The First Weekend Club (“FWC”) is celebrating 10 years of promoting and raising awareness for Canadian films and talent. Founded by Anita Adams in 2003, the club has since supported over 300 home-grown films and hosted over 200 special events and screenings with the goal of building a strong audience for Canadian films. I caught up with Anita last week to chat about FWC’s journey so far, its impact, and its future:
“It’s like climbing Mount Everest and pushing a boulder up the hill,” Anita laughed. “It’s fun, I love what I do, I really really do. But, I was really ignorant and naive when I first started out, I had no clue what would be really involved.” Over the last decade the club has supported The Delicate Art of Parking, One Week, Starbuck, The Corporation, Hit N’ Strum, Take This Waltz, C.R.A.Z.Y., It’s All Gone Pete Tong, and Scared Sacred – to name just a few.
“I thought, you tell people about Canadian films and they’ll come out. But it’s hard to make noise and get people to pay attention with all the other clutter and noise that’s going on out there in the marketplace.”
When the First Weekend Club was established it was initially a hobby “on the side” but Anita says it has become a full time career, and then some. Her passion first lay with acting, and she recalls some words of inspiration she received at a workshop with Cameron Thor who came up to Vancouver from Los Angeles.
“He said to the group that it’s so important that you commit to your dreams and follow your dreams. Only by following your dreams will you find the path you were meant to be on — and it might be completely different than what you set out to do but that’s the way you find what you’re supposed to do.” Anita says that’s what really spoke to her and she feels that her pursuit of an acting career led her here, on the path to be where she was meant to be in life. Her big project now is launching Canada Screens, an online video on demand pay-per-view service that will stream Canadian films and entertainment.
“We raised funds for two phases of development with [an] Indiegogo campaign now I’m just trying to get more funds in the door to hire more IT support in the door before we launch it.” They hope to continually add new titles, about 100 a year, and will launch with at least 50 or 60 exclusively Canadian features.
“I believe that [Canada Screens] is going to be a successful operation. Even if it isn’t, the skills that I will walk away with from this experience, the life learning and the friendships that have developed are really worthwhile.” Setting out on the film festival circuit to promote the video on demand service, Anita hopes to find supporters and build some buzz with film-loving audiences across the country.
If you would like to support the upcoming Canada Screens online Canadian film portal, you can join the First Weekend Club. Membership is free and you’ll receive all the latest information about Canadian film screenings in your area and updated project information for Canada Screens.