The month of July is upon us and that means one thing: Gimli Film Festival is back! In many of the Canadian short films presented this year, Manitoba will have played a part in them in some form or another. You will even have a chance to see former household tools that have taken on new lives as musical instruments.
Gimli Film Festival will take place July 22-26, 2015 in Gimli, Manitoba. This year marks the festival’s 15th year in operation and is Manitoba’s premiere film festival. It is best known for its feature film showings on Gimli Beach. On July 24, a variety of Canadian shorts will be held at the Gimli Lutheran Church Theatre from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. For more of a Manitoba focus, the theatre will also host the Manitoba Short Film Series on July 25 from 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., as well as Manitoba Youth Short Films along with TIFF Top 10 Student Films earlier that day from 10 a.m. to 12 noon.
Short Film Fan caught up with Aaron Zeghers, the festival’s film programmer, to get some more insight into the shorts planned for the weekend. For a list of the scheduled shorts, click on this link: http://gimlifilm.com/calendar/online/?filter-1735=9284
Short Film Fan: Why were these six Canadian short films chosen, in particular?
Aaron Zeghers: The six Canadian films were culled from our open call. We had tonnes of films submitted from all corners of the country and it was a difficult job to narrow it down to just one single program. Many of the films have a Manitoba connection, which I thought would be interesting for the local audience; even though all but one of the films are made by filmmakers living elsewhere.
- Vancouver film maker Catherine Parke will be in attendance at the screening with her film Very Good Dirt. Her film sifts through the sentimental memories of a long-lost Manitoba town and contrasts them to the practical life of the farmer who now owns and works the land. The resulting film is a poetic meditation on the meaning of place, all set in the great emptiness of the Canadian prairie.
- Back again is Calgary-based film maker Cameron Macgowan whose film Liebe played as part of our Canadian program last year. His latest film Backstreets follows a young drag racer who has to choose between his love of racing and his love for a young woman.
- Former Winnipegger Megan Turnbull has what I think is her best and certainly most personal film to date: Of Them. When both her grandmothers are diagnosed with early dementia, Turnbull felt a strong compulsion to return to Winnipeg and make a film about their lives. And the resultant film is a truly beautiful and touching piece of personal cinema.
- From the NFB comes a world-class animated film Me and My Moulton by Norwegian-born Canadian film maker Torill Kove, which was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film in 2015. In the film, a seven-year-old girl whose parents are hopelessly unconventional modern architects envies other normal Norwegian families of the sixties. There is unexpected drama the summer she and her sisters ask her parents for a bicycle!
- Newfoundland director Justin Oakey crafts a truly east coast tale of two rival fishing communities forced to take shelter from a storm together for one night. In Flankers, tensions boil but the rival east coasters are forced to set aside their disputes when a conflict arrives.
- Closing out the program will be Manitoba power house film maker Mike Maryniuk’s latest film that premiered at the last TIFF. Home Cooked Music profiles Lorne Collie, an imaginative inventor and craftsman from the Interlake region who makes whimsical stringed instruments out of unlikely items: shovels, rakes, baseball bats and stop signs become beautiful and functional guitars, violins, banjos, and fiddles. Through weathered doc footage and hand-crafted animation, this film offers a folksy, one-of-a-kind portrait of Collie’s spirit and talent. Both Mike Maryniuk and Lorne Collie will be present for the screening and available for questions and demonstrations of his musical instruments after the screening!
SFF: Will there be any discussions about these six shorts or a ‘fan choice award’ of some kind?
AZ: There is no Audience Choice prize this year for the Canadian shorts (there is for the Manitoba shorts). But, yes; Catherine Parke, director of Very Good Dirt, and Mike Maryniuk and his subject Lorne Collie will all be in attendance and available after the screening for a Q&A!
SFF: Will any of the Manitoba short film makers be on-hand for the Manitoba Short Film Series?
AZ: Guaranteed there will be a number of Manitoba short film makers in attendance for the Manitoba Short Film Program. I know Jaimz Asmundson (Ed Note: of the Winnipeg Film Group) will be there. But, guaranteed most of the film makers will probably be there for a Q&A after the screening.
We wish Aaron Zeghers and everyone involved at Gimli Film Festival all the best. For more information about the programming, ticketing or accommodation, go to their website at www.gimlifilm.com. You can also like them on Facebook and follow the festival on Twitter @GimliFilm for instant updates.
Enjoy the shorts and have fun at the festival!