Monthly Archives: January 2017

A Sense Of Community Awaits You At Vancouver Short Film Festival

The weekend is almost here, and what better way to enjoy it than to attend a local film festival and get caught up on the latest in Canadian and international short films. If you happen to be in Vancouver for the weekend, and are fan of British Columbia-made short films, you are in for a treat.

The Vancouver Short Film Festival (VSFF) will be taking place January 27th and 28th at Vancity Theatre with 28 shorts to be screened altogether. The festival dates back to 2005, when it was known as the Vancouver Student Film Festival. In 2009, the name was changed to Vancouver Short Film Festival as professional filmmakers began to be featured alongside their student counterparts.0184_vsff-2017_vsff_slide_r01c

Short Film Fan caught up with Vancouver Short Film Festival Co-Director Kristyn Stilling to learn more about the festival, including why the festival was started and what the audience can expect to experience by attending.

 

Short Film Fan: Why was the Vancouver Short Film Festival launched in the first place?

Kristyn Stilling: The Vancouver Short Film Festival (VSFF) was started to celebrate the vibrant community of short film, video, and animation artists on the Canadian West Coast. We hope to build ties between emerging and established professionals, and provide an arena where all short filmmakers, including students, can screen their films in public and support their fellow colleagues. Our ultimate goal is to connect short filmmakers to a broader audience in order to grow the local film industry.

SFF:  Do the shorts originate from Vancouver only, or do they also come from other parts of British Columbia?

KS: To be eligible for the festival, the films must have a BC Resident Cast or Crew on their project. VSFF celebrates all the filmmaking crafts, as well as filmmakers from other countries who are currently living in Vancouver.

SFF:  Are the shorts a mix of professional and student-made films?

KS: They are! This year we have 8 student films.

SFF:  Will there be an opportunity for the audience to meet any of the filmmakers?

KS: After each screening there will be a Q&A with the filmmakers in attendance. There are also networking opportunities at our Opening Reception, Closing Gala, and in between the screenings. VSFF is a community that brings filmmakers and film lovers together.

SFF: What would like the audience to take away from attending the festival?

KS: A sense of community. VSFF prides itself on supporting and celebrating the best our province has to offer and we are incredibly thankful to our audience and sponsors for coming back year after year to support local BC filmmaking and storytelling.

 

We wish everyone at Vancouver Short Film Festival all the best for a successful and fun festival. To get your tickets or to find out what films are playing and when, please visit their website at: http://www.vsff.com/vsff-2017-program. Follow them on Twitter and like their Facebook page to get the latest in news and information coming from the festival.

Hey short film fans: if you really liked any of the shorts this weekend, why not Tweet it out to @VSFF and to @shortfilmfan, or post a comment about it below?

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Celebrate Two Anniversaries With Manitoba Shorts At Moving Images Exhibit

There are two anniversaries being celebrated at the University of Winnipeg this year, and what better way to have a party than to hold an exhibition of short films made by current and former staff and students at its own art gallery.

Moving Images is taking place at the University of Winnipeg’s Gallery 1C03 in honour of the University’s 50th anniversary of its charter and the Gallery’s 30th anniversary of its opening. The event is on between January 12 and February 18, 2017, and includes panel discussions, a collage exhibition and short film screenings. A total of 23 shorts will be presented and are organized into five different cinematic themes:

  • To Make a Prairie (January 12 – 21)
  • The Personal is Political (January 23 – 28)
  • The Haunted Cinema (January 30 – February 4)
  • Women’s Pictures, Women’s Lives (February 6 – 11)
  • Funny Haha and Funny Peculiar (February 13 – 18)

Among the list of Manitoba filmmakers whose short films will be screened include Guy Maddin, Danishka Esterhazy, Danielle Sturk, and Mike Maryniuk. Also featured will be CBC Short Film Face Off winners from 2015, BJ Verot and Brad Crawford.

Check out the details on all of the screenings: www.uwinnipeg.ca/art-gallery/programming/2016-17/moving-images-screening-programs.html

 

Photo credit: Ernest Mayer
Photo credit: Ernest Mayer

Moving Images is co-curated by Jennifer Gibson, Gallery 1C03 director and curator, and Alison Gillmor, art historian and film critic. Short Film Fan reached out to Jennifer and Alison to learn more about the shorts being screened at this fascinating exhibition:

Short Film Fan: Why were these five particular themes chosen for Moving Images?

JG & AG: They came about rather organically; we found that particular approaches and ideas were being dealt with by multiple artists and so we found ourselves grouping those works together. That being said, there are no hard and fast rules in terms of which films are part of specific themes or programs. A number of them – Shimby Zegeye-Gebrehiwot’s yaya/ayat, to give one example – could be screened in multiple programs.

SFF: How difficult was it for you to choose the final list of shorts to be screened at the exhibit?

JG & AG: It was very challenging. Winnipeg has such a rich community of artists. There are many more fabulous works that we would have liked to include. If we had more funding, we would have been able to present even more films.

SFF: Will there be an opportunity to meet any of the featured filmmakers?

JG & AG: Yes! Guy Maddin and a number of the other artists were at the opening reception last week and Guy spoke with his colleague Evan Johnson on Thursday evening about archival influences in their on-line film project Séances.

There will be two more opportunities to hear filmmakers discuss their work. University of Winnipeg English Studies professor Andrew Burke will moderate a discussion on cinematic experimentalism with artists Mike Maryniuk, Sol Nagler and Rhayne Vermette on Monday, January 30 at 7:00 p.m. in UW’s Eckhardt-Gramatté Hall.

On Thursday, February 9 at 7:00 p.m. the University’s Chair in the History of Indigenous Arts in North America Julie Nagam will lead a discussion with artists Danishka Esterhazy, Freya Bjorg Olafson and two members of The Ephemerals collective, Jaimie Isaac and Jenny Western. That event also takes place in Eckhardt-Gramatté Hall.

SFF: Are there any plans for the Moving Images exhibition to return next year?

JG & AG: Moving Images is a special project that has been organized in honour of Gallery 1C03’s 30th anniversary and the University of Winnipeg’s 50th anniversary to celebrate the talent of the University community – all of the artists are alumni, current or former students, and current or former faculty and instructors. We did not envision it as an annual project but there are certainly plenty more fantastic works that could be screened. It’s a great idea to consider a follow-up.

SFF: What do you hope the audience will take away from this exhibition?

JG & AG: We’re hoping that people will get some sense of the depth and range of artists’ films in Manitoba, not just with established names like Guy Maddin, but also among a younger generation often working with pop culture references and experimental techniques, and often referencing urgent social and political issues. There are a lot of artists using film and video in innovative and personal ways.

 

Complementing the Moving Images event is an exhibition of Guy Maddin’s collages and the presentation of his Seances project with Evan and Galen Johnson. This work is also on view January 12 to February 18, and can be seen in the University of Winnipeg Library’s Hamilton Galleria space. A downloadable pdf publication related to Moving Images is also in the works and will be made available online toward the middle or end of February. Please check back at Gallery 1C03’s website: www.uwinnipeg.ca/art-gallery.

If you’re in the Winnipeg area in January and February, you can catch the shorts screenings at Gallery 1C03 Monday to Friday, 12:00 – 4:00 p.m. and on Saturdays, 1:00 – 4:00 p.m. Admission to the shorts, panel discussions and collage exhibit is free and open to the public. Both venues are wheelchair accessible locations.

Happy anniversary, University of Winnipeg and Gallery 1C03! Thanks for making Canadian short films a part of your celebration.

Hey, short film fans: if you happen to catch a short or two that you really liked, let us know! Send a Tweet out to @1c03 and to @shortfilmfan. Or, post a comment below.

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Take Control Of Your Job Search By Watching ‘Interview’ (2016)

With a new year upon us, many people will take the time to sit down and reflect upon the past and make plans for the future. Some of us will map out a goal to lose weight or to take a course and learn something new. For others, looking for a new job and starting a new career are on top of their lists. In today’s economy, it feels like it is getting tougher for job seekers to get noticed and to find opportunities to shine in job interviews. When a person does manage to latch on to that coveted foot in the door, he or she only has a moment to make a good impression and hopefully land that new job. But what happens when that job interview that you were looking forward to earlier suddenly becomes a struggle? How do you turn an interview around that is headed in the wrong direction?

The short film Interview (2016) could offer you some answers. Directed by Ryan Kayet and produced by Dave Gibson, Interview was written by Ryan Kayet and Ashan Butt, and stars Richard Young as ‘Rik’ and Charlie Ebbs as ‘Colin’. Rik is given a chance of a lifetime when his cousin helps him secure an interview with her boss, Colin. As soon as Rik enters Colin’s office, however, things do not go as he had hoped. Colin dismisses Rik’s qualifications and attempts to educate Rik on what he looks for in an ideal candidate. The interview becomes a battle of wits between the two men, with Rik finding the strength and courage to challenge Colin, take control, and turn the meeting around in his favour. Check out the film’s trailer below:

Short Film Fan recently reached out to Ryan for some of his thoughts about Interview:

Short Film Fan: What motivated or influenced you to make Interview?

Ryan Kayet: My good friend, who also happens to be a talented writer, Ahsan Butt, and I had wanted to work on a project together for some time. Interview was created out of our desire to tell a story that featured strong characters in a situation where the power shifts back and forth. When creating the script for Interview, we filtered through multiple different plot lines and ideas before Ahsan came up with one that would be the story’s defining moment – Rik refusing to leave and demanding to be interviewed.  This was the point that I could see it becoming a short film and one that I wanted to make.

SFF: What particular challenges did you experience when making the film?

RK: I was really fortunate to have two great actors (Richard Young and Charlie Ebbs) playing the leads because this was a challenging, dialogue heavy script. I spent a lot of time working with the actors in rehearsal. We broke down the characters, created their back story, and searched for the subtext within the dialogue. Because of the way it was written, we really needed to have this prep work to nail the portrayal of the realistic and deep characters. So that was a challenge, but one that was very fun and rewarding! From a technical perspective, making a short film that is a continuous dialogue scene, with two actors, and in one location poses a few challenges as well. I spent a lot of time during pre-production developing the shot list to ensure that camera movements and angles would in service to the story and the characters, while also keeping the audience engaged.

SFF:  Colin had placed many obstacles in front of Rik during the interview. In your opinion, what was the biggest obstacle that Rik had to contend with?

RK: Rik had a lot to deal with, but his biggest obstacle was not even being considered before entering the room. Colin, whether it was because of his bias or simply not being interested, had no intention of taking Rik seriously; he just wanted to give some advice, toot his own horn, and dismiss Rik.  So when Rik takes a little control and demands to be interviewed, it is a big moment. It is this action that shows the strength and depth of his character. It’s a rather audacious move, and the point at which most people would certainly not dare to follow as the stakes for repercussions grows much higher. Ahsan, Dave Gibson (the producer) and I are always drawn to these moments in a story, because it reflects what we would like to do, but decide (perhaps wisely) not to.

SFF:  What lessons, if any, would you like the audience to learn from Interview?

RK: In setting out to create this story, I didn’t intend to give people a “take away” of any sorts. One of the most powerful things a film can do is accurately reflect an aspect of our own society in a way that is honest and promotes empathy. There was a lot of effort put in to make sure that Colin wasn’t portrayed as evil, like some villain out of an after school special. He obviously has his flaws, and some unchecked biases, but if he was overtly and unrealistically prejudicial, I don’t think this film would resonate.  At our last screening, we had numerous people talk to us about how much they could relate to Rik’s situation, and how closely it reflected their feelings. Honestly, that’s all I can ask for.

 

Short Film Fan Review: From start to finish, Interview was a riveting 19-minute short. Colin’s preoccupation with his mobile phone within the first one and a half minutes into the film was a tip that things were not going to go well between the two gentlemen. Rik’s determination and Colin’s arrogance were scripted well and complemented both of these characters. It was easy to relate to and feel for Rik’s character, as most job seekers have experienced at least one bad interview at some point in their lives. In some ways, you could see that Colin was in a bind as an employer. Since his employee Angie (who we did not see in the film) had recommended Rik, and she presumably got along with Colin, he probably felt that he had to entertain Angie’s request of meeting up with Rik in order to show that he was a good boss. The dialogue was very realistic and it felt like as if you were in that room experiencing the interview in person. Interview is highly recommended watching for interviewers and interviewees, alike. Watch out, interviewers: make sure you know how to handle yourself in an interview better than Colin did.

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