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The Sadies in Silvertown
for Mighty Niagara Film Fest

Festival’s third year includes concert paired with spaghetti westerns

John Law is a St. Catharines-based reporter for the Niagara Falls Review. Reach him via email: [email protected]

You name the place in Canada and legendary Toronto band The Sadies has likely played it over the past three decades.

But an Aug. 18 event in Niagara Falls will surely be a first.

As part of the Mighty Niagara Film Fest running Aug. 16 to 19, the band will play some former railroad lands on Buttery Street in Niagara Falls for a western-themed night of cinema and twangy rock.

Stephen Remus, director of festival organizer Niagara Artists Centre (NAC), says the 20-hectare patch of land — now an ATV park called Trikers — provides a “ghost town” atmosphere for the unique show.

The Sadies will perform alongside spaghetti western short films edited by local filmmakers to match their music.

“The parameter was, pick a Sadies song and pick one spaghetti western,” says Remus. “They’re all Niagara filmmakers.”

The films will be projected on a screen near a mobile stage The Sadies will perform on.

Remus discussed the concept with Sadies co-founder Dallas Good before the guitarist died in February last year. The rest of the band were eager to see it through.

The Sadies at the STRUTT Wearable Art Show, 2013

“They were welcoming the opportunity to do something different,” says Remus. “We’ve partnered with them on other stuff in the past. They’re enthused, they’re ready to do it. They’re all keyed up.”

Dubbed “Showdown in Silvertown,” tickets are $40.

The show was originally to take place at Niagara Falls’ new arts hub The Exchange but ongoing construction delays forced NAC to find a different venue. What could have been a downer has become one of the most unique events since the festival launched in 2021.

Remus says it will add to the festival’s growing reputation of being diverse and different. Too many festivals try to compete with the Toronto film festival instead of building something new, he says.

“This is grassroots. It’s all about engaging with local filmmakers. When people come here to see The Mighty Niagara Film Festival, they’ve seen something they can’t see anywhere else.”

Venues for this year’s festival include Stratus Vineyards winery in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Coronation Park in Niagara Falls, Skyway Drive-In in south Thorold and the Thomas Craig Oliver Terrace atop the NAC building in downtown St. Catharines, along with traditional venues that include Landmark Cinemas at The Pen Centre and the Film House at FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre, both in St. Catahrines.

Film programmer Kasia Smuga says the movie lineup “is rich with Niagara content and open to new ideas and experiments in film.”

For the full festival lineup and tickets, visit nac.org/mnff-2023.