Launched in April 2015, the CBC Online Short Film Festival currently features five short films made by Manitoba filmmakers through the Winnipeg Film Group. A CBC Manitoba personality, from both radio and television, picked one film as their favourite and provides a brief defense of his or her chosen short. Viewers are able to rate each film by selecting a number of stars on the webpage.
The WFG hopes that the online festival will get more viewers interested in watching short films. Monica Lowe, Distribution Director at the Winnipeg Film Group, shared some of her thoughts regarding CBC Online Short Film Fest:
Short Film Fan: How does the WFG feel about these films being featured in this online film fest?
Monica Lowe: We were excited to be approached by the CBC to have our films involved in this new initiative and have them championed by CBC personalities. It is also great that the filmmakers will receive artist fees for their participation in the festival. CBC Manitoba knows that filmmakers deserve to be compensated for their hard work and we are very happy to be able to support them and make screenings like this happen for them.
SFF: What are your hopes for this online festival? Is it increased exposure for the film makers? Build more public interest in short films?
ML: My hope is that more people will watch short films and realize that there are a lot of interesting and diverse independent works being made here in Winnipeg. Being able to tell a poignant or funny story in under 5 minutes is a real skill and I think these filmmakers demonstrate a real knack for storytelling. I think the festival will also help expose these filmmakers to a wider audience and hopefully will encourage more people to watch independent cinema at the Cinematheque or come to the WFG to make their own films.
Iris Yudai, Executive Producer at CBC Mantioba, envisions the festival as a way to create a connection between the filmmakers and the audience. She also explains how the films were chosen and what kind of impact the festival has made on the local community:
Short Film Fan: Why were these five Manitoba films chosen out of so many that are available?
Iris Yudai: It was incredibly difficult to choose just five shorts out of the many brilliant films out there. Because this was a pilot, we didn’t do an open call. Instead, we relied on the folks at the Winnipeg Film Group to provide us with a selection of their favourite short shorts (under five minutes). From there, it was up to our CBC champions. They each selected a film they felt passionate about – one they were moved to shout from the rooftops about. I like that the result is such a mix. Loss of Contact and The Touchdown are both set in the sports world, but they are wildly different!
SFF: CBC Manitoba has broadcast short films such as these on television as special summer programming, for example. Will we be able to watch these films from this online festival on CBC-TV this summer, or is this strictly an online feature?
IY: Our goal with the CBC Manitoba Online Short Film Fest is to make connections between our province’s filmmakers and our audience. We want to do that on all our platforms – which is why we’re talking about the films on radio and TV as well as online and through our social media channels. This year the films are online only but we’re not ruling out a TV broadcast in the future. Meantime, you can always find shorts on CBC TV’s Canadian Reflections (www.cbc.ca/reflections) and Short Film Face Off (www.cbc.ca/shortfilmfaceoff).
SFF: Are there any plans to hold another online Manitoba short film festival in the near future?
IY: I love the way the short film fest has been embraced by the film community and our audience. It’s been fun to get a conversation going about some of the films, and to get people watching sharing short films who ordinarily might not. It’s definitely something we’d like to repeat soon. After all, during the long Winnipeg winter, wouldn’t it be nice to curl up with some made-in-Manitoba short films?
Indeed, the winters in Manitoba make for excellent short film watching! We wish all the best for CBC Manitoba’s first-ever online short film festival. Congratulations goes out to the Winnipeg Film Group and its filmmakers for having their hard work recognized in this fashion. The festival is definitely an excellent opportunity to connect short film fans with the creators. But also, it’s an exciting platform to show short film fans all over the world just how talented Manitoba short film makers are.