To the mild surprise of organizers, there will be a second Knowlton Film Festival at Theatre Lac Brome, August 22 to 25.

“When we first hatched the idea last summer of a compact four-day event offering an eclectic mix of features and short films, we had no idea if the public would show up,” says John Griffin, who, with Michèle Bazin and Nicholas Pynes, is a co-founder. “As it happened, they did, and were very supportive. So we’re back.”

The 2019 program is still a work in progress, but this much is known. The event will remain a tight, four-day affair, offering features and shorts, fiction, dramas, comedies and documentaries, and films for children.

New this year, a short film contest, with three winners sharing $3500 in prize money, and screening during the opening night gala at the theatre, Aug. 22.

The feature that night is Montreal director Kim Nguyen’s The Hummingbird Project, starring Salma Hayek and Alexander Skars°gard, and produced by Pierre Even, who will introduce the film.

Other confirmed features include the acclaimed 2018 John McEnroe French documentary In the Realm of Perfection; Carmine Street Guitars, about the legendary New York guitar shop; Eternity’s Gate, an imagining of Vincent Van Gogh’s last years, with Willem Dafoe; Amazing Grace, the long delayed 1970s concert film with the immortal Aretha Franklin; and Alias Will James, a classic 1988 Quebec documentary about the American cowboy with a Canadian secret. Director Jacques Godbout will talk about it.

Also new this year, a film from the vaults, by popular demand. The perennial favourite Casablanca will screen, with free admission. Returning is the popular Sunday morning animation for kids, before the fest winds up that afternoon.

For ticket information, and the line-up as it takes shape, go to festivalcinemaknowlton.ca.