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Jasper Short Film Fest a success

Chaba Theatre was overtaken by short films from across the country, Sept. 27, for the first annual Jasper Short Film Festival.

With more than 100 tickets sold and 23 films screened, the event was a success, gluing people to their seats for six hours of entertainment.

“The turnout was perfect,” said Marianne Garrah, one of the event organizers. “It was nice and full. It wasn’t packed, but it was perfect.”

Following the day of film, the festival’s selection committee presented three awards: people’s choice, best film by an established filmmaker and best film by an emerging filmmaker.

People’s choice went to HB, a short comedy about a high school student who drops his pencil during an exam and has strict instructions not to leave his seat or use a pen. The hilarity ensues as he attempts to snag his pencil anyway he can.

Imogen Pohl, the young producer and writer of the film, was in Jasper for the festival and was quick to chat with anyone and everyone about how it came about.

Best film by an established filmmaker was presented to Louise Abbott for Nunaaluk: A Forgotten Story. The film follows the story of the last surviving Inuk of Cape Hope Island and her return home, after her people were forced to abandon the island, when the government relocated them to Kuujjyarapik in 1960.

The final award, for best film by an emerging filmmaker, went to Christopher Rohde for Odd One Out, a sci-fi thriller created almost entirely with handmade miniatures.

Garrah said, although Abbott and Rohde couldn’t be in attendance at the festival, many other filmmakers were, including some from Vancouver, Grande Prairie and Lethbridge.

With the success of the festival, which was organized as a Culture Days event, with funding from the provincial government, Garrah said the festival committee—Dave Baker, Matt Figueira, Ryan Bray and Shannon Wall—are already looking ahead to next year.

And, feelers are already out in the region to see if there is an interest in hosting screenings of the “best of” the Jasper Short Film Festival. The “best of” would include the three award winners, as well as the runners up for people’s choice: Ancestors Calling, Exquisite Taste and Through Ice and Time.

Nicole Veerman

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