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Jasper’s own short film festival

JSFF-logoA new addition to Jasper’s cultural landscape is just over the horizon.

The Jasper Short Film Festival will make its debut Sept. 27, during the town’s Culture Days. It will be a one-day short film blitz, spread out over the course of an afternoon at the Chaba Theatre.

The event is being organized in cooperation with numerous local businesses and organizations, including the Fitzhugh, It Only Takes a Dream, Best Western Jasper Inn and Suites, as well as many others.

Marianne Garrah is one of the festival’s organizers. She said that while film festivals have been passing through Jasper for years, those have been offshoots from places like Banff and Vancouver. As far as she knows, no festival has even been designed specifically by Jasperites.

“We’ve done a lot of things over the past five years [with Culture Days], and something we never really touched on was film. So we thought, here’s an opportunity to A: start something new in the town, and B: have some dollars for it.”

She explained that “the world with social media has gotten very small,” so the festival won’t limit submissions to just those from Jasper, Alberta or even Canada. Instead, it will be open to the entire world: any person, from any country, of any age with films created at any point in their life can submit.

“You know what? It’s wide open,” Garrah said. “We’re casting a wide net.”

Just as there will be no restrictions based on geography, there will also be none based on genre. Garrah expects everything from science fiction, to horror, animation and drama to make an appearance.

In fact the only real restriction for submissions will be length. To cram in as many movies as possible, no films longer than 30 minutes will be considered.

“We’re trying a one-day festival. If you get a bunch of feature films that are two hours long your festival is just one movie,” Garrah said.

And while the festival is starting humbly this year, organizers hope that it will grow larger, and become a yearly event in town.

Garrah said organizers have already put out a call for submissions across social media, and have been contacting film festival organizers directly to try and create buzz.

“We’re pretty confident we’re going to get good results,” she said, adding that she is excited to bring a new cultural experience to the town.

“It’s all inclusive; it’s something for the community, it’s something for the visitors, and it’s going to be free this year, what more could you ask for?”

Trevor Nichols

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