FIAMS’ 15th Biennial Edition in Canada: A Roaring Success8 August 2019 / Blog, News
Saguenay, August 8, 2019 – The 15th biennial edition of FIAMS, which marked the 30th anniversary of the International Puppetry Festival in Saguenay (Festival international des arts de la marionnette à Saguenay), concluded on July 28 in the province of Québec, Canada. The organization of the Théâtre La Rubrique is proud of the resounding success of this edition, which broke attendance records. More than 28,000 festivalgoers participated in the wide range of activities offered by the festival. Attendance of the indoor program reached 91 %, with most performances being sold out. This marked an increase of 3,000 people compared to the previous edition. More than 12,000 festivalgoers visited Parc de la Rivière-aux-Sables in Jonquiere to enjoy free shows and activities. Many tourists from different countries were also present at the event. The City of Saguenay hosted a delegation of more than 250 guests from 20 countries, including artists, technicians, programmers and journalists. Throughout the festival, puppeteers shared messages of love, hope and peace between nations. For instance, giant African puppets offered the hand of friendship to the people of Saguenay. Several members of UNIMA’s executive committee were present and a special event was organized to highlight the city of Saguenay’s membership in the AVIAMA-International Association of Puppet-Friendly Cities. The entire program, which included 45 different shows and 6 exhibitions, made way for contemporary puppet arts while honouring traditional puppetry. The audience was especially blown away by Stories of China, a show presented by the Lufeng Shadow Puppetry company. FIAMS emphasized that this troupe is one of the last to carry on the legacy and ancestral techniques of Chinese shadow puppetry, which was included on UNESCO’s Lists of Intangible Heritage in 2011. This edition also introduced the Unusual Program, which was held in uncommon locations and was highly enjoyed by the public. Micro-shows and curiosity cabinets took over several businesses in downtown Jonquiere. This collaboration between FIAMS and the business community is proof that puppets serve as a significant economic development tool for the city of Saguenay. Indeed, more than 1,200 people visited local businesses to attend the Unusual Program. Puppetry art forms an integral part of the social fabric of the city of Saguenay. This is made clear by the fact that approximately 100 people volunteered more than 1,000 hours in support of the event, thus greatly contributing to its success. Guests of this year’s FIAMS expressed their gratitude for the warm welcome they received from both the organization and the people of Saguenay. The presence of journalists made it possible to promote the event in several countries. FIAMS is considered a major cultural event in North America.