express will pull out of the station for a half-hour trip that will include feature interviews, music, live performances and festival giveaways and information. 

If you miss an episode, we'll be posting them, catch up on them via the links below or visit our soundcloud!

Here's who's going for a ride:


Monday, June 4: Gaelynn Lea

Wednesday, June 6: Mick Flannery

Friday, June 8: Jadea Kelly


Monday, June 11: Sidi Toure

Wednesday, June 13: Harrow Fair

Friday, June 15: Donovan Woods



Wednesday, June 20: Jeremy Fisher Junior

Friday, June 22: Natalie MacMaster


Monday, June 25: Mappe Of

Wednesday, June 27: Kacy & Clayton

Friday, June 29: Gabrielle Shonk


Monday, July 2: Real Estate

Wednesday, July 4: Mama Kin Spender

Friday, July 6: Al Simmons