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World's largest film festival ever more than exceeds the hype

Congratulations to Reel Canada for its over-the-top success yesterday pulling off the world's biggest one-day film festival -- ever!

From coast to coast to coast on April 19, Canadian-made films screened at more than 1,700 different venues as part of National Canadian Film Day 150. Reel Canada founders Sharon Corder and Jack Blum decided to aim high for the sesquicentennial outing of the annual one-day extravaganza, hoping to have a total of about 800 screenings. (That would have been a stunning accomplishment, doubling the number of screenings held by NCFD in the previous year.)

But the kick-ass NCFD team led by Jessica Smith knocked it outta the park, organizing an astonishing 1,700 screenings in Canada and around the world. Some venues screened classics, like Meatballs and Mon Oncle Antoine, while others showed less well-known gems like Still Mine (one of my absolute personal favourites.)

At the Barbara Frum Atrium at CBC headquarters in downtown Toronto, where I happened to find myself yesterday, energetic NCFD staff spread the good word about Canadian movies, while handing out T-shirts, bookbags, flags, pins and Reel Canada film catalogues. In the evening, Breakaway, the 2011 crowd pleaser about a Sikh hockey player who goes against his father's wishes, screened in the atrium with star Vinay Virmani in attendance.

A shout-out to all who made the event such a dazzling success, from the student volunteers to Corder and Blum themselves.

NCFD team member Emily Howell, working at the CBC atrium on Wednesday, April 19, with pal Dylan and a moose with no name. Hundreds of people enjoyed the Robert Lieberman-directed film Breakaway, which screened at the atrium Wednesday evening.

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